Drury Spotlight: Carol (Kanyago) Lwali

Carol (Kanyago) LwaliCarol (Kanyago) Lwali was an international student from Kenya when she arrived at Drury. She graduated in 1998 with a degree in business administration and communication. Since then she has earned her MBA and a second masters in mental health counseling – both from Webster University.

Carol is the associate director of external relations in career services at Seattle University. She and her husband, Paul, have lived in Seattle for the past five years. Family and friends know her as a “serial volunteer.” Carol says, “I particularly enjoy volunteering for causes which empower people and strengthen communities.” She also loves to travel. “When I first came to the U.S. as an international student, I had a goal to visit all 50 states. I still have about 10 more to go to complete that goal.”

Relationships are what she remembers most from her time as an undergraduate at Drury. “Many people were friendly and welcomed me into their homes and other aspects of their lives. I never had Thanksgiving alone while I was at Drury. Since then, I’ve felt the need to pay it forward. I invite international students into my home for holidays throughout the year.”

Carol feels being a student at a small college worked in her favor. “Academically, I felt that the professors were accessible and most would not allow me to fade into the background. That was a very different academic experience for me. I was able to find my voice, and my confidence grew in leaps and bounds.”

When Carol arrived at Drury, there weren’t enough rooms in Wallace Hall. Therefore, a kind-hearted RA shared her room with her for the first semester. They are still friends. Carol met her husband Paul in Springfield. He is from Kenya also, and they laugh that they met in Springfield -- so far away from home.

"My parents, especially my dad, liked the school and Dr. John Moore," Carol says. She added that former president Dr. Moore sent her father a letter shortly after her arrival at Drury. He assured the Kanyago family that Carol was in good hands. "I was new and probably looked lost and bumped into Dr. Moore," Carol recalls. "He helped me find the building I was looking for. In that brief encounter, he asked me my name and he never forgot it the whole time I was there." These positive experiences influenced Carol's brother, Richard Kanyago, to attend Drury as well. He graduated in 2004. 

Carol encourages international students who wish to attend college in the United States. “You’ve already taken a huge leap of faith. Continue to be brave, ask questions and learn. Also, you have something meaningful to give back, too. Share your background and knowledge of where you’ve come from – your culture. Seek balance. College life is a mixture of social and academic happenings. Don’t tip the balance too far in either direction.”