A History of Drury Presidents

Nathan J. MorrisonNathan J. Morrison

The First President

As Drury's first president, the Rev. Nathan J. Morrison, firmly planted Drury's roots in Springfield. He acquired and constructed substantial buildings for the new campus, including West Academy Building, East Academy Building, Fairbanks Hall and Stone Chapel. Only Stone Chapel, rebuilt after a fire in 1882 destroyed the first structure, remains today.

Morrison also had ambitious plans for Drury inside the classroom - most notably the Missouri Conservatory of Music. The conservatory, a service to the community with no connection to any of the college's academic programs, rapidly grew to 100 students and 10 faculty members.

The cost of both the music conservatory and erecting large buildings led to friction with the faculty and the Board of Trustees. In 1885, Morrison reported Drury's interest-bearing debt at $36,000, more than twice the college's annual operating budget. The division between Morrison and the Board eventually led to the president's resignation after serving 15 years.

Francis T. IngallsFrancis T. Ingalls

The Second President

It was said that a new day dawned for Drury when Dr. Francis T. Ingalls took the reins in 1888. Though his time as president was short, his leadership was able to end the college's financial distress. Thanks in part to contributions made by Trustees, funds were raised to eradicate Drury's debt of $34,000. Also on Ingalls's watch, the rebuilding of Stone Chapel was completed. As a result, it was possible to hold Commencement exercises on the campus for the first time.

Ingalls's future plans for the campus included constructing a new Ladies Hall, as well as raising $15,000 for an emergency fund. Unfortunately, his time as president was cut short when he fell ill and died in August of 1892.

Homer T. FullerHomer T. Fuller

The Third President

A number of achievements occurred at Drury during Dr. Homer T. Fuller's ten years of leadership. Fuller successfully completed a $45,000 endowment campaign, raising the value of the endowment to more than a quarter of a million dollars. The construction of new buildings included Pearsons Hall and the first President's House. In 1896, through the publication of The Mirror, Drury shared in the founding of the Missouri College Press Association.

Also during Fuller's tenure, the athletic program experienced growth with the addition of basketball and the adoption of the Panther as Drury's official mascot. Fuller's decision to retire in 1904 was met with protest, resulting in his agreement to stay on one more year.

J. Edward KirbyeJ. Edward Kirbye

The Fourth President

Dr. J. Edward Kirbye served as Drury's president for only two years, but several notable developments in the college occurred during his short tenure. One of the more major accomplishments in his time at Drury was the beginning of a comprehensive revision of the academic program. New affiliated academic departments were introduced, including the Department of Military Science and Tactics and the Department of Biblical Literature.

In 1906, the Board of Trustees officially approved the introduction of national fraternities to the Drury campus. Aside from his activities as president, Kirbye also demonstrated his own skills as a teacher in a course in Biblical Literature.

Joseph Henry GeorgeJoseph Henry George

The Fifth President

Dr. Joseph Henry George was actually offered the Drury presidency after President Fuller's retirement in 1905, but was uninterested at the time. He received the offer a second time after President Kirbye's tenure and responded more favorably. Characteristic of the time, annual deficits plagued the college during George's presidency. Nevertheless, he completed a $250,000 endowment campaign begun by his predecessor, raising the value of the endowment to a half of a million dollars. Additions to the campus during his tenure included Burnham Hall, a gymnasium, a central heating and lighting plant and the first Commons.

Strides were made in academics under George, including the introduction of majors in the 1907-08 year as well as the beginning of Pre-Medical and Pre-Engineering programs. Also, during these years, the Department of Education was added to the college. George resigned in 1913, but retained his professorship of Religious Education for five more years.

J. J. McMurtry J. J. McMurtry

The Sixth President

As Drury's Professor of Greek since 1911, Dr. J. J. McMurtry had quickly made himself a valued member of the faculty. This led to his appointment as acting president after Dr. George's resignation, and as president a year later. During his tenure, Drury's Student Council officially became a representative Student Senate. The college's first honor society, the Skiff-Mortar Board, was founded in 1914. The trend of college accreditation had been building by this time, and Drury became accredited in 1915 with the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges. Also during McMurtry's time was the closing of the Academy, Drury's affiliated preparatory school. The decision was a long time coming as funding the school as a separate institution from the college had been a struggle for years.

An unsuccessful start to a $500,000 endowment campaign led to McMurtry's resignation in 1916 after only two years as president.

Thomas Nadal Thomas Nadal

The Seventh President

Thomas Nadal was hired just one week before the United States entered World War I, a situation that took its toll on the college's enrollment. Enlistment into the armed forces left only nine men in the 1918-19 senior class. Despite the war, Nadal immediately set about the task of increasing Drury's endowment. By 1924, the endowment was valued at more than $1 million and the college was debt free. Long-awaited additions were also made to the campus, including what would become Harwood Library, Clara Thompson Music Hall and Wallace Hall.

After the war ended, Drury's enrollment skyrocketed, leading to tightened admission requirements and higher standards. However, this rapid growth and expansion led to financial trouble. In 1932, during the Great Depression, the college's deficit was more than $60,000. By the time the financial crisis began to turn, neglected upkeep and repair had left Drury somewhat worse for the wear.

Two successful fundraising campaigns paid for repairs to a number of buildings. Despite this, the college's financial troubles had already become one of the several complaints that alumni committees vocalized about Drury's leadership. In 1939, the Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a resolution that Nadal retire.

James F. Findlay James F. Findlay

The Eighth President

War again loomed on the horizon as James F. Findlay was hired in 1940. During World War II, enrollment actually increased, as the number of incoming freshman more than offset the numbers lost to the war effort. This was due to an aggressive recruitment policy and the newly implemented Drury Plan, a curriculum that allowed students to craft their own courses of study with help from advisors. Between the end of the war and the 1949-50 school year, enrollment skyrocketed from 489 to 901 students.

The postwar enrollment growth led to a surge in new construction over the next several years. New buildings included Weiser Gym, which was built using a WWII government surplus airplane hangar, and Atha Pool. Much-needed new residence halls included Turner, Belle and Sunderland, as well as another addition to Wallace Hall. The Panhellenic Building and Walker Library were also added.

On Findlay's watch, Drury also initiated an evening college program that enrolled more than 400 students in its first year. In 1958, Drury alumnus Ernest Breech gave $500,000 in seed money that eventually led to the Breech School of Business Administration and the Master of Business Administration degree program.

In 1972, after Findlay's retirement, the Findlay Student Center was dedicated in the former president's honor.

Earnest Brandenburg Earnest Brandenburg

The Ninth President

An institution of exceptional quality was the vision of Dr. Earnest Brandenburg, who became the head of Drury in 1964. To this end, he tightened admission requirements for the college. He also raised tuition considerably to bring more money to the institution and to fund his proposed faculty expansion and salary raises. Brandenburg also followed other colleges' examples in establishing the offices of Development and Alumni Affairs, which greatly increased donations from alumni and corporations.

Construction of a new dormitory, which would become Smith Hall, was begun under Brandenburg. Intercollegiate swimming was also added to the Drury sports program. In academics, the president approved another major revision of the curriculum to be developed by the college's faculty. Before Brandenburg could see the fruits of many of his endeavors, however, he died of cancer in 1967.

Alfred O. CanonAlfred O. Canon

The Tenth President

When Dr. Alfred O. Canon became Drury's tenth president he desired to cultivate a college that had greater involvement of faculty and students in the governance of institutions. Consistent with this goal, the new president set up three cabinets composed of faculty, administration and students to advise him in all aspects of the college. Under Canon, the new curriculum begun by his predecessor was implemented. International studies were also expanded, as well as opportunities for study abroad, and an effort was made to bring more international students to Drury. A major addition to the college's facilities, the Lay Science Center, was completed in 1969.

Canon also faced his share of troubles during his tenure. Faculty tensions were the result of a high turnover rate and increasingly intense competition between members. The college was experiencing a decline in enrollment, as well as a return to the problems of annual deficit. These difficulties eventually led to the termination of Canon's presidency in 1970.

William Edward Everheart William Edward Everheart 

The Eleventh President

Dr. William Everheart took the reigns of Drury College a mere two years before its Centennial Celebration. He also began his tenure in the wake of a turbulent period for the institution. Everheart attempted to restore a sense of calm and unity to Drury, largely through an effort to return the college to its Christian framework. He also worked toward calming the financial struggles; at the end of his first year, Drury's budget was balanced. The long and difficult road toward the completion of the Findlay Student Center ended successfully during Everheart's tenure. Also on his watch, dormitory policies began to change, giving more of the same privileges that male students enjoyed to female students.

Everheart's tenure came to an untimely end when he was killed in a car-train accident in 1976, having served Drury for five years.

John M. Bartholomy John M. Bartholomy

The Twelfth President

Drury faced more financial troubles during Dr. John Bartholomy's presidency - troubles that led to reduction in faculty and staff. Despite troubles, the college also experienced its share of growth. A new enrollment strategy led to one of the largest freshman classes in Drury's history in 1978. The campus's physical plant, Pearsons Hall and Stone Chapel were all expanded or renovated. Also during Bartholomy's presidency, a "performing arts complex" project was completed, including the renovation of Clara Thompson Hall and the construction of the O'Bannon Music Center and the Lydy Art Center.

Academic departments were reorganized under Bartholomy, combining former departments to create new ones, such as Behavioral Science and Fine Arts. Three new major programs of study were also made available - accounting, architecture and criminology.

Norman C. Crawford, Jr. Norman C. Crawford, Jr.

The Thirteenth President

Drury's 13th president served the college for only a short time. During his tenure, which began in 1981, Stone Chapel was given a place on the list of the National Register of Historical Sites. Crawford also made important steps toward reducing Drury's financial deficit.

Over the course of his presidency, conflict between Crawford and the college's faculty grew to unmanageable heights. In 1983, Drury went in search of new leadership.


John E. Moore, Jr. John E. Moore, Jr.

The Fourteenth President

When John E. Moore Jr. was hired in 1983, he not only inherited a cumulative deficit of $920,259, but also a college lacking a direction or vision. Within three years he had eliminated the deficit, leaving a surplus that had grown to more than $1.4 million by 1997-98. Also during Moore's tenure, Drury's endowment had grown to nearly $100 million in value.

Moore oversaw steady growth in both enrollment and academic programs, including the implementation of Global Perspectives for the 21st Century, a major overhaul of the curriculum. GP21 prepared students to benefit from and contribute to life in a rapidly changing global community. All students who completed this curriculum earned a minor in global studies. Also on Moore's watch, a boom occurred in the number of international students attending Drury - 100 students from 40 countries in 1997-98, for example.

Drury's campus and facilities underwent massive expansion and renovation during Moore's time as president. New buildings included the Hammons School of Architecture, Trustee Science Center, and Olin Library. Athletics also went through big changes; the program joined the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1993-94.

John Sellars

The Fifteenth President

John Sellars served as president at Drury from 2005 until 2007.






Todd Parnell

The Sixteenth President

Todd Parnell assumed interim presidential duties on June 1, 2007. A 1969 Drury graduate, Parnell applied for the permament position and was formally named Drury’s 16th president on Jan. 31, 2008. He served until his retirement on May 31, 2013.



David Manuel

The Seventeenth President

On Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, the Board of Trustees announced that Dr. David P. Manuel would take the helm as Drury's 17th president on June 1, 2013. Manuel was formally installed during a formal ceremony on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013.




James Cloyd

The Eighteenth President

On July 1, 2016 Dr. James Timothy Cloyd began his tenure as Drury's 18th president. Cloyd previously served as president of Hendrix College, in Conway, Arkansas – a liberal arts school that has been nationally recognized for a strong commitment to teaching excellence and financial soundness.