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Raymond F. Aton (1916-1993) was a pioneer in the development of Springfield’s post-World War II economy. With his brother Richard ’36, their firm Aton Brothers Construction Co., built more than 200 banks and several Springfield landmarks, including the Southwestern Bell Telephone office, Mid-America Dairies, National Avenue Christian Church, and Belle Hall on Drury’s campus.
Aton purchased Southern Missouri Trust Company in 1968 with Thomas H. Baird, which they later sold to Mercantile Bank Corporation. He served as president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, president of the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport Board, member of the City Utilities board, the Southwest Missouri Art Museum board, the YMCA board, and the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission. He was named Springfieldian of the Year in 1990.
Aton was also an active member of the Drury community. A 1937 alumnus of the university, he was an active member of Sigma Nu and the golf team, as well as the Panthers’ championship basketball team. He served as president of the alumni association from 1953-1954, joined the board of trustees in 1970, and served as its chairman. He was honored with the Drury Distinguished Alumni Award in 1985.
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Dr. Wilber C. Bothwell graduated from Drury College in 1931, and after earning his master’s and doctoral degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, returned to his alma mater as professor of economics and political science in 1946. He organized and administered the first evening adult education program in Southwest Missouri in 1947. He spearheaded the development of the curriculum of the new Breech School of Business Administration when it was established in 1958.
Bothwell used a grant from the Ford Foundation to study how some of the nation’s best business schools were organized, and used his research to create the tradition of a Breech education: one that focuses heavily on the development of leadership and decision-making skills intertwined with a background in the liberal arts.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Bothwell was elected to the National Academy of Arbitrators in 1960, and served on the national panels of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the American Arbitration Association, and the National Mediation Board. He served as the permanent arbitrator for Southwestern Bell and the Communication Workers; the Dayco Company and the United Rubber Workers; and the United States Postal Service and its unions; the Zenith Radio Corporation and the United Electrical Workers. He handled more than 1,200 labor disputes, and more than 200 of his decisions and opinions are now cited as major contributions to the development of employer-employee relations common law principles.