From the President

Activism at Drury: Theme or Culture?

This issue of Drury magazine is focused on activism. Activism as a current theme is appropriate given the groundswell of change fomented by passionate people around the world in just the past year. At Drury, students, educators and leaders have historically placed action at the core of our culture.

Drury College was founded by a small band of idealistic activists in 1873. Who else would seek to mend the wounds of the Civil War in a bitterly divided border state community using a New England sourced liberal learning philosophy keyed to ethics and spirituality? Who else would seek to educate men and women, Caucasians and Native Americans? Who else would dream of seating sons and daughters of former slaveholders and unionists around a table of civil discussion and debate? These contradictions of the period are at the heart of Drury's activist culture. Our founders set out to change the world, and they did.

Today, Drury students are still doing so. Leaders in education, architecture, business and science who have graduated from Drury are leaving their marks in our community, throughout the region and around the world. They are more than dreamers, observers or listeners—though they are likely all of these. They are activists hatched from a historic culture of engagement and involvement. They are too many to name in this short piece, but you know of them.

Tomorrow's graduates will do the same. Drury University is more diverse now than at any time since 1:30 p.m. on September 25, 1873. This year, we enrolled record numbers of domestic minority and international students. If 7 of 39 students represented a diversity factor of 18% in 1873, 65 of 352 would equal 18.5% in 2011. The Edward Jones Scholars initiative, a rich and diverse athletic program, and a focus on engagement abroad all drive these record numbers. With diversity comes more discourse, deeper learning, richer relationships, and increased involvement, all of which can fuel activism.

The theme of this magazine is activism. More important, activism is a critical part of the culture of our university. This is a point of pride and a source of energy.

Todd Parnell '69