Political heavyweights Tom Nichols, Sarah Kendzior to speak in October

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 6, 2017 — Drury University’s Meador Center for Politics & Citizenship kicks off its 2017 speaker series in October with two of the most active voices in America’s online political landscape today, representing views from both the left and the right.

From the left, St. Louis-based writer and journalist Sarah Kendzior will speak at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 3. From the right, political scientist and author Tom Nichols will speak at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 30. Both events will be held at Lay Hall Auditorium and are open to the public.

The Center’s theme this year is “Politics, Activism, and Voice: A Toolbox for Democracy,” with speakers and events focused on empowering citizens to engage with government and civic life.

“Tom Nichols and Sarah Kendzior both exemplify what it means to be actively engaged in American political life,” says Dr. Daniel Ponder, professor of political science and director of the Meador Center. “They are academic experts in their field, regular commentators on the national stage, and passionate writers who care deeply about the future of our democracy.”

Kendzior is best known for her reporting on St. Louis and coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Her best-selling essay collection, “The View From Flyover Country,” was published in 2015. She is currently an op-ed columnist for the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, and has written for POLITICO, The Guardian, Slate, The Atlantic, The Chicago Tribune, Fast Company, The New York Times, and more. She is a frequent guest on NPR, Al Jazeera, BBC World Service and other outlets, and is a recurring guest on MSNBC’s “AM Joy.” Kendzior holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Washington University. Her academic research focuses primarily on the authoritarian states of the former Soviet Union and how the Internet affects political mobilization, self-expression, and trust.

Nichols is a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College in Rhode Island. He is a former Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and taught international relations and Russian affairs at Dartmouth College and Georgetown University before joining the War College. He is the author of several works on foreign policy and international security affairs, including “No Use: Nuclear Weapons and U.S. National Security” and “Eve of Destruction: The Coming Age of Preventive War.” His most recent book, “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters,” was published this spring. Nichols is also a five-time undefeated “Jeopardy!” champion, and is listed in the show’s Hall of Fame. This week he was named to POLITICO’s annual list of “50 idea blowing up American politics – and the people behind them.”

Both Nichols and Kendzior are extremely actively on Twitter, where they engage issues and their fellow citizens daily. They have nearly 400,000 combined followers. You can follow them at @RadioFreeTom and @sarahkendzior.

More speakers in the 2017 series will be announced throughout the year.


Political science lecturer will explore “The Angry Electorate” on Nov. 15

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 28, 2016 — Ever get the sense that voters are angry – about the issues, about the state of politics, and even about their choices amongst candidates? The 2016 elections are nearly over, but the emotions surrounding them will live on regardless of the outcomes.

The next lecture in this year’s L.E. Meador Center for Citizenship & Politics speaker series will explore this topic. Dr. Lilly Goren, professor of political science at Carroll University will speak about “The Angry Electorate” at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15 in the Lay Hall Auditorium at Drury. This year’s series theme is “45: Conversations on the Presidential Election and the New Administration.”

Lilly Goren

“Anger has manifested itself in American civic life to varying degrees since before our country was even founded,” said Dr. Dan Ponder, L.E. Meador Professor of Political Science and Director of the Meador Center. “This election cycle is the latest manifestation of it, but the tenor and character are more intense than we’ve seen in some time. Lilly Goren is one of the leading experts on anger in American politics, she will be able to provide us with a look at the ‘big picture’ as we move forward as a nation.”

Goren has written extensively on anger in politics and has recently completed a book manuscript about the topic. She will share insights gained from her research and focus specifically on the 2016 presidential election and how anger might play out after the ballots have been cast and the race is over.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Visit www.drury.edu/meadorcenter for more information.


Media Contact: Dr. Dan Ponder, Professor of Political Science: (417) 873-7394 or deponder@drury.edu.

Drury University establishes Meador Center for Politics & Citizenship

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Aug. 18, 2015 — Drury University is pleased to announce the establishment of the Meador Center for Politics and Citizenship. Dedicated to the academic inquiry of political engagement, the Center will be a nexus for student pursuits, faculty scholarship, and thought-provoking community programming and events.

The Center is named for Dr. Lewis Elbern (L.E.) Meador, a longtime professor of political science at Drury College for nearly 50 years beginning in 1913. Local residents know the name thanks to Meador Park. But they may not know Meador was a revered civic leader who played key roles in shaping the current Missouri Constitution and Springfield City Charter. He was named “Springfieldian of the 20th Century” by the Springfield Chamber of Commerce in 1973.

L.E. Meador

L.E. Meador

The Center’s inspiration for its mission comes from the words of Meador himself, who felt his students “should take a constructive and active part in trying to bring about a more democratic and more hopeful world in which future generations can live.”

The Meador Center will immediately begin carrying out that mission in two ways:

  • Financial support of student scholarship, internships, study away/abroad opportunities and conference attendance.
  • An annual speaker series that will bring notable speakers and academics to Springfield to address a range of pressing political and civic issues.

The inaugural theme for the Center in 2015-16 is “Created Equal: Civil Rights, Liberties & Citizenship” and the first featured speaker will be CNN analyst and New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Toobin at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 28 at Clara Thompson Hall. The event is FREE and open to the public. Toobin’s topic will be “Inside the World of the Supreme Court.” A Harvard Law graduate, Toobin is the author of two bestsellers about the nation’s top court – “The Nine” and “The Oath.”

Jeffery Toobin

Jeffery Toobin

The Center’s inaugural chair is Dr. Daniel Ponder, professor of political science at Drury since 2006.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity for Drury and our Political Science Department to expand our work with students and our community – both locally and globally,” Ponder said. “Drury has a stellar record when it comes to sending successful students on to law schools and similar professional programs, and the Meador Center will allow us to build upon and enhance that work.”

Dan Ponder

Dan Ponder

For more information, visit www.drury.edu/meador-center.


Media Contact: Dr. Daniel Ponder, L.E. Meador Chair in Political Science. Office: (417) 873-7394; email: deponder@drury.edu.

POLITICO reporter discusses politics and online news at Drury University

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 10, 2012 —Former KYTV and current POLITICO reporter David Catanese will speak at Drury on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 11 a.m. in Clara Thompson Hall as part of the university’s Theme Year series, Voices Unbound: New Media and the Future of Democracy. Catanese will discuss current politics and his experiences on the campaign trail while working for an online-only news organization. This is event is free and open to the public.

POLITICO is a multimedia outlet that delivers American political journalism. Catanese is currently a reporter for the organization, and, combined with his time as a political and general assignment reporter for local NBC affiliate KYTV, he has covered everything from ice storms to Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign in Iowa. Catanese has his own blog on the POLITICO website.

Drury University’s 2012-2013 Theme Year series, Voices Unbound: New Media and the Future of Democracy, is devoted to exploring how media and technology are changing the way we communicate and interact, and the implications for journalism and democracy. For more details about speakers visit www.drury.edu/voicesunbound or contact Theme Year Director Dr. Jonathan Groves at (417) 873-7347.