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Drury Welcomes New Director of Education and Child Development

Former MSU associate provost, Dr. Chris Craig, joins Drury education department

MSU Bids Administrator Farewell

By Kathryn Wall
Courtesy of The Standard

One article on Chris Craig could never sum up the depth of his personality, the profound impact he's made on campus or the strength of the relationships he will leave behind in August.

Craig will be leaving his position as associate provost for the faculty to pursue a leadership position at Drury University after over 15 years of service.

"It's going to be a big loss to the university," said John Catau, associate provost for undergraduate education. "Dr. Spisak will do a good job, but Chris is a very special person, and there are an awful lot of people who are very fond of Chris.

"He deals with issues that are very, very difficult, because they're faculty issues, and sometimes they're pretty contentious, but he has that ability to take the edge off of things and find a solution that most can accept."

Catau said they've been working together for quite some time, first as associate deans and more recently as associate provosts.

"I've always been amazed how Chris can sit in on a meeting and, not being able to take notes or be able to look at an agenda or anything like that, can still be a key member important in the process," Catau said.

In addition to his work as associate provost, Craig also remains very active in the College of Education, where he first began his career at Missouri State after graduating from Pepperdine University.

"I have nothing but good things to say about Dr. Craig," said Dennis Kear, the dean of the College of Education since July. "He is very well respected in education circles in the state, this region and at MSU. He is currently the president of the Missouri Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and has made it a point to introduce me to key educators in the state through this organization."

The strides Craig has made would be profound for anyone, but his career and accomplishments are especially remarkable because Craig is blind.

"He's just amazing," Catau said. "He has dealt with his disability in a way that does not interfere with what he does or how he deals with things. He's amazing."

Craig has accomplished things in his life that most seeing people can't imagine. He's ridden in an MS 150, walks to campus every day on his own, belongs to a rock band (where he sings, plays guitar, the drums and occasionally piano) and writes his own original music.

Lee Coats, the owner of Springfield Music, has been a band member with Craig for more than six years, where he's known affectionately as the "Doc of Rock."

"He's a great guitar player and a good vocalist," Coats said. "He's a lot of fun. He's got a great sense of humor."

Their band, The Guise, plays about once a month at venues like Galloway Station and Coasters, as well as at private parties.

Craig writes many of the songs that the band performs, and in fact, before going to Pepperdine, Craig lived in Nashville as a professional song writer, Coats said.

"I'm kind of a rock and roller at heart," Craig said in an interview in January.

Those he leaves behind at Missouri State might not remember him as a rock and roll musician, but they said they will remember him as an inspiration and a dear friend.

But Kear said he doesn't expect to lose contact with Craig.

"While MSU is losing his services, the Springfield and state education world will only have to call a different number or send an e-mail to a different address," he said.

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