"A great man has passed"
Stephen Good's death on February 16 ended an era at Drury, and brought out a wealth of recollections and discussion on how Drury changed, grew and improved because Steve was here. But Steve's legacy to Drury is more than a résumé of his accomplishments. Steve shaped the culture of Drury through the programs he introduced and supported and most of all through the relationships he treasured. That legacy is why we all feel grief at Steve's passing. But the legacy is also an imperative. Steve's style was to set a course to progress on a path of unshakable integrity, then to bring everyone else along on that path. Imagine Martin Luther King's march on Washington led by a diminutive man sporting a bow tie and a big grin.
Meganne Rosen, sophomore: I did not know Dr. Good very well; I only met him a few times. But I was struck by his demeanor. He always seemed filled with a kind of quiet joy; a peaceful jubilance. After meeting him for the first time I remember wishing that I would one day possess that kind of pure, blissful calm. Now, I only wish I would have had the opportunity to get to know him better.
Stephen Hanscom Good was born in Columbus, Nebraska, in 1942. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1964, a Master of Arts in English from the University of Pittsburgh in 1965 and the Doctor of Philosophy in English and history of science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1972. While a graduate student, he taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Nebraska. In 1968 he joined the faculty of Mount Saint Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, as an assistant professor of English. He was named chair of the department in 1969, and remained so until his departure in 1979, when he was named Vice President and Dean of the College at Westmar College in Le Mars, Iowa.
In August, 1982, he wrote to physics professor Jim Riley, chairman of the search committee for a new Vice President for Academic Affairs, "I am somewhat familiar with your institution, and the prospect of joining your staff is attractive to me." In December, he was named to the post.
Steve joined Drury at a turbulent time. Soon after he arrived, then-president Norman Crawford resigned, and Steve was appointed acting president by the Board of Trustees. Vowing not to maintain Drury in a holding pattern, he embarked on forceful initiatives to strengthen the academic standards and expectations of the college, unite faculty in a shared mission and bolster enrollment. He succeeded, and when President John Moore arrived in November 1983, Drury already had begun a renaissance.
Don Deeds '69, chemistry professor: I first met Steve Good when he made a presentation at a general faculty meeting after being hired as our new dean. During his introduction, Wayne Holmes (a crusty old professor in English at that time) leaned over and commented to Charlie DeBerry and me, "he's kinda short ain't he?" As Steve began to talk it was obvious to all that he already had a clear vision for Drury's future. The more he talked, the more impressed the faculty became. At some point Wayne leaned back over and remarked, "you know, I think he's getting' taller."
Steve sensed that Drury needed a program that would set it apart from the multitude of small colleges in the United States. He recognized that one of Drury's strengths was the way it combined the broad enlightenments of the liberal arts with preparation for a professional career, already evident in the department of education and the Breech School of Business Administration. Art department chair John Simmons '60 had begun an architecture program in 1979, but the program was criticized by accreditation advisors in 1984 for its poor facilities (crammed into Harwood Hall) and lack of rigor. The advisors recommended shutting down the program.
Jay Garrott, founding director of the Hammons School of Architecture: To a large extent, it was because of Steve that I came to Drury to help develop the school of architecture. His sincerity, intellect, enthusiasm and vision for the blending of the liberal arts and architecture programs were dominant factors in my decision to risk my professional career and to come to Drury. Steve and I spent many hours debating the academic framework for the school of architecture. His sensitive understanding of the special nature of the architecture experiment that Drury was undertaking was nowhere more evident than in his presentation to the architecture curriculum consultants in the spring of 1985:
"When we talk about the relationship between the architecture program and the liberal arts at Drury College, we may, in fact, have set up a duality that is not the best way to think about the situation. All of our programs come out of the same context, are a part of the same community. We need to think about how the program itself embodies and grows out of that liberal arts context.
"I have a suspicion, however, that the greatest challenges are not going to be financial; I think that a great deal of money would not insure that we would do the kind of job that we hope to do with the architecture program, build a special kind of program which is true to our institutional tradition. The graduates who come from the Drury College architecture program should be a special ilk, have a special kind of background, a special kind of perception, a special kind of understanding, which is developed out of that program. We seek, I think, a happy marriage of form and function, which grows out of our traditional institutional context and which will have a kind of beauty, a kind of elegance, because of that marriage."
His presentation enthralled the assembled architecture academicians and administrators and invigorated our discussions. Here was the Dean of Academic Affairs of a small "traditional" liberal arts college eloquently and intellectually espousing cutting edge concepts for the blending of liberal arts and professional architecture programs.
In 1990, Drury dedicated the Hammons School of Architecture, which remains a signature program of Drury. It was the first accredited architecture program outside New England on a liberal-arts-centered campus.
Steve Seibert '88: He was always willing to listen to an opinion, and he never discounted the value of that opinion just because it came from a student. He recognized the value in creating citizens who were able to think for themselves, who remained well-informed, and who used their intellectual gifts for the good of all, not just themselves. Drury is a far better institution than it was 20 years ago largely because of his dedication to the school. I am a far better person largely because of his dedication to me as a student and as an alumnus. My respect for him knows no end.
Steve next turned his attention to the general education curriculum, a topic that had been on his mind. He saw the approaching millennium and wondered how Drury should change to meet the demands of a world that was simultaneously shrinking and growing more complex.
Stephen Good, 1986: As a result of electronic technology we have information at our fingertips. Often we have more information than we can possibly sort, interpret and use. The challenge is to help students prepare for a world in which they must assess the quality of information, identify the most important and useful information, and transform that information in useful ways. What is needed is a special set of reasoning skills to assist in sorting the plethora of information.
The second challenge which confronts our students is that of change - rapid and sometimes unpredictable change. Among the qualities of the 20th century is the acceleration of change in all aspects of our lives. Various predictions suggest that people entering the workforce today will have to change careers three, four or five times in the course of their working lives. Students need the kind of education that will make them flexible and adaptable to change and give them the skills to succeed in a variety of careers, some of which are not even imagined today.
From 1990 to 1995, Steve led Drury's faculty through the creation of Global Perspectives 21, a general education program that placed critical thinking, writing and communication skills in the context of understanding how societies mesh locally, nationally and internationally. Along the way, Steve taught reluctant faculty members that working together, across departmental lines, was a powerful and exciting way to think and teach.
Don Deeds: From the beginning, Steve's intellect and passion were obvious to all in the faculty. He worked hard in those early years to bring a divided faculty back together. His leadership helped to reestablish a lost sense of confidence and direction within the faculty. He was never afraid to challenge sacred practices. Even though I often found myself in disagreement with his ideas, I never questioned his integrity or his sincere commitment to making Drury a better place.
Dan Beach, director of the School of Education and Child Development: Stephen Good was a leader in every sense of the word. His commitment and intellectual ability strengthened academic programs and the persons who lead and learn in them. Steve acted on a set of principles that consistently resulted in wise decisions. He had a sense of vision, especially in terms of curriculum and academic policy. His courage was demonstrated by facing tough issues and working to achieve fair outcomes.
Perhaps Steve's greatest tool in transforming Drury was the power of his friendship. When you met Steve, you sensed that he was truly interested in what you thought and what you had come to tell him. He listened, then drew your thoughts out in ways you hadn't imagined. Every conversation became a creative partnership.
Jeffrey VanDenBerg, assistant professor and chair of history and political science: Dean Good was famous for his leadership, wisdom, and vision at Drury. As a new faculty member in 1998, his presence and intellect were palpable to me, and a bit intimidating. After my first year at Drury I was honored to have been asked by Steve to accompany him and a few faculty members to a Council of Independent Colleges conference in St. Louis. My own neophyte nerves, combined with Steve's reputation for hard-driving conference experiences, had me prepared for a long trip. But it was at the conference that I had one of my most cherished memories of Steve. He asked if I wanted to go for an early morning jog, which we did around the Arch. As we ran we chatted about families and experiences, sports and travel. It revealed to me his personal touch and genuine interest in the people around him, and solidified our working relationship. The fact that we were missing a conference session as we ran (his all-work reputation notwithstanding!) only made me appreciate his leadership and friendship more.
Erica Spyres, senior: Dean Good was the embodiment of the Drury spirit. I'm only a student, yet he took the time to get to know me personally, as he did with so many people on campus. The first time I talked with him to interview him for a newspaper article, he said, "I'm a big fan of yours." I wondered what he could mean. How could he possibly know me when I had never met him? He went on to say he came to all the orchestra, choir, and theatre productions. I have never met someone outside of the music/theatre field, especially a very busy administrator, who was so dedicated to supporting the arts. However, Dean Good took the time to support every campus group. After a performance, he didn't pat me on the back, say "good job," then talk to someone more important. He said "excellent performance" multiple times, then proceeded to have a real conversation with me. Dean Good treated everyone, regardless of a difference in age or education, with kindness.
Li Ruifang, Tsinghua University, Beijing: I can't forget it was he who supported [Li's appointment as a visiting professor at Drury] warmly and made what seemed impossible possible. I can't forget it was the flowers he sent us that stood on the apartment table and greeted us to make us feel at home away from home. I can't forget it was he who came to my office in person and invited me to the Christmas dinner, which made me feel he reserved some space in his heart for visiting scholars. I can't forget it was he who gave very positive response when we reported our work at Drury. I can't forget the many things he did for us and for the connection between our two universities.
At a recent discussion of Drury's strengths, many agreed that the value Drury faculty place on working well with others outside their departments is one of the factors that sets Drury apart from other small universities. The Drury culture of working together was a key to developing new programs and to raising funds for buildings like Trustee Science Center and Hammons School of Architecture.
Steve's universal interest in all aspects of Drury made him an effective and beloved leader. His joy in newfound knowledge was a powerful argument against the isolation that plagues so many universities.
Don Deeds: With his considerable powers of persuasion and with a few well-placed kicks to our collective derrières, he motivated us to develop a unique integrated curriculum for our non-science majors.
Just as Steve arrived at Drury in turbulent times, he also left the university as it heads into a period of great transition. Key leaders, including President Moore, plan to retire in the next three years. The new Dean of the College, Charles Taylor, and Dean of Students, Tijuana Julian, recently moved into those positions from the faculty. There is a growing discussion of what Drury will ask of its new leaders in order to extend the awesome progress of the last 20 years.
Drury Mirror Editorial, October 14, 1983: It isn't often that we find one person who is willing to give his whole self - plus some - to something he truly believes in; someone who does twice as much work as expected, sets goals, meets those goals, never complains, but instead continues to smile and thank others for their support . . . [T]he marks of a job well done will live on. Dr. Good has brought new confidence to Drury College. Under such leadership we can hold our heads up high and be proud . . . Dr. Good, thank you!
Steve has left us with many reasons to be proud of Drury and we anticipate the future. The possibilities are exciting; because of what Steve helped accomplish, Drury is poised to become more visible, more rigorous, more successful. The strategic plan adopted in 2000 sets several goals to reach by 2010: enrollment of 1,800 in the Day School and 4,200 in the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies; a $250 million endowment; a six-year graduation rate of 70 percent in the Day School; an increase in the ACT score of incoming freshmen; and a spot among the top 10 Midwestern Master's universities in USNews & World Report. (A group of faculty, staff and trustees are reviewing this strategic plan, but these benchmarks appear unlikely to change.)
How will Drury reach those goals? How will the university change in the process? Memories of Steve will balance concerns about keeping the school's magical sense of purpose and community while meeting the needs of new generations of students and the global society rushing upon them. These memories ensure that the things that help define Drury are not left behind: a tradition of student-centered teaching by faculty who enjoy their students; serving the larger community through education and volunteerism; and a commitment to working together to make sure every Drury student has reason to be proud of what he or she accomplished while here.