Connect with Joel

Current City:
Springfield, Missouri
Architecture '06
Project Manager, Bates & Associates

What is your favorite Drury memory?

What advice would you give a new Drury student?

How has your liberal arts education helped you?

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Joel Thomas

"Take hold of the chances and don’t look back."

When Joel Thomas talks about his time as a student at Drury, he recalls the social activities and friendships made there with a sly grin that suggests he truly enjoyed the experiences to their fullest potential. But dig a little deeper, and you'll find that Joel himself has since been surprised by just how much the academic preparation he received at Drury has helped in his career. As an architecture student, Joel says he didn't fully appreciate the liberal arts foundation he received at the time. But now, it's that liberal learning that has helped him in a career that now has him serving as a Project Manager with Bates & Associates.

"I believe the liberal arts education helped round me out as a citizen and professional," Joel says. "It has allowed me to be able to adapt when meeting people of different creeds and cultures.  In short, the liberal arts education gives you a foundation to handle a vast array of social situations."

Memories to Last a Lifetime

When he graduated in 2006, Joel had a host of memories from his college days under his belt. But Drury's influence on his memories would continue well after graduation. That's because it was at Drury that Joel met his closest friends - a group of guys who've had fun, laughed, and been a part of each other's most notable moments, including serving as groomsmen in Joel's wedding.

And Joel's wife? He met her at Drury as well, in a move that he cites as his favorite memory from his years on Drury Lane.

"A group of us guys decided we were going to be the founding members of the 'super fans' for the women’s volleyball team and came into the game with full body paint and posters," Joel recalls. "I mainly decided to become a 'super fan' because it got me a foot in the door and an icebreaker to approach the woman who eventually became my wife, and who I proposed to at Drury."

Engaging in New Learning Opportunities

As a student, Joel says he was really much more interested in the classes and opportunities that were directly related to his career goals in architecture. Looking back, though, he realizes just how much the general education and prerequisite courses have benefitted him since graduation. "

"Although at the time I felt like some of prerequisite classes and liberal arts classes were more of a burden than benefit, in the end I’m glad that I was forced to engage myself into those learning situations," he says. "Looking back now, I wish I’d taken some of those classes more seriously and engulfed myself deeper in what was being taught, because the social and extracurricular experiences I had at Drury were incomparable. The tight nit social circle that Drury promotes campus wide, along with all the events and activities they provide throughout your years make it easy for one to immerse themselves into the school experience and find lifelong friends."

That combination of academic, social and extracurricular adds up to a college experience that could only be found at Drury, and Joel leaves new students with some advice based on that experience:

"Drury gives you many opportunities to experience and develop your academic, professional and personal life….so take hold of the chances and don’t look back."

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