Physics Major Has Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Bag

Physics major Ebenezer Obasiolu never knew he had an entrepreneurial passion until he came to Drury and began pursuing an entrepreneurship minor. It was in these classes where he gained the knowledge and support to officially launch his business, O’Bazzië Classics.

Obasiolu, also known as EB, was motivated to start his business after his grandmother died in 2012.

“I was 12 years old when I left Nigeria, and that’s the last time I saw her,” said Obasiolu. “She had cancer and my family wasn’t able to fly her here for treatment, and I wasn’t able to go there to visit her before she died. After that, I thought, ‘What can I do right now to make sure that I can travel and make money?’”


Obasiolu says he likes to “dress nice” and has always had a love for fashion. His first product reflects that — he has created an all-purpose, leather satchel that both men and women can use for causal or business activities. These hand-made bags are made in the U.S., come in a variety of colors, and come in three different sizes to fit books, a laptop, tablet, and other items.

Obasiolu said it took him about 8 months to perfect his design. He asked many of his friends for their opinions, made changes, and then sent his design to a factory for production.

“I have about 29 designs that no one has seen,” he said. “I’m a huge perfectionist and I wouldn’t make something that I wouldn’t wear.”

O’Bazzië Classics is preparing to launch a website this spring as part of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship’s “StartUp Drury” Business Model Competition.

Obasiolu currently has an 8-person team working for him, helping him to manage social media, sales and marketing. Three members of the team attend Drury. Obasiolu has already created 46-page marketing plan and an 80-page business model. He is also planning to tour the West Coast this summer to Vancouver, Los Angeles, Portland and even Brazil for marketing and sales events.

Although Obasiolu wants to make a profit, he also has a philanthropic mission with his company. For every bag sold, O’Bazzië Classics will send a bag filled with school supplies to a child in Africa. O’Bazzië classics also plans to collaborate with an international humanitarian organization in the future. The idea of using O’Bazzië Classics to solve a social problem came out of taking a class called “Social Problems/Entrepreneurial Answers” with former instructor Kay Osborne.

“I will always be thankful to her,” Obasiolu said of Osborne. “That’s where I really realized my entrepreneurial potential.”

By next year, Obasiolu hope to sell at least 10,000 bags. You can currently view the products from O’Bazzië Classics on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To purchase the products, customers can email or message one of the company’s social media outlets.


Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and writing major at Drury. A version of this story first ran in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Drury has more than 1,600 students on opening day 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Aug. 21, 2012 — Drury University has an opening day enrollment of 1,612 in the traditional Day School.

Dawn Hiles, vice president of enrollment management

“For the first time in our 139 year history, Drury has experienced three straight years of first day enrollments that exceed 1,600 students — and it’s easy to understand why. Prospective students and parents see Drury alumni in successful careers and moving on to top tier graduate schools after graduation. For many, the success of our alumni solidifies the value of a Drury education now and for years to come,” said Dawn Hiles, Drury’s vice president of enrollment management.

Drury’s College of Continuing Professional Studies (CCPS) expects that it will register more than 31,000 credit hours for the fourth year in a row.  Registration for CCPS classes continues into next week; go to for more information.

Classes in the traditional Day School began today, Aug. 21. Evening and graduate classes began on Monday, Aug. 20.

Official enrollment numbers will come out later this fall following the census of Drury’s main campus and its course delivery sites across southwest Missouri.


A Grand Opening celebration for Drury on C-Street

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 3, 2012 — “What’s good for Springfield is good for Drury, and what’s good for Drury is good for Springfield.” That statement from Drury’s Dr. Kelley Still is the philosophy behind Drury on C-Street, a Drury space on Commercial Street featuring academic programming, internships and art.

Drury on C-Street

On Thursday, May 10 at 11 a.m., Drury and the Springfield Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting for Drury on C-Street. That evening, Drury students, faculty, staff, donors and community members will celebrate the Grand Opening of Drury on C-Street from 6:30-9 p.m.  Drury on C-Street is located at 233 E. Commercial St. in Springfield.

“Drury has been doing projects on C-Street for 15 years, in classes and in co-curricular activities,” said Dr. Still. “Drury needed more space for its fiber arts classes and it gives our arts administration majors a gallery to run. At Drury, we do experiential learning very well, and Drury on C-Street gives our students more real-world opportunities.”

Drury on C-Street opened in September 2011, and during the last academic year it has offered many opportunities for students, including:

  • Fiber arts classes, including a weaving studio, which will be dedicated in

    Students working at C-Street

    honor of Harriet Mears at the Grand Opening.

  • The C-Street Business Resource Center gives students experience consulting with C-Street businesses and organizations on everything from marketing and social media to website design and accounting.
  • Arts administration students manage the gallery that gets more than 200 visitors on First Friday C-Street Strolls. Drury art students are also able to sell their work in the Student Gift Gallery.
  • Arts administration majors have facilitated music and art classes for special needs children. Programming is being developed for more outreach programs with fiber arts beginning in the fall.
  • Drury on C-Street will be busy this summer with interns working in the C-Street Business Resource Center, an Invitational Wildlife Art Show for the month of June and the VSA Arts & Disabilities Tour in July.
  • An architecture studio that currently houses the Professional Communications class. They have been concepting bike/bus hubs for the City of Springfield.

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) granted Drury a below market rate, “mission-related” loan to fund the build out of the C-Street space. During the last academic year, Dr. Still and Drury’s Development office have raised enough pledges from alumni and community members to more than pay back the loan within the five-year window. Now, Drury on C-Street is in the grant process with several foundations, and the community and alumni support Drury on C-Street has received will help demonstrate its sustainability.

“We are delighted to partner with Drury on this important project that will benefit not only C-Street and Drury students, but also the community overall,” CFO President Brian Fogle said. “Our mission- related investing program is designed for high-impact projects that help us achieve our desired double-bottom line of an investment return and an investment in the community.”

Besides its donors and CFO, Drury on C-Street would also like to thank: The Urban Districts Alliance, The City of Springfield, Commercial Club and the Commercial Street Merchants Association for their work in making the C-Street facility possible.

Media contact: Dr. Kelley Still, Executive Director, Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, Phone: (417) 873-7458, E-mail:


Drury students’ posters are designed to decrease underage drinking

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 30, 2012 — Drury University students took first and second place in the Community Partnership of the Ozarks Underage Drinking Task Force (UDTF) Higher Education Committee Annual Poster Contest. Drury sophomore design arts major Carlie Townsend’s poster was selected as the top overall entry. Nathan Harrison, a Drury fifth year senior majoring in architecture, was second. Both of the winning posters were designed in Dudley Murphy’s visual communications course.

Carlie Townsend's winning poster

Townsend and Harrison’s posters, along with the third place poster from Evangel University student Andrew Grumke, will be displayed throughout Springfield in stores, coffee shops, pools and parks to spread awareness about the dangers of underage drinking and the benefits of not drinking alcohol.

According to the Community Partnership, “Each year, this contest is held to engage college students to help increase awareness among their peers about underage and risky drinking behaviors and related consequences.” Data from the 2010 Missouri College Behavioral Health Survey is incorporated into each poster, such as, “The higher the GPA, the lower the average drinks per week,” or “70 percent of college students choose to designate a sober driver before they go out.”

Nathan Harrison's 2nd place poster

Media Contact:
Ed Derr, Director of Counseling, Office: (417) 873-7357, E-mail:


Working weekends to gain invaluable research experience

On a typical Saturday afternoon on the Drury University campus, while students are working, exercising, reading or relaxing; in a second floor lab at the Trustee Science Center, undergraduate students are performing research to earn credit and to help the scientific community.

A student-led "Roy-search" lecture

Commonly called “Roy-search” after Drury Chemistry Professor Dr. Rabindra Roy, students work Friday evenings and all day on Saturdays to earn anywhere from one hour to three hours for the course, depending on how much time they log in the lab.

Isaac Henson is a Drury senior who is headed to Washington University in St. Louis to pursue a doctorate in chemistry in the fall. Henson’s extensive “Roy-search” experience helped him take that next educational step, “I’ve been going on a lot of graduate school interviews. They always ask about your research experience, and I’m able to tell them I have 11 publications, and I’ve amassed 1300 hours of lab time. I’m learning how to be in charge of a group of students. I get teaching experience, troubleshooting experience and data analysis experience in a unique way that is important to graduate schools.”

The students gain practical lab experience, impressive resume entries and friendships forged over long weekends, but they are also collecting data that will help the pharmaceutical, chemical and biochemical industries.

“What we study is the way certain organic buffers behave. And what we want to do is find a way these buffers will behave like blood will,” Henson said. “Organs and tissues are designed to exist in blood. If we can find something close to that, the organs and tissues will be viable when they arrive at their transplant site.”

Two Drury students conduct "Roysearch"

“This is tough work, it’s interesting and what we do has real-world implications,” says Jaime Veliz, a Drury junior from Ecuador.

Dr. Roy has received numerous grants for his undergraduate research projects. Since 1966, the 72-year-old Roy estimates that he’s had about 650 students go through his research class and those students have made around 465 presentations at state, regional, national and international competitions. In fact, Dr. Roy’s weekend “Roy-search” class has been dubbed the “Drury model” by leaders in higher education for the way it effectively combines classroom knowledge, engaged learning and service to the healthcare industry.

“They are like my own children, I love them very much. They are willing to learn and I’ve learned very much from them also,” Dr. Roy said.


Drury’s learning and living leadership community

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 21, 2011 —Before starting my freshman year at Drury University, I expected what every prospective freshman expects: hard classes, immense amounts of homework, and making new friends. What I didn’t expect was that I would be taking care of homeless animals.

I have the privilege of being a part of the Summit Park Leadership Community. We live in nice, duplex-style homes, with a theme throughout the housing complex that focuses on broadening students’ leadership skills while emphasizing community service. In order to be a part of the community, students must complete a detailed application and present their community service project ideas to a faculty board.

Students meet to discuss their service project

My roommates and I have focused our project on the Castaway Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.), the only no-kill animal shelter in Springfield. Every week, we volunteer at C.A.R.E. by walking the dogs and cleaning their cages. We are also in the process of planning fundraising events for the fall and spring semesters. Even though C.A.R.E. is the main aspect of my Summit Park experience, there are nine other projects that Summit Park students are working on: the Salvation Army, Project AWARE Foundation, Boys and Girls Town, Rare Breed Youth Outreach, Special Olympics, Harmony House Family Violence Center, Pipkin Middle School, and Ravenwood Assisted Living.

Drury’s Vision Statement includes the term “servant leadership,” and the experiences my friends and I are getting are training us to become leaders and giving us an understanding of the inner workings and challenges of successful organizations.

Kelsey Emerson, another Summit resident, explains why she chose to live in the leadership community. “I wanted to give back to the community that I’ve grown up in and to be a part of a cause that makes a difference in others’ lives.” Kelsey is a part of the Rare Breed Youth Outreach group.

Getting accepted into Summit Park was difficult and the work can be hard, but through this experience I’m learning that the best leaders are those that truly embody the term “servant leader.”

Sheila Haskins

Sheila Haskins is a sophomore advertising and public relations major at Drury. She graduated from Marshfield High School in 2010.

Harry Potter’s favorite sport returns to Drury on Saturday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 16, 2011 —Lord Voldemort may be vanquished and Harry Potter may be middle-aged, but the athletic tradition inspired by Hogwarts lives on at Drury University. Drury’s second annual Quidditch tournament brings the battle for the quaffle and the snitch to Sunderland Field on Saturday, Nov. 19 beginning at 10 a.m. The tournament should last into the early afternoon. The event is free and open to the public. Harry Potter fans are encouraged to attend.

Drury students play Quidditch in Nov. 2010

In addition to the on-field games, there will also be fun events for spectators and the community. The Dickerson Park Zoo will have its live owl exhibit on display. Amycakes Bakery is providing Harry Potter-themed food, including: pumpkin pasties, treacle tarts and cauldron cakes. There will also be Butterbeer (non-alcoholic), cider and hot chocolate.

Drury students dressed as their favorite Harry Potter characters

Drury’s tournament will take place just one week after the completion of the fifth annual Quidditch World Cup in New York City, which was won by Middlebury College of Vermont. According to the International Quidditch Association’s website, 300 universities and high schools in the U.S. and 12 other countries have Quidditch teams.

Drury’s Residence Life Association (RLA) and Drury’s Quidditch Club co-sponsor the event.

Media Contact: Andy Swartz, Residence Hall Director, Mobile: (417) 230-7931, Office: (417) 873-7382, E-mail:


Drury and Askinosie Chocolate continue partnership through Cocoa Honors

Cocoa Honors, an extension of the Chocolate University program, has come full circle in its mission to assist Askinosie Chocolate in producing a single-origin bar from Africa, while also impacting the lives of the farmers within an African village.

Tanzanian children sport Drury Panther t-shirts

In August of 2010, 13 Central High School Students traveled to Tenende, a village in Tanzania, to meet with the cocoa farmers with whom they’d been negotiating.  Three Drury students also traveled with the group. While in Africa, students were able to see firsthand how negotiations work and how a free trade business operates.  Prior to leaving for the trip, students had spent over nine months researching, taste testing, and communicating with various farmer groups and business owners in order to see the process from beginning to end. Since arriving back in the United States, the students have been eager to continue their relationship with the villagers they connected with during their two-week stay.  As a result, they raised money and collected donations of school supplies and gifts to send as a Christmas package to the children of Tenende. Chocolate University began as a collaborative partnership of Askinosie Chocolate and Drury University to benefit the children in the surrounding neighborhood. It was formed with a vision to provide a learning experience to Boyd, Pipkin, and Central High School students through the lens of artisan chocolate making. Drury students are also able to receive hands-on experience by developing curriculum for the Chocolate University program. Askinosie Chocolate is the sole funding source of Chocolate University by donating 100 percent of their tour proceeds to Drury University for the benefit of the neighborhood children.


Drury Architecture students help to revitalize Missouri cities


SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 9, 2010 — Drury University architecture students are continuing their work to improve urban and rural development throughout Missouri as a part of Drury University’s Center for Community Studies (CCS). This semester, students are working on projects in Urich, Osceola and Windsor. Students meet with their communities several times during the semester and collaborate with the citizens to envision a future, which the students present in a  book, they call the “visioning toolkit”.

Urich, Mo. is located 20 miles west of Clinton, Mo. Urich is faced with a dwindling population and little economic activity. Among the projects Drury students will propose are housing reconstruction and redevelopment, expanding agri-business like biomass and vineyards, creation of a business district, downtown revitalization and a plan for developing connections with surrounding cities.

Students will also address concerns in Osceola, Mo., which is located approximately 60 miles north of Springfield, Mo. Among some of the student proposals for the town are plans to reconnect the town’s cultural history and heritage to the local waterways, enhance the circulation  to downtown, create new career and higher education opportunities and promoting tourism within the region.

Windsor, Mo., located 20 miles east of Clinton, Mo., is also working with the Center for Community Studies.  The students working with Windsor are proposing the construction of a natatorium and an eco-industrial park, as well as the creation of a downtown plaza and a welcome center.  Additional focus will be placed on integrating the KATY Trail, developing other greenways and connecting to the regional assets of Truman Lake and Whiteman Air Force Base.

Students will present their final proposals on the following dates:

· Urich—Saturday, Dec. 11, at 3:30 p.m., at the Urich Lion’s Club.

· Osceola—Monday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m., at the Osceola Senior Center.

· Windsor—Thursday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m., at the Windsor High School.

The students will rehearse their presentations for the architecture faculty on Friday, December 10 from 1-5 p.m. in the Hammons School of Architecture.

Even more than downtown revitalization and beautification, CCS projects could help save lives. In the spring of 2009, Drury students worked in Monett, Mo. to organize and develop a plan to alleviate downtown flooding. In the past, Monett’s flooding has caused severe property damage and at least one fatality. This fall, Monett was one of five cities to receive a grant from the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri (DREAM) Initiative.

According to the Monett Times, “Monett’s application for the fifth round of DREAM combined the Vision 2030 report prepared by the Drury University architecture students with the cooperative venture between the city, the Monett Chamber of Commerce and the downtown merchants in establishing the new position of downtown coordinator, which is now held by DJ Miller.”

Another former Center for Community Studies client, Ozark, also received a DREAM grant this fall. That makes five former CCS communities that have directly benefited from the Drury students’ work.

Drury’s CCS works with the Missouri Extension Office to prepare communities before Drury students begin working with communities. After students have completed their project, MU Extension continues to work with communities in carrying out an action plan. The students’ work is a valuable tool for Missouri cities. CCS only charges around $6,000 for their services, a small fee considering the 2,700 in-kind hours donated by architecture students throughout the semester.

Jay Garrott, AIA
Director & Professor, Drury Center for Community Studies
Office: (417) 873-7371


Drury is an independent University, church related, grounded in the liberal arts tradition and committed to personalized education in a community of scholars who value the arts of teaching and learning. Education at Drury seeks to cultivate spiritual sensibilities and imaginative faculties as well as ethical insight and critical thought; to foster the integration of theoretical and practical knowledge; and to liberate persons to participate responsibly in and contribute to a global community. For more information, visit

University Communications staff are available to news media 24 hours a day at (417) 839-2886. Visit the Office of University Communications online at Resources include a searchable Expert Guide, staff contacts and downloadable print-quality images and logos.

Drury graduate takes first place at New York’s Vimeo Awards

For Immediate Release: October 14

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 14, 2010 — Drury graduate Chris Beckman placed first in the experimental video category at the Vimeo Awards over the weekend. Beckman’s video was chosen out of over 6500 finalists, and it was recognized at the awards show in New York City on Oct. 8 and 9.

Beckman, who graduated from Drury in May 2010 with a degree in Fine Arts in the Department of Art and Art History, originally created the piece for a class called Video Art co-taught by Drury professors Blaine Whisenhunt and Greg Booker with assistance from Brian Shipman, a Drury video instructor. “Students in the course were given an appropriation video assignment and told to sample and re-mix existing footage to create a composite,” said Whisenhunt.

Beckman created a video called oops. “I’m both surprised and honored that people took the time to view my work and recognize something so experimental and non-traditional,” said Beckman. The first place win will allow his piece to be featured on the Vimeo website where he will receive much more exposure.

View Beckman’s video submission

This was the first year for the Vimeo Awards, which aimed to transform the way online video, as a medium, can be used. An extremely accomplished panel, including documentarian Morgan Spurlock, best known for Super Size Me, Paola Antonelli, a senior curator at the Museum of Modern Art, and Academy-Award nominated director David Lynch, judged the videos.

Vimeo is a website where artists share their videos. Visit Drury’s Vimeo site

Media Contact:
Chris Beckman
Mobile: (417) 300-0486
Blaine Whisenhunt
Assistant Professor, Sculpture
Office: (417) 873-7484


Drury is an independent University, church related, grounded in the liberal arts tradition and committed to personalized education in a community of scholars who value the arts of teaching and learning. Education at Drury seeks to cultivate spiritual sensibilities and imaginative faculties as well as ethical insight and critical thought; to foster the integration of theoretical and practical knowledge; and to liberate persons to participate responsibly in and contribute to a global community. For more information,

University Communications staff are available to news media 24 hours a day at (417) 839-2886. Visit the Office of University Communications online at Resources include a searchable Expert Guide, staff contacts and downloadable print-quality images and logos.