Dr. Tim Cloyd's Inauguration Speech
October 25, 2017
Chairman Reed, thank you for your kind introduction! Provost Harville, thank you for serving as the conductor of these ceremonies. Dr. Davidson and Dr. Julian thank you for the beautiful music. Dr. Carlyle Sharpe your inaugural composition was glorious. Fantastic! And to our Drury Singers …. Wow! Let’s give them a hand!
Provost Holden Thorp and Ms. Patty Thorp thank you for being here today. Wendy and I are so pleased to be with you again.
Thank you for such generous greetings from each of our representatives. To the inauguration committee and the Senior Leadership Team Members thank you.
To this incredible faculty, staff, alumni, board, students, and members of the community it is a privilege to have been selected as the 18th president of Drury.
To my family Dr. Scott Hultman, Hank Hultman, Reverend Suzanne Hultman, Thomas Cloyd Mwamby, my mother Betty Cloyd, my wife Wendy, our sons Samuel, Thomas, and Logan and Friends - God Bless you!
This is a day of communal consecration. An opportunity for us as a community to reflect on our mission, our aims, and our aspirations. I have confidence in our future, not because of my leadership as I know I am only an instrument of a greater power, but because of all of you –Whatever we achieve during our time together will be a product of communal effort.
Today, I want to celebrate Drury’s past and dream with you about our future and our vision. I want to celebrate our distinctive academic differentiation and Drury’s critical place on the landscape of higher education.
Our theme today, is Virtue and Virtuosity: Leadership for the 21st Century …. This theme deserves unpacking and I will return to it later.
In the sixteen months I have been here I have asked every student I have met about their major. Almost everyone of them have not just answered with a single major, but they have told me about their double majors and minors. Sometimes a stream of them and the disciplines and subjects connected together were often fresh combinations of academic/intellectual passions combined with professional or pre-professional sounding courses of study - for instance psychology, criminology, and business; history, communications, and animation; or English, graphic design, and crisis communications. And when I asked how they came up with such combinations they would invariability say – that’s what I am interested in and then “my advisor, Professor, so and so, helped me.”
I have thought a lot about the intellectual curiosity of our students and why these fresh combinations typify the Drury Experience.
Recently my reflection on our the matter and our theme today was sparked further as I reread a work by Sir Isaiah Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox. Berlin takes his title from an ancient Greek poet who wrote “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
In analyzing Tolstoy’s complex vision of history in War and Peace, Berlin creates a taxonomy that divides human thinking into the fox and hedgehog. Berlin’s taxonomy has been used in many fields and popularized in management literature.
In his essay, Berlin was getting at something in the human condition – something that confronts and confounds each of us. We all have a desire to place the apparent chaos of life into a broader coherent context of meaning, the hedgehog, but our day to day experience of life is quite different, the fox.
Berlin’s fracture is in each of us. It is between the reality that we experience and live life in as a series of complex concrete disconnected variations and events, but we long to find a way to give a unifying shape to our experience and life, integrating our lives into a moral ideal, or a spiritual worldview that grounds everything in coherent meaning. The fox in us, if developed, masters the perquisites for a lived life as each of us must master all kinds of discrete, unrelated, diverse skills, and aptitudes to maneuver successfully and to make a living.
But the squeal of the hedgehog draws us to reground all of this mess of life into some kind of coherence to achieve a deep consoling explanation for everything. We are all constantly trying to heal this fracture in the self. The Fox and the Hedgehog!
But we have to be careful to balance in our lives ! If the fox dominates us we live a life of meaningless noise and disconnected activities at best and utilitarian manipulation, Machiavellian exploitation, and syndical nihilism at worst – if the hedgehog dominates us we become rigid, arrogant and inflexible at best and at worst authoritarian, fanatical, and totalitarian.
What does this perennial fracture that is the human condition have to do with teaching Virtue and Virtuosity?
An education for the 21st century cultivates in students both virtue in unifying life through a moral or faith framework and virtuosity in the development of professional and technical competencies and aptitudes. This is virtue and virtuosity: leadership for the 21st century - the fox and the hedgehog that are part of all of us.
Cultivating each of these parts of the self in balance is necessary to live well and to do well in life. A 21st century liberal arts education teaches students how to grow comfortable with these essentially conflicting human qualities. An imbalance between the fox and the hedgehog in us produces disquiet, a crisis of meaning and intractable conflicts with others readily visible in our society today.
The fox and the hedgehog are grounding tropes for the notion of Virtue and Virtuosity: Leadership for the 21st Century at Drury.
Since its founding, a Drury education has taught virtue and virtuosity with an ampersand.
Our Abolitionists Congregationalists founders had a deep commitment to and language of virtue. We have not lost that language of virtue at Drury. They came to Springfield to found Drury College to try to heal the divide that was the Civil War. Our founders believed that they should make a difference in the lives of students in this community through an education of virtue that would produce enlightenment, reconciliation, and forgiveness. But also by offering people an education in virtuosity – the cultivation of pragmatic skills and aptitudes that could rebuild Missouri and the national economy.
They did not see this two-fold educational project as existing in parallel, but rather as component parts of a larger whole coming together to create an education for the whole person.
At the Congregationalist Association meeting in March of 1872 Rev H. B. Fry offered the following resolution: “Whereas the rapid increase of population in the Southwest urgently calls for a large increase of pastors, teachers, and thoroughly educated men in every calling and area . . . Resolved, that a committee be appointed to consider the best means for establishing and the proper plan for locating a college within the liming of this association at its next meeting.”
Six men were appointed, but in keeping with Drury’s roots the Congregationalists decided it would be only proper to have a woman on the committee. So they appointed one. I wonder how long the men debated over whether or not she should have a whole vote or a half vote. But it was finally decided she should have only a half vote.
I imagine that during the course of the debate about her voting status the men developed animosity toward each other. When it came down to the vote over whether or not the college should be located in Springfield or another city in Southwest Missouri the vote produced a three to three tie. The woman on the committee, Mrs. L.L. Allen, being the reasonable and thoughtful one broke the tie by casting her ½ vote and thus she decided that Drury College would be located here in Springfield.
From the beginning and on into today, Drury blazed a new trail in this part of the country, bringing an openness in thought and a refinement of the intellect to Springfield.
Drury is a place literally inscribed by our national, state, and local history. It is a place that will continue to make history. Indian mounds and federal entrenchments criss-cross Drury’s grounds, the streetscapes around the campus were once exquisitely beautiful and still have historic meaning - many of you remember the beautiful red brick down Benton and Central now covered by asphalt, Bonnie and Clyde, stold a car at the Shriners Temple and rambled down those bricks in 1932 before being stopped by a motorcycle cop who gave up after Clyde produced a sawed off BAR. Wendy and I still hear them wondering around the president’s house. We also owe a debt to our trustees who had the vision to purchase the AME church on the corner of Benton and Central – the last church served and the place of death of Reverend Oliver Brown from Brown v the Board of Education. Over the next days and weeks all of you will hear about and see how our new master plan envisions doing honor to Drury and Springfield’s history and our physical space.
The Articles of Association for Drury College from 1873 states:
“Our aim in establishing the said Drury college is to afford to youth of both sexes ample facilities for instruction and discipline in those arts and sciences, a knowledge of which constitutes what is commonly known as a "liberal education" and by always maintaining in said college as comprehensive a course of study and as high a standard of instruction and scholarship as prevail in other American colleges of the first rank, and at the same time to train youth in the high morality of the Christian religion.”
Eight years after the horrors of the American Civil War Drury’s founders well understood that very little separates us from barbarism and the loss of liberty. They wanted to offer an education that was deemed essential for a free people to know in order that they might have understanding and humility, and to actively participate in economic and civic life, contributing toward the advancement of the good for one’s life and for the common good. Their hope was to ground students in virtue, while imparting virtuosity.
The frame of our own destiny was set by those who went before us. They are the giants on whose shoulders we stand today. But what we place in that frame is up to us.
Today at Drury the idea of - Virtue ampersand Virtuosity - means that we teach students that there are better and worse ways to live a life and to cultivate individual character grounded in a sound notion of virtue. This instills in our students a commitment to justice, decency, human dignity, integrity, liberty, and mercy.
In this process, this distinctive Drury way, we challenge students to resist simplistic forms of subjectivism and relativism because this posture becomes paralyzing in the face of the reality that there are some principles and values worthy of defense. Exploring virtue is central to what we do here at Drury.
We also know that our students, to succeed, need to cultivate virtuosity. But we know that technical knowledge and skills last a very short time. Consider the buggy whip maker, the 8-track tape, the land line. So we teach technical and professional competencies and aptitudes, but with a higher aim.
In five years we do not know where nanotechnology, genome mapping, or Artificial Intelligence will take us. An exposure to STEAM and applied fields, and pragmatic problem-solving is critical in today’s world, but it is the learning how to learn that is most important.
In a few short years, hand held devices, lithium ion batteries, and thousands of other technologies we rely on today will fade away.
But we know what is enduring. We know that to lead and succeed in the future people will need to be able to penetrate beyond the apparent or likely, to frame and test hypothesis, to interpret all kinds of data and information, to improvise, to see the world through another’s eyes, and to know that more than one interpretation may be right.
The well-educated market-ready person will be grounded in both virtue and virtuosity. The most difficult and important problems in the future will not be technical or scientific, but will be ethical and moral , involve questions of justice and equality, security and liberty. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively on any platform about complex matters will be the critical skill. Being able to see through daily distortions, propaganda, emotional appeals, and fake news will be a basic requirement of a free person.
We teach students to critically and analytically evaluate arguments and the sources of information, to outsmart algorithms that feed into confirmation bias, and to understand that thoughtful consideration is not resentment, anger, and political correctness.
Drury as a community and an institution embodies virtue and virtuosity. This is why we believe that “a university must be a place where the free expression of diverse ideas is the first and most sacred principle, even when those viewpoints are perceived as challenging, unwelcome or even offensive.” In the last 16 months I have fielded calls from people on the left not liking that someone on the right is speaking on campus and I have received calls from people on the right not liking that someone from the left is speaking on campus. In responding I have asked myself really are we all becoming snowflakes!
Another issue we help students confront is the reality that no worldview is completely pure or exclusively virtuous. We help students balance with an understanding of our human frailty, our limited nature, and inability to know the whole truth.
In the midst of the bitter conflicts we face today in America, we want our students to learn that politics can never save their souls. Amidst condemnations and blanket categorizations of others because of the color of their skin – the privileged vs the victim – amidst the suspicions of others because of gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation. Or in assertions that the right is ignorant and the left is enlightened …. In the midst of this we help our students find through our spiritual offerings the gifts of virtue that can heal divides like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, humility, and gentleness.
So yes Love is the answer!!
Other universities can claim that they aim to provide this type of education too. But in the case of Drury it is in our DNA. We are going to our distinctive Platform, our Differentiation, our Ampersands in such a powerful and bold way (complete with credentials, certificates, unique student experiences, digital portfolios for every student, and much more) that we will become visible from greater distances and become known as a national model for what education should be.
Executing this unifying academic differentiation and strategic positioning platform is part of what we have been working on for 16 months. We have been calling this effort the Big 3 Plus One. This four-part strategic action plan is deliberate, interrelated, and designed to create a convergence of transformational opportunity. The four parts include: The Academic Program in the Residential College or day school - differentiation; the Non-Traditional CCPS Academic Program – revitalization and innovation; the Master Plan – where our facilities will reflect our positing; and the Comprehensive Campaign to fund the component parts of this bold vision. Together these four will sharply enhance our appeal in the market and affect our destiny.
Before I say something about our way ahead I want to say something about the place of Drury in the panoply of American Higher Education. In a podcast called “My Little $100 million” Malcolm Gladwell says his episode on higher education is “a eulogy to Hank Rowan” the MIT graduate who in 1992 made the largest gift to a higher education institution at the time - $100 million to a regional institution no one had heard of in New Jersey now Rowan University. At the time of the gift the university had an endowment of $787,000. They had asked Hank Rowan for $10 million for their business school. Hank replied I do not have any interest in your business school, but what would you do with $100 million and guess what they had a plan! And we do too.
Since Rowan’s, gift 87 or more gifts of $100 million to $850 million each have been made to higher education institutions. The difference between those later gifts and Rowan’s is that all of them have gone to the most elite private universities in America again and again. When Rowan was asked why he did not make his gift to MIT he said “you know I wanted to make a real difference. My little $100 million at MIT wouldn’t have made hardly any difference at all.”
Gladwell points out that higher education in the United States runs on philanthropy. He says “There are almost no schools that can pay their bills on the strength of tuition alone.” “Those days are over. Philanthropy is what makes the wheels turn.” Regarding tuition consider this – at Drury, we have not a single full pay student – none, our average net tuition revenue per student in the traditional student body is four or five times lower than at elite privates. Thus our students by in large come from families of slender purse.
Gladwell then opines that America and the world finds itself now in a second industrial revolution. The stakes are very high. And he asks why England emerged as the leader in the first industrial revolution and not France or Germany. He asks was it because England had more geniuses? The answer is no. What England had was a widely educated populous spread quite evenly across the island. It was the whole socio-economic and educational milieu. It touch many more people.
Gladwell then pivots and asks a funny question: what kind of sport would best describe higher education in America? It turns that is is like soccer. In some sports you can make a wining world championship team with a few superstars. But in soccer you do need your superstars, but more importantly you need all 11 players. In soccer for the superstar to score he or she needs 8-9 perfect passes.
So Drury’s place in higher education is critical to the success of our nation and our superstar institutions because all 11 players matter. We provide thousands of students who are not going to go to the superstar schools access, affordability, and a world-class education. We launch them into national graduate and professional programs and into stratospheric careers. This not only strengthens the socio-economic and cultural fabric of our state and nation, but it strengthens the superstar elite private institutions as well. We need Wash U, Harvard, Stanford, Penn, Yale, MIT, and all the rest. But for the future of our country, our citizens, and this new industrial revolution we are playing soccer. All of the institutions are critical to success. That is why major gifts to a place like Drury make such a transformational difference!! Prestige and the superstar’s often draw the mega gifts, but we offer to those inspired to step up and give an exponential impact in lives changed. So Holden if you ever want to steer any of those Wash U donors our way they would be making an excellent investment!!
In part because we are a school focused on mission and serving those of slinder purse there are challenging realities facing Drury. Of course there are. These are critical days for Drury. Days of great opportunity!!
You may call me a dreamer, but I am not the only one.
And I want you to know that we not only have a compelling dream and a vision, but a strategic plan to cease opportunities we have created.
When I arrived here I saw that Drury was being asked to do more and more with less and less. What kept the institution strong the deep commitment of the faculty, the staff, and the community. But the institution was coming under strain and it is never possible to cut yourself into proparity. The strain and then a down spiral can come when external forces go un-countered for too long.
Now at this time - what is required for Drury is not simply talking or being haunted by the past, but bold action and action now. This will require action by each and every one of us. No leader can ever be effective without collective unified courageous action and faith on the part of everyone.
All of this effort still will not be effective without strategic and significant investment in our envised future from the endowment, other sources, and from the generous philanthropic support. I want to thank those of you who have given to the Futures Fund so that together we could launch our now underway transformation. In such critical moments of opportunity, the institutions that invest in themselves emerge into a great sustainable sunlight.
Many of you have given 20 or more years of your life, talent, energy, and treasure to this great institution. We will now take immediate action to realize our envisioned transformation at this historical time and solidly launch Drury University for the next 150 years.
The history of Drury states that on July 28th, 1873, Dr. Morrison wrote “There we drove the stake which fixed the position of the southwest corner of the building. This done, all knelt in prayer around the spot. Mr. Drury voiced the petition of all our hearts that GOD . . . Would graciously accept our offering, would consecrate to their intended uses the structure about to arise on the spot and the college enterprise was thus formally inaugurated.”
I wonder what the next history of Drury will say about us in this time at this place? Why are our hearts drawn here? Why does Drury mean so much to us? Why does God find favor for this place over and over again? What we do will ripple through the waters of time from generation to generation long after we are all gone.
We have all drunk from cisterns we did not dig. We have all taken shade under trees that we did not plant. Rest assured that future generations will have the same experience of reflective gratitude that we do for the spiritual generosity of past generations – the same spiritual generosity that we are now called on by God to impart.
I leave you with the words of Reinhold Niebuhr:
“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope.
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we must be saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.”