900 N. Benton: Campus News

Rosalie O'Reilly Wooten '64, at the O'Reilly Family Event Center formal ribbon cutting ceremony in October.

A grand opening at OFEC

O'Reilly Family Event Center officially opened on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, with the cut of a giant red ribbon by Rosalie O'Reilly Wooten '64.

The ribbon cutting and building dedication marked the culmination of a month-long celebration of the opening of the new arena.

"Today, the sun shines bright on Drury University and the city of Springfield," said President Todd Parnell. "Because of the O'Reilly family's generosity, our community has a first class, state-of-the-art arena in which to host regional and national sporting, cultural and entertainment events."

Construction began on the O'Reilly Family Event Center in May 2009. Fundraising for the 3,100-seat event center began in December 2007 with a $6 million naming gift from the O'Reilly family of Springfield.

From the opening of the O'Reilly Family Event Center on Oct. 1 until the end of the first semester on Dec. 17, O'Reilly hosted 77 events ranging from concerts and banquets to basketball and volleyball games.

Major concerts included Lifehouse with Kris Allen, the Pointer Sisters, Darius Rucker and Bill Engvall.

2010 record enrollment

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Drury achieved record enrollment of 5,625 students for fall semester 2010. This figure includes adult evening and online programs, graduate classes and the traditional Day School.

Drury's traditional undergraduate Day School gained 81 students from fall 2009 for a record 1,631 students, which beats the previous record of 1,608 set in 2007. The 1,631 students include a record freshman class of 372 and a total of 538 new undergraduates.

"Even in a difficult economic environment, students continue to see the value that a Drury education will bring them while they're here on campus and long after they've graduated," said President Todd Parnell. "Everyone at Drury has done a good job of communicating that value and benefit over the last year and we see the rewards of that effort in the new enrollment numbers."

Drury's College of Graduate and Continuing Studies set new all-time records for student enrollment, as well. CGCS had 3,457 undergraduate students taking 34,667 credit hours at Drury's main campus and nine locations across southwest Missouri in addition to online classes.

In the fall of 2010, 537 students were enrolled in Drury's graduate programs: art, business, communication, criminal justice, criminology, education and music therapy.

"These numbers reflect the broad range of educational options Drury provides for adults, non-traditional students and those seeking master's degrees," said Dr. Brian Holloway, dean of CGCS. "By combining seated adult evening programs along with a growing online presence, Drury continues to achieve record enrollment."

Banned Books Week

Freshman Dustin Howard reads from Harry Potter outside Olin Library as part of Banned Books Week.

Drury observed the American Library Association's Banned Books Week on Friday, Oct. 1. Students and faculty read selections from many previously banned books on the steps of Olin Library.

Members of the Drury community took part in the event by reading excerpts from books that have been banned both recently and in years past, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Slaughterhouse-Five, The Catcher in the Rye and Gone With the Wind.

"This event is especially relevant because it raises awareness of the dangers of censorship at all levels," said Dr. Peter Meidlinger, chair of the English department. "We celebrate the power of books to help us develop empathy for the whole range of human experience."

Celebrated all over the country, the American Library Association's (ALA) Banned Books Week began in 1982 to draw attention to an increasing number of challenges seen in communities nationwide.

American classics including To Kill a Mockingbird and The Color Purple are featured alongside modern-day bestsellers such as Twilight and Harry Potter on lists of frequently challenged books.

Quidditch comes to life

Photo gallery:
Quidditch at Drury

Just one day after the movie premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Drury University hosted its first Quidditch Tournament. The battle for the quaffle, the bludgers and the snitch took place on Saturday, Nov. 20, on Sunderland Field.

In addition to the tournament, there were fun events for spectators and the community. The Dickerson Park Zoo brought a live owl exhibit to campus, and Drury's Residence Life Association served Harry Potter themed food and drinks, including: Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, Cauldron Cakes, and non-alcoholic Butterbeer and Fire Whiskey.

Springfield Business Journal choice employer

Drury University ranked third among 20 other finalists in Springfield Business Journal's Choice Employer Award program. This is the first year since the inception of the program that Drury has been in the field of finalists.

Drury was rated against other companies and organizations in the 301+ employee category. Organizations were scored based on their employee benefits, family-friendly initiatives, people development, corporate culture and civic involvement.

The university ranked second in the areas of people development and corporate culture, while claiming the maximum number of points possible for civic involvement. Overall, Drury finished with 106 points, while the first place company, St. John's Health System, narrowly took the lead with 113 points.

The final rankings are as follows:

  1. St. John's Health System
  2. T-Mobile
  3. Drury University
  4. American National Property & Casualty Co.
  5. Silver Dollar City

Springfield Business Journal also ranked businesses in categories for 5-24 employees, 25-100 employees and 101-300 employees. Finalists were recognized in an awards ceremony on Nov. 11, 2010.

The 150,000th KA is Drury fraternity member Steven Blackshear.

Kappa Alpha record set

Sophomore Steven Blackshear had no idea that approximately one year after he was initiated into Drury's Beta Iota chapter of Kappa Alpha fraternity that he would be recognized as the 150,000th initiate in the fraternity's history. On Nov. 9, 2010, the Knight Commander of Kappa Alpha presented Blackshear with a special KA badge and gave the Drury chapter a plaque commemorating Blackshear's accomplishment.

"It made me proud to be a KA and know that I was joined with 150,000 brothers," said Blackshear.

Kappa Alpha, which was established as a national men's collegiate social fraternity in 1865, has been tracking membership through "badge numbers" issued to each initiate since the fraternity's founding. After the national records were reviewed in Lexington, Va., Kappa Alpha determined that Blackshear was the 150,000th member.

Blackshear, a 2009 Logan-Rogersville High School graduate, is a pre-med student and plays an active role in the KA fraternity. He has held the appointed position of Corresponding Secretary and Recruitment Chairman, and he has also served on the Interfraternity Council (IFC). Andrea Battaglia '01, director of Greek Life & Student Involvement, praised Blackshear saying, "He is an essential member of our IFC on campus, and we hope that he moves into major leadership roles in the chapter and Greek community in the near future."

Drury earns silver rating from Ozarks GreenScore

Ozarks GreenScore honored Drury with a silver rating this fall. GreenScore is designed to educate, encourage and assist local organizations in developing environmentally sustainable practices.

"The most useful thing about GreenScore is not the marketing value of achieving a rating," said Dr. Wendy Anderson, director of campus sustainability. "Really, GreenScore is about evaluating how well you are doing and identifying areas where your organization can improve. GreenScore gives you a tool where you can prioritize sustainability projects for the future."

Additional Information:
Ozarks GreenScore

Businesses and organizations that participate in GreenScore earn ratings ranging from bronze, silver, and gold — with green being the highest. The organizations conduct a self-assessment on key criteria such as waste management, energy management, water usage and landscaping.

Choose Environmental Excellence (CEE), a sponsoring GreenScore partner, encourages recognition for businesses that make improvements as they progress in achieving the increasingly more challenging program levels.

"The goal of Ozarks GreenScore mirrors that of the sponsoring organizations: to bring awareness of the negative impact we all make on our natural environment, to educate and assist in the adoption of better practices and to celebrate the successes," says Barbara Lucks, City of Springfield Materials Recovery/Education Coordinator and CEE Project Manager.

GreenScore determined that Drury could improve communication of sustainability efforts to the campus and do more to encourage suggestions on how to improve sustainability. Drury scored well for having an environmental mission statement, community involvement and outreach, and energy management efforts such as: solar panels on Smith Hall, geothermal heating and cooling in Stone Chapel and the elimination of trays from the dining hall.

Ozarks GreenScore was developed collaboratively by Choose Environmental Excellence, the Partnership for Sustainability, Drury SIFE and the Ozarks Center for Sustainable Solutions. The Ozarks GreenScore program is voluntary and non-regulatory. The only cost is a $75 assessment fee for each certification.

Final Weiser graduation

The final commencement ceremony in Weiser Gym was held in December. In total, 20,896 Drury graduates have walked the Weiser stage since the first ceremony on May 31, 1954.

Drury conferred degrees to 336 students during winter commencement on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010. This marked the final graduation in Weiser Gymnasium after 56 years of hosting the event. Future commencement ceremonies will be held in the O'Reilly Family Event Center.

Commencement speaker Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences, told graduates, "Take what you know and ask the right questions. Test what you know, lest you become outdated or complacent. Take what you know and change the bad to the good and the good to the better." Levine, who has made multiple speeches at Drury, also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

During the final graduation ceremony in Weiser, all of the individuals who have provided commencement addresses in the historic building were honored in a commemorative program that was given to graduates and their guests. The list of past graduation speakers includes former U.S. Senators John Danforth and George McGovern, Fred "Mr." Rogers and Drury alumnus Bob Barker. Civic and community leaders and humanitarians who have received the honorary doctorate in Weiser from 1954-2010 were also recognized.

Greece campus on the move

The Drury University Center — based in Volos, Greece, since 2002 — will move to the Greek Island of Aigina (Pronounced: Egg-uh-nuh) beginning in the fall of 2011.

The director of the center, Dr. Panos Leventis, offered this description of Aigina: "The island, at 87 square kilometers and hosting a population of 17,000, serves as a suburb of Athens with large commuter population to the capital for work, and as an artistic, intellectual and entertainment retreat. With the international airport less than 90 minutes away, the cultural infrastructure of Athens readily available, and with its beaches, nature reserves and numerous archaeological sites, Aigina will undoubtedly meet the educational goals that the university has set for its main study abroad facility."

Teaching facilities at the Drury University Center will be housed in a historic stone building that once served as an artisan bakery. The two-story building, now undergoing renovation to serve Drury students, is located in the center of the town's main commercial area, less than a five-minute walk from all major infrastructures, including the port, the post office, the clinic, museums, banks, shops, restaurants and beaches.

A new housing facility is located about 200 feet away from the teaching facilities. Housing for students will be provided in the "Petrino" mansion, another beautifully restored historic structure along Aigina's main street. The housing facility offers a pleasant assortment of studio and one-bedroom apartments.

Watch Chris Beckman's Short Film, "oops"

Short film shown at Sundance

Drury graduate Chris Beckman '10 attended the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in January, where his video "oops" was screened in the short film program. Beckman's video was one of 81 short films chosen for the festival held in Utah. Beckman describes his video as, "A lucid, seamless voyage through the Internet's infinite repository of 'throwaway' social documentation and into the humanity of everyday life – via YouTube's clumsiest videographers."

Beckman began the project by selecting 100-150 videos from YouTube of accidental moments, such as dropping the camera or falling. Eventually, Beckman used portions of 40-45 YouTube videos. "It's cool that people feel free enough to upload videos of them dropping the camera," Beckman said. "It's another thing that kind of attracted me to the videos. Salvaging almost useless things to make something that people want to watch."

Beckman, who graduated from Drury in May 2010 with a degree in Fine Arts in the Department of Art and Art History, originally created the piece for a class called Video Art co-taught by professors Blaine Whisenhunt and Greg Booker with assistance from Brian Shipman, a Drury video instructor.

On being selected for Sundance, Beckman said, "I was really surprised. Definitely pleased. When I first started this project I thought it was a class assignment that I could expand to play in a gallery. The fact that it got a life of its own and all kinds of people appreciate it kind of floored me. It's exciting."

$300,000 for school gardens

Drury and the Springfield Urban Agriculture Coalition (SUAC) have received a $300,000 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. The three-year grant will fund the Dig In R-Twelve (DIRT) Project, which will plan and install 10 school gardens throughout the Springfield R-XII district. DIRT, in collaboration with the Drury School of Education, will also provide curriculum to address core state education standards and use the gardens to complement classroom learning by teaching healthy habits in a fun, active, hands-on environment. The grant also includes funds to establish infrastructure for an urban farm in a low-income neighborhood.

The 10 awarded schools include: Glendale High School, Delaware Elementary, Weller Elementary, McGregor Elementary, David Harrison Elementary, Eugene Field Elementary, York Elementary, Rountree Elementary, Jarrett Middle School and the Midtown School Garden, a DIRT pilot project utilized by Boyd Elementary and Pipkin Middle School.

Drury's School of Education and Child Development initially funded the Midtown School Garden through a $10,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. CoxHealth and Community Partnership's Caring Communities Initiative donated land and resources to initiate the first of the 10 gardens that will receive funding from the grant. At the pilot garden, the grant will provide a high tunnel greenhouse that will allow students to utilize the garden year-round.

SUAC promotes healthy lifestyles and environments through hands-on education about production and consumption of locally produced, natural, healthy foods. The Missouri Foundation for Health provided funding for this project in whole. The Missouri Foundation for Health is a philanthropic organization with a vision to improve the health of the people in the communities it serves.

Jack Shewmaker

In Memoriam: Drury community remembers longtime friend and trustee

On November 17, 2010, the Drury community was saddened by the news that Board of Trustees member Jack Shewmaker passed away at age 72. "Jack's passing is a great loss for the nation, the region and for Drury University," said President Todd Parnell. "He has been an invaluable counselor for Drury and his sage wisdom will be missed." After becoming a member of the Board of Trustees in 1984, Jack and his wife, Melba, made generous contributions to fund the state-of-the-art Shewmaker Communications Building, as well as the Shewmaker Gates located at the southern campus entrance.

"Whether he was mentoring SIFE team members, assuring campus safety or improving the facilities in which they learned, his affection for and commitment to our students was deep and genuine," said Dr. Charles Taylor, dean of the college. In his time outside of Drury, Shewmaker served as both president and chief operating officer for Walmart Stores, Inc. until his retirement in 1988. In 2000, Drury presented Shewmaker with an honorary doctorate.

In Memoriam: Dr. Sam Smith & Dr. Allen Eikner

Smith and Eikner Endowment

In recognition of the influence and countless contributions of Drs. Smith and Eikner, Drury University honored them both with lifetime achievement awards in May 2010, on the occasion of the centennial anniversary of the Drury School of Religion.

A $50,000 endowment effort will establish the annual religion lectureship in Dr. Eikner's name, to recognize his extraordinary contributions to Drury and church relations, and the Smith Legacy Fund, which will support the annual activities of the Disciples on Campus student fellowship.

To contribute to these memorial endowments, contact Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Darla Harmon '92, M.A. '08 at (417) 873-7478.

Dr. Sam Smith   Dr. Allen Eikner

On September 11, 2010, Emeritus Professor Dr. Sam Smith passed away at the age of 87. Smith taught at Drury for over 25 years, beginning in 1959. He was known for his vast expertise in religion and led several students on study abroad trips throughout his time at Drury.

In 22 years of retirement, Smith was active as an ordained minister and regularly preached at several churches throughout the Ozarks. "He was a great friend and leader within our community. He will be deeply missed," said Dr. Peter Browning, Drury University Chaplain.

Drury was saddened to learn that former Dean of the College Dr. Allen Eikner passed away on Monday, Feb. 21, at age 91, after a battle with cancer. Eikner graduated from Drury in 1949 and served the university for 31 years as dean of the School of Religion, professor and chair of philosophy and religion, and dean of the college.

Eikner retired in 1983 and served Drury as an emeritus faculty member. "Above all, Dr. Eikner was a gifted thinker and teacher," said Dr. Charles Taylor, Drury's current dean. "He understood and embodied the very essence of Drury. As a gentleman and scholar, Dr. Eikner was truly a giant."