Distinguished Alumni Awards

The Distinguished Alumni Awards were founded in 1951 to recognize individuals who have achieved professional and personal successes, who have shown their loyalty to Drury University, and demonstrated exemplary service to their community.  The Alumni Council proudly presents Distinguished Alumni Awards at Alumni Reunion weekend each year.  

Distinguished Alumni Award Distinctions

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes alumni of Drury University whose life and accomplishments have earned the respect of their industry, profession or community. The Award is given to a person whose accomplishments, service and engagement embody both the University’s and the Alumni Council’s mission and values.

The University Engagement Award recognizes recipients for extraordinary achievement in their personal and professional endeavors, with special attention to their exceptional service to the University. Among the qualities considered are notable success in a profession or business, loyalty to the University and outstanding contributions to society.

The Outstanding Service Award celebrates an alumnus who has served his or her community in an exemplary way, sustaining a record of leadership and dedicated service.

The Career Achievement Award recognizes graduates who have exceptional achievements in their professional endeavors, reflecting honor on the University and its alumni. The Award is given to a person who has sustained a record of accomplishment with special attention to the accomplishments which embody the University’s mission.

The Young Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus of Drury University who has earned special distinction in his or her career, reflecting honor on the University and its alumni. The award is given to a person who graduated within the last 15 years and whose accomplishments set a standard for life-long excellence.

The Faculty/Staff Appreciation honors a faculty and staff member for achievement in their professional or academic field and loyalty to the University. This award is given to a faculty and staff member who has sustained a record of accomplishment in their professional realm, their loyalty to the University and their service to the Drury community.

Nomination Process

Nominations are accepted at anytime during the year.  On March 1 each year, the nomination cycle closes to allow for selection of DAA honorees for that year.  Any nominations received after March 1 will be saved for the next year of selections.

The selection committee is made up of members of the Drury Alumni Council Executive Officers. Final selections will be made by April 15 each year. Award recipients will be notified, in most cases, by May 1 of each year.

Distinguished Alumni Awards are presented at the Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception & Dinner held during Alumni Reunion each October.

Distinguished Alumni Nomination Form

2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

Warren B. Davis ‘59 
Distinguished Alumnus - Lifetime Achievement Award

Warren has a passion for education and hard work. He earned a bachelor’s in Business from Drury in 1959 and completed his MBA in 1966. Confident he would be an asset to his father’s Bolivar-based business, Warren returned to his hometown after graduation to work at Orval Davis Tire Company. With relentless determination, Warren advanced through the ranks to eventually become President of the growing company. After 31 dedicated years, an opportunity arose for Warren to retire and sell the business. True to his hard working roots, Warren couldn’t take it easy for long. Recognizing his love for real estate, Warren established Davis Properties, in 1994, and an entrepreneur was born. With the purchase of the Woodruff and McDaniel buildings, along with the acquisition of the Heers and Park Central Office buildings, Davis Properties is today one of the largest property owners in downtown Springfield. With diligence and integrity, Warren has achieved lifetime success.

Gail “Gene” Summers ‘63
Distinguished Alumnus – University Engagement

Gene’s wide-ranging interests and service to others personify the Drury experience. After graduating from the Breech School of Business in 1963, Gene entered the insurance industry. Recognizing an opportunity and a community need, Gene soon developed his own insurance agency. Over time, it became so successful that Great Southern Bank purchased the agency and asked Gene to run it for over 25 years. While enjoying a fulfilling career, Gene has always made time to give back to Drury and Springfield. He has served as president of the St. John’s United Church of Christ Board and on the Springfield Little Theater Board. Working with Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Gene and his wife, Patsy, established a scholarship for Parkview High School Seniors and endowed the Summers Family Fund. Gene has served on Drury’s Alumni Council and has been a Men’s and Women’s Basketball Booster for decades. Gene and Patsy are longtime members of Drury’s Harwood Society and established the Drury University Endowed Scholarship for the Passport Program. Their children, Gena and Wesley, continued the Summers legacy by graduating from Drury.

S. David Gohn ‘64 
Distinguished Alumnus – Career Achievement

David has been a leader in community banking in southwest Missouri for 52 years. After graduating from Drury’s Breech School of Business in 1964 with an economics major, David began a management-training program at Union National Bank in Springfield. Two year later, he accepted a position with the West Plains Bank and Trust Company, a move that would set the course of his career. David quickly rose through the ranks at West Plains Bank, taking on new challenges and managerial opportunities as his career progressed. Fifty years later, David remains at the West Plains Bank, where he now serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Though his career has been demanding, David has always made time for Drury. From 1988-2009, David served as a Trustee on the Drury University Board of Trustees. He also was a previous Chairman of the Board.

Raymond E. Hackett ‘80
Distinguished Alumnus – Outstanding Service

Raymond’s passion for service is grounded in his Drury roots.  After Cyclone Nargis killed 180,000 farmers in Myanmar in 2008, Raymond founded “Not Next Year, Every Year,” an organization dedicated to improving the lives of Burma’s rural poor through sustainable energy. During annual visits to Burma, Raymond has introduced drip irrigation to the farmers, built solar charging stations for the villages, provided needed items to several orphanages, added solar lighting in schools, funded projects to bring clean water to the villages and established a rural clinic. Raymond’s passion for solar energy comes from a course in solar homebuilding he took at Drury in 1975, taught by Dr. Don Weber.  As Raymond’s connections to the Burmese people grows, so do his opportunities to help; for the first time this year, he successfully advocated for a 9-year-old girl to receive needed heart surgery. Raymond embodies the Drury spirit of servant leadership, and he plans to continue his service to others for many years to come.

Lauren Holtkamp ‘03 
Distinguished Alumnus – Young Alumnus

As a member of the inaugural Drury women’s basketball team, the sport has always held a piece of Lauren’s heart. After graduating from Drury in 2003 and earning a Master’s of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Lauren refocused on the game she loves. She began working her way up through the National Basketball Association (NBA) Development League and refereeing in the Women’s NBA. Eventually, Lauren became the third woman ever to be hired as an NBA referee and the only woman to currently hold the position. In addition to that role, Lauren volunteers through the NBA Referee Association with Scholastic’s TIMEOUT for Reading program, which focuses on childhood literacy. She also volunteers with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a program that supports those grieving the death of a loved one serving in America’s Armed Forces. In the fourteen years since Lauren graduated from Drury, she has already achieved much, and she has no plans to slow down.

Judy Grier Thompson ‘61 
Distinguished Appreciation - Faculty/Staff

For 43 years, Judy has been an integral part of Drury fundraising.  After graduating from Drury in 1961, Judy taught French at Parkview High School.  She remained connected to Drury during her years away, and those connections eventually led to a job offer in 1974, when she was asked to serve as Alumni Director. Judy’s skill and passion quickly led to a promotion; in 1979 she was made the first female Vice President at Drury, where she remained until her first retirement in 2002. As Vice President, Judy led the fundraising efforts for Shewmaker Communication Center, Hammons School of Architecture, Freeman Panhellenic Building, Olin Library, Hutchens Hyper, new Fraternity housing, and the Trustee Science Center. Under Judy’s leadership, over 40% of alumni financially supported the university and the endowment increased to more than $100 million. In 2016, Judy returned to campus as Interim Vice President after helping under each President through her retirement on special projects, such as the O’Reilly Family Event Center. After his inauguration, President Cloyd asked Judy to continue as Vice President for Stewardship and Principal Gifts. As for the future, Judy’s commitment remains steady: she plans to help Drury as long as she is needed.

Past Distinguished Award Winners 

  • Lifetime Achievement
  • University Engagement
  • Outstanding Service
  • Career Achievement
  • Young Alumni
  • Faculty/Staff Appreciation
    • 2016 Dr. Sue Carter Porges ‘66
    • 2015 Ralph K. Manley '49
    • 1952 Dean James F. McKinley '25
    • 1957 Helen Wiemer James '29
    • 1957 Robert Cummings '32
    • 1957 James Hartford Robertson '36
    • 1958 Bert Goss '28
    • 1958 Rev. Thomas Shipp '41
    • 1959 Dr. George Melcher '26
    • 1960 Margaret Johnson Bosworth '45
    • 1960 Rev. Don Newby '47
    • 1964 R. William Greer '39
    • 1964 Connie Hjelmeng Johnson '64
    • 1965 David Brand Woodruff '38
    • 1966 Thornton Smith '36
    • 1967 James Trig Brown '46
    • 1968 William Collinson '33
    • 1968 Edgar E. Martin '33
    • 1968 David Weiser '42
    • 1969 William C. Hayes '41
    • 1971 Henry C. Duncan '43
    • 1971 Marvin VanGilder '48
    • 1972 Clarence R. Haflinger '38
    • 1972 Robert Heimburger '39
    • 1972 John B. Haseltine '60
    • 1973 Elizabeth Grinstead Mallory '31
    • 1974 Durward Hall '30
    • 1974 John K. Hulston '36
    • 1976 James Findlay '52
    • 1978 Frank Ross '25
    • 1978 Maurice Wilson '28
    • 1978 F. Marian Bishop '49
    • 1979 Flavius Freeman '32
    • 1981 Dr. Oscar Fryer '25
    • 1983 Allen V. Eikner '49
    • 1984 Henry S. Schneider '49
    • 1985 Ray Aton '37
    • 1986 Hilbert Keisker '26
    • 1987 Wallace Springer '47
    • 1989 Helen Jones Stoneman '28
    • 1989 Harold Stoneman '33
    • 1990 Janet Steinmetz Trotter '53
    • 1990 Marthe Drummond Close '57
    • 1990 Barbara Cook Hall '57
    • 1991 Thomas S. Gambill '49
    • 1993 Sally Bodlovich Tharp '90
    • 1995 Joel N. Gamel '40
    • 1997 Patsy Witherspoon Poulos '47
    • 1998 Don Akers '48
    • 1999 William E. Pettit '42
    • 2000 John R. Johnson '55
    • 2001 Lyle D. Reed '70
    • 2001 John D. Beuerlein '76
    • 2008 Lewis T. "Johnny" Johnson
    • 2015 John William (Bill) Ricketts, MBA ’71
    • 2016 Steven D. Edwards ‘88
    • 1959 J. Charles Grosskreutz '43
    • 1961 Leonard F. Bush '31
    • 1961 Mary Jane Pool '46
    • 1969 Virgil E. Fieker '47
    • 1969 Walter H. Hoffman '39
    • 1976 Charles H. Brown '41
    • 1978 Helen Koch
    • 1980 Donald Ray Hodge '61
    • 1981 John C. Herweg '43
    • 1982 Leeson C. Meador
    • 1985 Donald C. Dailey
    • 1986 Mitsuo Aoki '40
    • 1987 Rev. Robert H. Challinor '47
    • 1988 Ben Parnell '39
    • 1989 Betty Jane Rathbone Turner '45
    • 1990 H. Wes Pratt '73
    • 1991 Ralph Turner '31
    • 1991 Mary Rose Sweeney '41
    • 1992 Vernon K. Ausherman '42
    • 1992 Eleanor Barstow White '64, '70 MEd
    • 1993 Charles Sheppard '41
    • 1994 Dale Creach '63
    • 1994 Ormal Creach
    • 1996 Hope E. Harris '43, '57 MEd
    • 1996 Rosemary Sullivan Bane '46
    • 1997 Dr. James W. Clawson
    • 1998 Carolyn Lambert Teter '73
    • 1999 Dorothy Gay Warren '47
    • 1999 W. Warren Kallenbach '49
    • 2001 Joan E. Gilmore '51
    • 2002 Bill H. Cantrell '42
    • 2003 Jean Short Coday '52
    • 2003 David Clohessy '78
    • 2004 John H. Simmons '60
    • 2004 Drury Women's Auxiliary 
    • 2005 Mona Tourlentes '50
    • 2006 Marcia Williams Johnson '70
    • 2006 Darline Dill
    • 2008 Lewis T. "Johnny" Johnson
    • 2009 Kirk Presley '80
    • 2010 Patsy Shean Summers '64
    • 2011 Rev. David L. Scott '79
    • 2012 Carolyn B. Cotta '60
    • 2013 Mark L. Walker '79
    • 2014 Eunice Schmiechen Wallar '63
    • 2015 Mary Faith Buresh Holzer ’68
    • 2016 Janet Steinmetz Trotter ‘53
    • 1944 Edward L. Clark '29
    • 1951 Jean Laubenheim Shephard '12
    • 1951 Kenneth B. Elliott '16
    • 1951 William A. Beiderlinden '17
    • 1951 Lester E. Cox '18
    • 1952 Marion Hines '13
    • 1952 Erwin E. Nelson '14
    • 1952 James E. Ruffin '16
    • 1953 Faye Steinmetz '10
    • 1953 Harry A. Shuder '11
    • 1953 Arthur "Duff" Allen '13
    • 1953 Edward Mason '14
    • 1954 John T. White '16
    • 1954 Louise Trimble Foster '18
    • 1954 Paul W. Barrett '24
    • 1954 Frank McDowell '32
    • 1955 Dora Beggs Shields '07
    • 1955 Joseph Williams '11
    • 1955 Otto C. Egdorf '20
    • 1955 Paul Leonard '25
    • 1956 Warren White '04
    • 1956 William Knight '07
    • 1956 Otto Smith '07
    • 1956 Reba Staggs '34
    • 1957 Walter Brunkhorst '17
    • 1957 David Robertson '32
    • 1958 David McKnight '28
    • 1959 Samuel Dawson '21
    • 1959 Rollin Gillespie '30
    • 1960 Walter Thompson '28
    • 1960 Bob Barker '47
    • 1961 Morris E. Garnsey '28
    • 1961 Gordon A. Riley '33
    • 1962 Bruce Joseph Brown '15
    • 1962 Guy Raynor Hill '27
    • 1962 Charles F. Robinson'36
    • 1962 Jeanne Meador Schwarz '37
    • 1963 Allan S. Humphreys '10
    • 1963 Lois Hall '14
    • 1963 Dorsey D. Jones '20
    • 1964 C. Robert Mitchell '30
    • 1965 Virgil W. Adkisson '25
    • 1966 Helen Malin Reuber '29
    • 1967 Joseph King Vivion '16
    • 1967 William D. Hackett '36
    • 1968 Archie Russell '39
    • 1968 Lois Jennings DeNauw '50
    • 1970 Eugene Everett '48
    • 1973 Adelaide Haseltine Jones '24
    • 1973 Ralph K. Manley '49, '69 MBA
    • 1973 William C. Virdon '53
    • 1973 Mary Ruth Cuddy '59, '62 MEd
    • 1974 Minnie Mae Prescott '28
    • 1975 William Fred Schaeffer '33
    • 1975 Betty Cole Dukert '49
    • 1975 Rabbi Walter Jacob '50
    • 1975 Ralph L. Andreano '52
    • 1976 R. R. Watson '25
    • 1976 Billie Crawford Davis '61
    • 1977 J. York Johnson '25
    • 1977 James Ewing '38
    • 1977 Frank W. Clippinger '48
    • 1978 F. Marion Bishop '49
    • 1978 Delmar E. Caywood '55
    • 1978 James R. Buchholz '57
    • 1979 John Geyer '29
    • 1979 Robert McKinnell '49
    • 1979 Sandra Kennon Harrison '61
    • 1980 Leonard C. Pronko '47
    • 1980 Carol Junge Loomis '51
    • 1980 Jeanine Smith '63
    • 1980 Jerry Von Rohr '66
    • 1981 John P. Edwards '47
    • 1981 Susanne Logan O'Neal '53
    • 1982 Dorothy Van Dyke Leake '14
    • 1982 John T. Carlson '51
    • 1983 C. Truman Steele '34
    • 1984 David E. Sweet '55
    • 1986 Gary L. Matthews '60
    • 1987 Sterling Newberry '37
    • 1988 Jerry Poe '53
    • 1988 Willard Graves, Jr. '62
    • 1989 John W. Hammon '64
    • 1990 Emily Haymes '61
    • 1991 Richard C. Dunn '58
    • 1991 Margaret H. Cooper '66
    • 1992 Robert H. Hurlbutt '47
    • 1992 Kenneth L. Fitts '67
    • 1993 Donald C. Flesche '56
    • 1993 J. Regan Thomas '68
    • 1994 Charles E. Fritz '42
    • 1994 Georgia Clark Sadler '62
    • 1994 J. William Langston '65
    • 1994 Fred S. Gorelick '70
    • 1995 Andrew Jackson Wann '40
    • 1996 Nancy Hasler Watsling '46
    • 1996 Ellen Gray Massey '60 MEd
    • 1997 Rev. Elton O. Smith '50
    • 1997 Larry Wallis '66
    • 1998 Thomas R. Whitlock '76
    • 1999 Tom Kellogg '58
    • 1999 Richard French '59
    • 2000 James R. Silkenat '69
    • 2001 John D. Burczak '76
    • 2002 Michael Mallory '77
    • 2003 Revs. John and Paula Bowman Sandford '51/'53
    • 2003 Russell Robinson '74
    • 2004 Dr. William R. Schiller '58
    • 2005 Paul Stillwell '66
    • 2007 Jerry L Redfern '57
    • 2007 Dr. Carol Gevecker Graves '62
    • 2008 Dorothy "Dottie" Dillard '45
    • 2008 Lisa Farmer '82
    • 2009 Judge H. Dean Whipple '61
    • 2010 Walter George '79
    • 2011 Dr. D. Greg Farwell '90
    • 2012 Dr. Ilene K. Gipson '66
    • 2013 Curtis L. Dinan '89
    • 2014 Kim Harrison Hamm '86
    • 2015 Dr. Heidi Prather Bradley ’87
    • 2016 Dr. Calla Wiemer ‘77
    • 1976 Marcia Mobley Mitchell '67
    • 1977 Frances Presley Rice '73
    • 1978 Mark Anschutz '66
    • 1979 Glenn Richardson '65
    • 1985 Sue Carter Porges '66
    • 1985 Brian Gendece '79
    • 1987 James Wesley Mitchell '73, '81 MEd
    • 1990 Susan West '75
    • 1991 Wayne Schrier '75
    • 1992 Susan Montgomery McCammon '73
    • 1993 Michele Reeves Smith '88
    • 1995 Charlotte C. Hardin '85
    • 1997 James R. Dunlap '84
    • 2001 Brian R. Reynolds '83
    • 2004 Karen L. Williams '85
    • 2005 Marci Bowling '95
    • 2008 Michael Wehrenberg '99
    • 2011 Amber B. Campbell '98
    • 2012 Christopher B. Kennedy '99
    • 2013 Sarah Lester Wilkerson '01
    • 2014 Nathan Pettyjohn '01
    • 2015 Cliff Johnson ’03
    • 2016 Dr. Adam McClellan ’05
    • 1986 Dr. Lora Bond, Biology
    • 1987 Dr. W. Curtis Strube, Business Administration
    • 1988 Dr. Willard Graves '33, Mathematics
    • 1989 Dr. Jorge Padron, Chemistry
    • 1990 Dr. Charles Mercer, Accounting
    • 1991 Dr. Victor Agruso, Psychology
    • 1992 Dr. Ruth Bamberger, Political Science
    • 1993 Dr. Rabin Roy, Chemistry
    • 1994 Dr. Richard D. Killough, Philosophy and Religion
    • 1995 Dr. Richard Mears, Language and Literature
    • 1996 Dr. Tijuana Julian '81, Music
    • 1997 Dr. Harriett Mears, Art
    • 1998 Dr. William D. Rohlf, Jr., Economics
    • 1999 Dr. Wayne Holmes, Literature
    • 2000 Dr. Joseph P. McAdoo, Communication
    • 2001 Dr. Peter D. Browning, Philosophy and Religion
    • 2002 Dr. Harvey Asher, History
    • 2003 Eltjen Flikkema, Ph.D., German, Literature, Director of Honors Program
    • 2004 Joyce A. Roberts, Special Instructor of Dance and Choreography/Dramatics Productions
    • 2005 Dr. Thomas E. Russo, Art
    • 2006 Dr. Barbara Wing, Biology
    • 2007 Dr. Donald Weber, Physics
    • 2008 Dr. Penny Clayton '83 MBA,Accounting
    • 2009 Dudley Murphy, Design Arts
    • 2010 Alkis Tsolakis, Architecture
    • 2011 Dr. Lisa M. Esposito, Philosophy and Religion
    • 2015 Daniel Cashel, Director of Student-Athlete Enhancement
    • 2016 Traci Sooter