Alumnus Faulkner to speak, lead discussion on race & diversity

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Jan. 21, 2016 — Drury University will hold a campus- and community-wide discussion about race and cultural diversity on Jan. 28. The public is invited to attend.

The event will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Diversity Center (the former Washington Avenue Baptist Church) on Drury Lane. It will be led by Rev. Darren Faulkner of Kansas City, a Drury graduate with more than 20 years experience in counseling, prison ministry, and nonprofit management.

“Drury University is a very welcoming and inclusive community,” says President Dr. David Manuel. “Nevertheless, our perspectives of diversity and inclusion can always broaden and become more thoughtful. Those perspectives are interrelated with the issues Rev. Faulkner will raise, and I am confident that his insights will help us deepen Drury’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

Faulkner will speak about the connections between the issues of race relations, economic dignity and cultural diversity. He will then lead a discussion session with Drury students, faculty, staff and members of the public. The President’s Council on Inclusion organized the event.

Rev. Darren Faulkner

Rev. Darren Faulkner

“We have come a long way since Jim Crow and the 1960s, however there are several things that occur today that would make the average person question just how far we have come,” Faulkner says. “I will be addressing these issues and making the argument that there is a correlation that cannot be denied.”

Faulkner received degrees in criminal justice and political science while at Drury and has been an ordained minister since 1993. He serves on the advisory board of the PBS affiliate KCPT, and is a member of the Heartland Community Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas City NAACP.


Media Contact: Greg Booker, Assistant Professor of Art & Inclusion Council Chair. Office: (417) 873-7203; email:

The Open Table: Food for the body & spirit

On most Tuesdays, you can find an ever-changing group of Drury students, faculty and staff enjoying fellowship and food at an inter-faith gathering called The Open Table.

Dr. Peter Browning, Drury’s chaplain and a professor of philosophy and religion for more than 20 years, hosts the long running series. The main draw is the diverse array of guest speakers who address a variety of topics and ideas through a lens of faith. Prayer, a bit of worship music and free pizza are also part of the mix.

“We chose the name ‘The Open Table’ because it communicates that we’re welcoming to everyone and we’re trying to learn about one another,” Browning says.

Dr. Peter Browning (standing), leads a discussion at The Open Table.

Dr. Peter Browning (standing), leads a discussion at a recent Open Table gathering on campus.

Primarily a Christian gathering, the lunchtime events feature speakers from the campus community as well as guests from around the Ozarks. Recent topics discussed include dealing with change in one’s life and focusing on gratitude.

Though a number of faith-oriented student groups exist on campus, The Open Table in particular reflects Drury’s historical connection with the Christian faith (the school was founded by Congregationalists, now the Church of Christ, in 1873) as well as the exchange of ideas that is a natural part of a liberal arts education.

“Once or twice a year, we will invite someone from a different faith tradition,” Browning says. “Last year, we had the new rabbi in town, Dr. Barbara Block, come and teach us about Jewish prayers.”

Drury freshman Jessica Knowles is now a regular attendee and she says that the short meeting time works well with her busy schedule, but her favorite part is the sense of fellowship she feels.

“I always feel really welcomed,” she says. “I went the first week and Dr. Browning already knew my name when I came back.”

Open Table prayer

“The Open Table is something I look forward to on a weekly basis,” says Lisa Luu, a senior music therapy major from Springfield who has attended throughout her four years. “I think the Open Table shows that Drury is accepting and inclusive of people of all faiths no matter what religious or non-religious background they are from.”

Robert McGinnis is a Drury staff member who is also a part time pastor at rural church near Bolivar. He attends The Open Table somewhat regularly and has spoken on a few occasions over the last several years, including a recent presentation comparing a person of faith’s life to the singing of a song.

Open Table hands

“To me it’s an opportunity to talk to a crowd that I normally wouldn’t be able to,” says McGinnis, a locksmith on Drury’s facilities staff. “It’s always my hope that I might be able to connect with people in ways that perhaps others aren’t able to.”

McGinnis said the intimate setting of the group allows for an inviting conversation, despite the often weighty subject matter.

“I think it fits in well with the Drury idea of the liberal arts because you have broad exposure to not only other faiths but other ways of thinking,” he says.

If you’re interested in speaking at The Open Table, contact Dr. Browning at or (417) 873-7231.


Story by Chaniqua Crook, student writer, and Mike Brothers, director of media relations. 

Thursday service at Stone Chapel to honor victims of terrorist attacks 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 18, 2015 — Drury University will hold service to honor and memorialize the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut at 11 a.m., Thursday, in the Stone Chapel sanctuary. The service is open to the public and media are welcome to cover it.

Drury’s Chamber Choir will perform two selections. Dr. Cathy Blunk, professor of French, will speak about the events in Paris. Elio Challita, a Drury student from Lebanon studying economics and biochemistry, will speak about the attacks in Beirut that occurred on Thursday and claimed more than 40 lives.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families and friends as well as to the people of both France and Lebanon at this difficult time,” says University Chaplain Dr. Peter Browning, who will lead the service. “We also wish to lift up the international students from these two countries who study at Drury. We will gather Thursday to acknowledge the loss, pray for those most deeply affected, and focus ourselves on the task of working to create a world where all may live in peace.”


Annual education conference to focus on mindfulness in the classroom

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 28, 2015 — Drury University will partner with Springfield Public Schools on Friday, Nov. 6, to present the 15th annual Developing Success in Youth conference on the DU campus.

With the theme “The Emotional Art of Teaching,” the conference will focus on the concept of mindfulness and how it can help teachers and students reduce stress in the classroom. Mindfulness is defined as being highly self-aware of one’s consciousness from moment to moment.

The featured speaker will be Dr. Patricia Jennings, associate professor of education at the Curry School of Education at University of Virginia, who will lead four sessions throughout the day.

Dr. Patricia Jennings

Dr. Patricia Jennings

The social and emotional dynamics of the classroom play a key role in promoting student learning and fostering pro-social behavior. Drawing upon research in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and education, Jennings will provide information about how mindfulness-based approaches can help teachers manage the stressful demands of the classroom, cultivate an exceptional learning environment, and revitalize teaching and learning. In addition to the research behind these approaches, participants will learn some simple awareness practices for managing stress and promoting wellbeing.

The material will be relevant to all K-12 educators and administrators. The full cost is $150, and groups of 5 or more from the same school are $125 per individual.

Nearly 100 educators from across Missouri have already registered to attend. For more information and to register online, go to:, or contact Dr. Kristofor Wiley, assistant professor of education, at (417) 873-6397 or


Conference helps Midwest nonprofits sharpen communication skills

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 14, 2015 — Nearly 300 community leaders representing organizations from across Missouri and several surrounding states will gather Friday, Oct.16, at the Ramada Oasis Convention Center for the 2015 Nonprofit Communication Conference.

The annual event has grown to become the largest one-day conference of its kind in the state. Representatives from many of the region’s largest health systems, universities, charitable and civic groups will receive training on a variety of topics including crisis communication, advocacy, grant writing and fundraising. The conference is presented by the Drury University Center for Nonprofit Leadership, which is a statewide leader in training, research and outreach in the nonprofit sector.

According to the IRS, there are more than 1,500 registered nonprofit organizations in Springfield – including many of the region’s top employers. A 2014 study by the Center revealed Springfield’s nonprofit organizations comprise more than 50 percent of the city’s total private workforce – almost 40,000 people daily.

“Springfield is a model nonprofit community when it comes to collaboration and a willingness to take on social issues,” says Dan Prater, conference organizer and director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Drury. “This conference always features a lot of great energy as we learn from one another and share our experiences.”

Major conference sponsors include DL Media, KPM CPAs, Ollis/Akers/Arney, Community Foundation of the Ozarks and Panera Bread.

For more information, contact conference organizer Dan Prater at (417) 873-7443 or via email at, or visit:


Drury will host national home school debate tournament in 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 3, 2015 — The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau announced today that Stoa, a speech and debate organization for Christian homeschooling families, selected Springfield for its 2016 National Invitational Tournament of Champions.

The event is expected to bring about 3,000 high school and junior high students, parents, coaches and spectators to the city May 20-28, 2016, said Mark Russell, president elect of Stoa. The championships will take place on the Drury University campus.

The CVB expects the city to be bustling with families staying at hotels, shopping, dining and visiting attractions when they’re not busy at the tournament. The CVB estimates spending of about $125 per person per day.

Russell said Springfield was a natural choice for the annual tournament, which rotates to the east, west and central parts of the country.

“Springfield truly has a strong reputation with homeschoolers with the National Christian Homeschool basketball tournament,” Russell said.

That tournament brings more than 8,000 people to the city and is the largest annual group event in Springfield. The city also hosts the National Christian Homeschool Spring Basketball Nationals, Fall Basketball Nationals, Fall Volleyball Nationals and Fall Tip-Off Basketball Tournament.

“This is a great event for Springfield made possible by the collaboration and cooperation of Drury University – a key in Stoa’s selection process,” said Tracy Kimberlin, president/CEO of the CVB.

“Drury is extremely pleased to play host to the 2016 Stoa national tournament,” said Rob Fridge, Drury’s chief financial officer. “We’re excited to help bring this group of high-achieving students and their families to Springfield, and we expect nearly every room on our campus to be bustling with activity over the course of eight days next spring.”


Event gives business women a welcoming space to learn, network

Research shows that women start businesses in greater numbers than men, yet they typically don’t grow their businesses to the same extent as men do over time.

There are many reasons for this, says Dr. Kelley Still, director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Drury. But one important factor, according to research, is that the business world remains a primarily male-oriented arena.

While the Ozarks is rich with business networking opportunities, few focus on women. Connecting and empowering female business owners is the sole purpose of the Edward Jones Center’s annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, now in its seventh year. The 2015 event will be held from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 21 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.

“There are a lot of really great opportunities in town to get technical training about business plans or how to keep your books,” Still says. “We really focus on hearing from other women entrepreneurs who can share how they’ve solved problems and moved their business forward.”

In such an environment, women are more apt to speak up, ask questions, and discuss both good and bad experiences.

“There’s a feeling of camaraderie,” says Claire Faucett, owner of social media marketing company engage5w, and a panelist for this year’s event. “If you’re a woman in business you subconsciously put up a wall at times, and I think you allow yourself sort of take the wall down when you’re around other women.”

The keynote speaker is Catherine Johns, a Chicago radio personality who’s climbed ladder in the broadcasting industry and now speaks to women about reaching for new heights in their careers. Panels will examine topics such as owning a business with your spouse, mixing business and friendship, social media and more. Participants can even schedule one-on-one time with subject matter experts like CPAs and attorneys. And despite the focus, men are welcome, too.

The day caps off with awards honors the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year.

Cost is $25 for the general public, which includes breakfast and lunch. Registration remains open until the day of the event. For more information call 873-6357 or visit


Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium will be held March 21

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Feb. 26, 2015 – Drury University’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship will hold its seventh annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium (WES) from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, March 21. WES provides women entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn about the various aspects of owning a business, network with other entrepreneurs and visit with a wide range of exhibitors. The theme of this year’s symposium is “7 Years of Empowering and Celebrating Women Innovators.”

The event is $25 for the general public, which includes breakfast and lunch. Registration remains open until the day of the event. Register online at WES will take place at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on the DU campus.

For the third year, WES will award honors to some of the area’s top female entrepreneurs in the following categories:

  • Women Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year

The award winners remain a secret until the symposium luncheon at noon. The media are invited to attend the ceremony. To qualify for an award, a woman must own at least 50 percent of a business and operate within 30 miles of Springfield. The Woman Entrepreneur of the Year nominees must have been in business for at least five years, and the Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year nominees should have been in business for less than two years.

The keynote speaker this year is Catherine Johns, long-time Chicago radio personality who broke out of the broadcasting industry “boys’ club.” Now she works with women who are ready to reach for new heights in their business – and their life. Panels will examine topics such as owning a business with your spouse, mixing business and friendship, the current social media landscape and more.

Catherine Johns

Catherine Johns

Speakers and panelists will include Joan and Gary Whitaker, 417 Magazine; Hannah and Paul Catlett, Studio 417 Salon, 417 Blow Dry Bar and Hudson Hawk Barber & Shop; Jennifer and Brad Feurbacher, Brown Derby International Wine Center and Derby Deli; Claire Faucett, owner of engage5w; Molly Riddle, Project Manager for Mostly Serious; Rita Baron, Developer and Principal of Baron Design & Associates, LLC; and Terry Reynolds, owner, partner and manager of the C. Arch Bay Company.

For more information about the event visit, or contact Dr. Kelley Still, Executive Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, at (417) 873-7458 or


Center for Nonprofit Communication to Host Free Seminar on Financial Accountability

The Drury University Center for Nonprofit Communication will host a free half-day seminar on financial transparency and accountability for nonprofit organizations on Friday, Jan. 31.

There will be three sessions conducted by CPAs from local accounting firm Elliott, Robinson & Company, LLP. They include:

  • “I’m not an Accountant!” – Clarifying the Confusion
  • Protecting Organization Assets with Internal Controls
  • Ten Things to Consider When Filing IRS Form 990

There will also be a panel discussion and Q&A session with the CPAs.

“There are hundreds of non-profit organizations in the greater Springfield area and most do a good job when it comes to fiscal accountability,” said Dan Prater, director of the CNC at Drury. “But very often the difference between right and wrong isn’t always clear. We believe going over some best practices can be of great help to non-profit leaders and boards members.”

Holding the seminar free of charge keeps the barrier to entry low for even the smallest organizations, and is in keeping with the CNC’s mission to enhance the impact of non-profits in the area.

The event is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31, at the Findlay Student Center on the Drury campus in Springfield. Participants can register online at The registration deadline is Jan. 25. For more information about the event, contact Dan Prater at 417-873-7443 or

More information about the CNC can be found at

Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra to perform at Evangel on Tuesday, May 1

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 25, 2012 — The Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra (SDCO) will hold its final performance of the season on Tuesday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Evangel Chapel Auditorium.

Simfoniya Poema will feature Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, Joseph Haydn’s Concerto for Cello and Aram Khachaturian’s Symphony No. 3. Khachaturian’s work was written to celebrate the end of World War II and features a large orchestra, a choir of 15 trumpets and a virtuosic piece for pipe organ.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit the SDCO website.

Media Contact: Dr. Christopher Koch, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Orchestra & Wind Symphony, Office: (417) 873-7298, E-mail: