Drury's first president was one of four men who founded the college, and it was Nathan Morrison who signaled the start of classes on Sept. 25, 1873.
Dr. Francis Ingalls
When Francis Ingalls took over as the second president in Drury's history, he was faced with the challenge of bringing Drury out of a $45,000 debt left from the previous administration - a staggering amount at the time. By the end of 1891, his fundraising efforts paid off and the college found itself back in the black. Ingalls served as president through the spring commencement ceremony in 1892, and he died shortly after on Aug. 5, 1892.
Dr. Homer T. Fuller
As Drury's third president, Homer Fuller sought to improve the institution's resources and facilities to provide better learning opportunities for its students. In his Nov. 8, 1894 inaugural address, Fuller called on the need for better science facilities, including lecture rooms and labs for physics, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, biology, botany and psychology. He also desired to see the "modern college" of Drury improve its library space, as well as classrooms for mathematics and languages.
Dr. Edward Kirbye
Rev. J. Edward Kirbye was Drury's youngest president, and also held one of the shortest tenures of any president in the history of the college. Under Kirbye's leadership, students faced their first tuition hike since the college's founding, rising from $50 to $60. It was also under Kirbye's tenure that national fraternities were first introduced to campus.
Dr. Joseph Henry George
Drury saw a great deal of progress under the watch of Dr. Joseph Henry George, who served as president from 1907 until he became ill in 1913. In a February 1913 issue of the Drury Mirror, as the community watched to see whether his health would improve, one reporter wrote that George's administration "has been marked by progress and broad policies that have lifted Drury into the front rank of college of the State." Another standing reminder of George's tenure as president: The completion of Burnham Hall on the southwest corner of campus. .
Dr. J. G. McMurtry
After serving as Acting President when Dr. George fell ill J.G. McMurtry became Drury's sixth president in 1914, previously serving as Professor of Greek since 1911. The growth of Drury's music programs during his administration led to the establishment of Drury's Bachelor of Music program, though a significant endowment campaign that had been started by his predecessor failed under McMurtry.
Dr. T.W. Nadal
Thomas William Nadal served one of the longest terms of a Drury president, from 1917 until 1940. Nadal's tenure began during one of the most tumultuous times in history, just as the United States entered World War I, and Drury students began enlisting or working area farms to boost local food resources. Nadal's presidency continued through the war and well past, seeing Drury through more than two decades.
Dr. James F. Findlay
Another of Drury's longest-running presidents, James F. Findlay is the namesake of Drury's Findlay Student Center. Under President Findlay, Drury's endowment doubled and student enrollment tripled. Findlay also stressed the importance of a personalized education for each student, a value Drury continues to hold to this day. Our evening college program also got its start during his tenure.
Dr. Ernest Brandenberg
Although Ernest Brandenberg's stint as president was somewhat short, the college experienced significant growth under his leadership. From 1964 until his death in 1967, Drury's student enrollment grew from 964 to more than 1,100 day school students, and from 1,354 to 1,429 adult education students. The physical campus also grew during his tenure, with the completion of Smith Hall and approval to begin construction on several other projects, such as the new science building - Lay Hall - that would be completed in 1968.
Dr. Alfred Canon
Alfred Canon was Drury's tenth president. Although his presidency was marked by a drop in student enrollment and two years of deficit budgeting, several prominent community members came to his defense in 1970 when the Board of Trustees met to consider his dismissal. Canon lost by one vote in a 14-13 decision, and was asked to resign immediately as president.
Dr. William E. Everheart
Drury's eleventh president, William E. Everheart, earned a reputation for encouraging dialogue across all areas of campus during his five years as president of Drury. Under Everheart, students were encouraged to become involved in campus governance with the Board of Trustees, and faculty were able to participate in board meetings for the first time. Everheart's tenure as president was cut short by his death following a car-train accident in July 1976.
Dr. John M. Bartholomy
John Bartholomy served as the twelfth president of Drury, a time during which the college experienced abundant growth. Student enrollment increased under Bartholomy, who also emphasized improving the physical campus through construction of new buildings and renovation of the college's aging structures.
Dr. Norman C. Crawford Jr.
Norman Crawford became Drury's thirteenth president following ten years of presidency at Salisbury State College in Maryland. His career in higher education also included work for the U.S. Department of Education, the National Merit Scholarship Program, and the College Entrance Examination Board. The national economy was in a slump during Crawford's presidency, which many believed to be at least partially to blame for the $1.2 million deficit the college suffered at the time of Crawford's resignation.
Dr. John E. Moore Jr.
Longtime president John Moore bridged the gap between millenniums at Drury during his 22 years of leadership as the university's fourteenth president. Moore oversaw the growth of Drury into a modern liberal arts institution, including the change from Drury College to Drury University in 2000. The row of redbud trees planted near Weiser Gym along Drury Lane that bloom brilliantly each spring were planted as a lasting tribute to Moore.
Dr. John D. Sellars
Drury's fifteenth president, John Sellars, served as senior vice president for institutional advancement at Syracuse University prior to beginning his tenure at Drury in 2005. During his presidency, Sellars signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and represented Drury as a founding member of the Climate Commitment Leadership Circle to highlight the university's dedication to sustainability and conservation