Bill Rohlf & David Mercer will address graduates at May commencements

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 4, 2016 — Retiring economics professor Dr. Bill Rohlf and attorney and humanitarian David R. Mercer will deliver the keynote addresses to graduates at Drury University’s two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 14 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.

Rohlf will speak at the first ceremony, for Day School and graduate students, which will be held at 11 a.m. Mercer will speak at the second ceremony, for the College of Continuing Professional Studies, which will be held at 3 p.m.

Dr. Bill Rohlf

Dr. Bill Rohlf

Rohlf has been a faculty member at the Breech School of Business Administration since the early 1970s. He is known among Drury students and alumni for his ability to communicate and explain economic principles to undergraduates. His intense interest in explaining the economy to students eventually led to a highly successful basic economics text first published in 1988 and now in its eighth edition. Affectionately known to his students as “Dr. Lovable,” Rohlf is a caring but demanding teacher, who is highly respected for his innovative methods and teaching style.

Mr. David Mercer

Mr. David Mercer

Mercer graduated from Drury in 1984 with degrees in biology and philosophy. He earned a masters in education from Drury and a law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Following judicial clerkships in Missouri and federal appeals courts, Mercer took a hiatus from law and worked for Food for the Hungry (a non-profit Christian relief and development organization) as a journalist reporting on poverty, hunger and development in the Third World. He also spent time in Bolivia, Rawanda, Zaire, Uganda and Kenya doing humanitarian work. In 1995, Mercer returned to the United States and the practice of law. For the last 15 years, he has been an attorney for the Federal Public Defenders Office for the Western District of Missouri where he has devoted his legal practice to defending indigent clients in federal court.

Members of the news media are invited to cover the graduation ceremonies. Please contact Media Relations Director Mike Brothers at (417) 873-7390 at mbrothers@drury.edu about coverage plans or for more information about 2016 graduates.


Guest lecturer brings music & marketing expertise to Drury March 31

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 29, 2016 — The Self-Employment in the Arts Lecture Series, sponsored by the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, will bring world-renowned opera singer Michael Spyres to campus for a lecture at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 31 at Carole Lambert Studio in Shewmaker Hall. The talk is open to the public.

Spyres was recently named artistic director of the Springfield Regional Opera. Born and raised in the Ozarks, he is one of the most sought after tenors of his generation and has performed extensively throughout Europe and North America.

During his talk, Spyres will share the story behind his success as a self-employed singer in a dizzyingly competitive industry. The event comes just before he leads the SRO in performances of Mozart’s classic comic opera “The Marriage of Figaro” on April 1 and 3 at the Gillioz Theater.

About the Series and the Edward Jones Center

The Self-Employment in the Arts Series features successful, entrepreneurial artists from across the country for small-group sessions, lectures and the occasional performance on Drury’s campus. The series will bring Drury alumnus and professional opera singer Michael Spyres to campus on Thursday, March 31.

The Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship was made possible by the generous contribution of John and Crystal Beuerlein and Edward Jones, Inc. All parties feel passionately about entrepreneurship and believe in the idea of helping people create new businesses. They are also eager to provide employees of existing corporations with tools to continually refresh and reinvent their organizations as markets and business environments change.


Alumnus & musician to give talk, host performance March 31

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 23, 2016 — Springfield musician and Drury alumnus Arthur Duncan will give a presentation and host a musical performance at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 31 at the Drury Diversity Center. The Center is located on Drury Lane, just north of Bob Barker Boulevard. The event is free and open to the public.

Duncan attended Drury in the 1970s and studied music. In the decades since, he has led numerous jazz, gospel and R&B groups in Springfield. He is also the minister of music at Higher Ground Ministries under Pastor Larry Maddox.

Duncan, a pianist and songwriter, will talk about his experience as a student at Drury in the 1970s and will lead his jazz trio in a performance of various styles of music from his repertoire. He will also discuss music and the creative process as part of his presentation, including how he writes songs.

The President’s Council on Inclusion is sponsoring the event.


Media Contact: Rosalyn Thomas, Diversity Support Service Coordinator: (417) 873-6827 or rthomas005@drury.edu.

Meador series guest lecture to focus on race, inequality and politics

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 29, 2016 — Drury University’s L.E. Meador Center for Politics & Citizenship continues its inaugural speaker series with a lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday by Dr. Rodney Hero, immediate past president of the American Political Science Association. The event will be held at Lay Hall Auditorium and is open to the public.

Hero is the first Latino to hold the top position with the APSA, and his research and teaching focus on American democracy as viewed through the lenses of racial and ethnic politics. In his 35-year career, Hero has taught at Notre Dame and the University of Colorado at Boulder and is now the Haas Chair in Diversity and Democracy at the University of California at Berkeley.

Hero’s lecture, titled “Race, Ethnicity and (In)Equality in American Politics” is part of the Meador Center speaker series “Created Equal: Rights, Liberties, and Citizenship.” The Meador Center was established in the fall of 2015 as a nexus for student pursuits, faculty scholarship, and thought-provoking community programming and events.

“The issues of race, ethnicity, and inequality are always of vital importance in politics, and they are magnified in an election year,” said Dr. Dan Ponder, L.E. Meador Chair of Political Science at Drury. “Professor Hero is the leading expert on these issues, and with Super Tuesday just two days before his lecture, his insights are particularly timely.”

In conjunction with Hero’s visit, a roundtable discussion on the topic “Race & Ethnicity on Campus” will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 4 at the Drury Diversity Center; it is also open to the public. Besides Hero, other roundtable participants will include: Lawrence Anderson, manager of diversity and inclusion for Springfield Public Schools; Hadeil Ali, Drury political science major; Professor Greg Booker, chair of the Inclusion Council at Drury; Lyle Foster, owner of Big Momma’s Café; Yolanda Lorge, president of Grupo Latinoamericano; Abram McGull, assistant United States attorney; and Wes Pratt, assistant to the president at Missouri State University.

About the L.E. Meador Center for Politics & Citizenship

Dr. Lewis Elbern (L.E.) Meador taught political science at Drury College for nearly 50 years beginning in 1913 and was a revered civic leader who played key roles in shaping the Missouri Constitution and Springfield City Charter. Inspiration for the center’s 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 Center carries out that mission through financial support of student scholarship and an annual speaker series addressing a range of pressing political and civic issues.


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

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: gbooker@drury.edu.

Entrepreneur Ed Mareth to speak at winter commencement

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 7, 2015 — Drury University will confer nearly 300 degrees to graduates during its winter commencement ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 12 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. Entrepreneur and humanitarian Ed Mareth will deliver the commencement address to graduates.

Mareth has 25 years of professional experience in business management, entrepreneurship and private capital deployment, including executive management roles at three of the nation’s top agricultural companies. Mareth has been involved in multiple startup companies and humanitarian projects around the globe specializing in agriculture, technology, medical services, manufacturing and real estate. He is currently president of Mareth Enterprises, LLC, which he founded in 2002 and has holdings in socially responsible companies serving specialized markets.

Ed Mareth

Ed Mareth

Mareth holds five corporate board seats, serves on the Purdy R-II Board of Education, and directs Project Genesis of Purdy, a community economic development company that he and his wife, Julia, founded in 2008. Mareth graduated from Missouri State University with a BS in agricultural economics. He lives in Purdy with his wife and their three children.

Media: Members of the news media are invited to photograph or videotape the graduation ceremonies. Please contact Media Relations Director Mike Brothers about coverage plans or for more information about 2015 graduates.

Public contact: Dr. John Taylor, (417) 873-6356, jtaylor3@drury.edu.


Drury Architecture professor to speak at Crystal Bridges Museum of Art

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 2, 2015 — A Drury University professor will give a lecture that draws on both personal and professional experiences at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, this week.

Hammons School of Architecture professor Nancy Chikaraishi’s lecture will look at the process and shared boundaries of creating space in art and architecture. It will include work from her previously released exhibit “Life Interrupted,” a collection of drawings and paintings portraying her parents’ stories from their time in a Japanese Internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas, during World War II. The presentation is at 7 p.m. on Nov. 4 and will include several new pieces created by Chikaraishi that were inspired by the CORE Performance Company.

Nancy Chikaraishi

Nancy Chikaraishi

Chikaraishi worked as a visual artist with CORE Performance Company on “Gaman,” a dance/theatrical performance that explores how challenges can be overcome by courage; and expresses the conflicting emotions of sorrow and joy, confinement and liberation experienced by the interned Japanese-American citizens. A public performance of “Gaman” will be held at the University of Central Arkansas on Nov. 9 and at Crystal Bridges on Nov. 11.

“Hopefully, we can shed light on these kinds of events and prevent them from happening again,” Chikaraishi said. “A lot of people still don’t know that there were camps in Arkansas. I think it’s very important that we understand our history when it comes to issues of race and discrimination.”


Supreme Court expert Jeffery Toobin speaks at Drury on Oct. 28

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 23, 2015 — Noted legal analyst and Supreme Court expert Jeffery Toobin will speak at Drury University next week as the L.E. Meador Center for Politics & Citizenship’s inaugural guest lecturer.

The longtime New Yorker staff writer and CNN analyst will speak on the topic “Inside the World of the Supreme Court” at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28 at Clara Thompson Hall. The event is free and open to the public. The speech kicks off the Meador Center’s 2015-16 theme “Created Equal: Civil Rights, Liberties & Citizenship.”

Jeffrey Toobin_headshot 1

Toobin has covered all the major legal stories of the last two decades, ranging from the nomination of four Supreme Court Justices to the trials of Michael Jackson and George Zimmerman. He has provided legal analysis on the nation’s most provocative and high profile cases, including the O.J. Simpson civil trial and the Kenneth Starr investigation of the Clinton White House. His most recent book, The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court, was a New York Times best-seller, as was his previous book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, which received the 2008 J. Anthony Lukas Prize for Nonfiction.

“Toobin has spent decades reporting and analyzing the Court and its place in our political system,” says Dr. Dan Ponder, Meador Chair of Political Science at Drury. “He is an insider who has interviewed the justices but he has done so with the independence and discernment of a journalist.”

About the Meador Center

Dedicated to the academic inquiry of political engagement, the L.E. Meador Center was founded this year as 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. Meador was a revered civic leader who played key roles in shaping the current Missouri Constitution and Springfield City Charter.

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 carries out that mission in two ways: an annual speaker series and financial support of student scholarship, internships and study away/abroad opportunities.


Author David Harrison reflects on time and success at Alumni Convocation

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 8, 2015 — At today’s inaugural Alumni Convocation, noted children’s author and community leader David L. Harrison ’59, reflected on how his Drury experience shaped a life that has taken several unexpected but highly successful turns. The convocation was part of the annual Alumni Reunion Weekend at Drury, which brings more than 400 people back to campus.

Harrison studied biology at Drury but the seed was planted for his writing career during his years on campus thanks to the university’s liberal arts foundation. He recalled a number of professors by name, noting the close connections he forged with them as a student. Harrison became a scientist in the world of chemical research after earning his undergraduate and masters degrees, but never lost sight of the muse that he first encountered in a writing class with Dr. Clark Graham, who privately urged him to consider a career as a writer.

Harrison mug

Harrison, who has been Drury’s poet laureate for decades, peppered his speech with several short poems. He also compared the passage of a lifetime to the way light travels in both particles and waves. Life-altering moments are particles, he said, that form the ongoing waves of one’s life.

“Some of those moments didn’t seem that important at the time: merely random particles moving with the flow, or the wave, or my existence,” Harrison told the alumni, faculty, staff and students gathered in Stone Chapel today. “But looking back, I see how those moments were connected to what happened to me along the way. Now I see them clearly, strung together in an ever-changing helix that has formed the DNA of my life.”

Harrison credited his blend of liberal arts education and scientific training with getting him into graduate school and his first job. It also gave him the confidence to make a career change when he joined Hallmark Cards in Kansas City as an editor for children’s cards in 1963. Harrison began writing more and more in his spare time and his career as a children’s author grew from there. He has written more than 90 books over the years, but is just as well known locally for his community service and advocacy for literacy. After returning to Springfield in the 1970s and successfully running for the School Board in 1982, he became involved in a number of children’s literacy and reading programs such as Sky High on Reading, Reading Roundup, Family Voices and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

“It’s important to think beyond our own boundaries, to find interest in the broad spectrum of the human endeavor, to become part of something larger than ourselves,” Harrison said. “Becoming involved often requires little initial training and a vocabulary of a single words: yes. No matter what we have done with our lives or plan to do with them, we are responsible for the next generation.”

Drury University honored David Harrison with a Distinguished Alumni Award for Career Achievement in 1981.


Author to speak about “Place in Fiction” at Pop-Up Writer’s Talk

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 2, 2015 — Author Andrew Bynom will give a Pop Up Writer’s Talk at Drury on Friday. Bynom, currently a teacher at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, will explore the topic “Place in Fiction” as it relates to his new novel, “The Executioner’s Race.”

The talk takes place at 11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 4, in the Harwood Reading Room of Drury’s Olin Library. The event is free and open to the pubic.

This Pop Up Writer’s Talk is sponsored by Ginkgo Tree Review and the Missouri Arts Council. Ginkgo Tree Review is a literary magazine produced and published by the English Department at Drury University. It was one of a select few literary magazines in the state to receive a Missouri Arts Council grant in support of community events in the literary arts this year.

Bynom lived and worked in Istanbul for many years. “The Executioner’s Race” is the story of a female calligrapher in 19th century Ottoman Istanbul who is condemned to death and imprisoned for turning holy prayers into faces and animals – for “reassembling the word of God.” Her only chance at life – a privilege rarely granted to a woman – is to win a race against a bostanci, one of the Sultan’s guards and executioners.