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Honorary Degrees

Drury University > Academic Affairs > Honorary Degrees

Drury University has a tradition of recognizing excellence and service through awarding of honorary degrees.

Honorary Degree Committee

The Honorary Degree Committee shall be constituted as follows: two members of the Board of Trustees, appointed by the chair of the Board; two members of the faculty, appointed by the Faculty Affairs Committee; one administrator appointed by the President; and two students appointed by the Student Government Association.

The chair of the committee shall always be a member of the faculty. Faculty and trustee members generally serve for a period of two years, with their terms staggered so as to provide continuity.

The administrator shall serve as the secretary, subject to the approval of the committee.

2019-2020 Committee Members

  • Board of Trustees: Steve Edwards and Ron Neville
  • Faculty: Dr. Natalie Precise, chair and Dr. Peter Browning
  • Administrators/Staff Liaisons: Wayne Chipman, Judy Thompson and Aaron Jones
  • Students: Nick Rauscher and Kenzie McCance
  • Ex Officio: Dr. Beth Harville, Provost; Dr. Tim Cloyd, President; and Rita Baron, Board of Trustees Chair

Types of Awards

  • Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Doctor of Laws
  • Doctor of Free Enterprise

  • Doctor of Music
  • Doctor of Public Service
  • Doctor of Science

  • Doctor of Divinity
  • Honorary Bachelor’s Degree
  • Spirit of Drury

Procedures and Deadlines

During August, the chair will arrange the dates for three committee meetings to be held no earlier than September 15 and no later than November 1. Committee members will be advised of these dates as soon as possible. It may not be necessary to hold all three meetings.

In September, the secretary will ask all segments of the campus community and the Board of Trustees to submit names of candidates. Good candidates for honorary degrees are those who serve the purposes of the university in granting such degrees.

The guidelines for making honorary degree awards are:

  • to recognize the achievements of distinguished people
  • to recognize outstanding service to Drury University
  • to gain favorable publicity for the university as a result of the award
  • to bring a heightened level of interest and excitement to the commencement exercises.

The Spirit of Drury award was created to recognize those who have distinguished themselves throughout their careers and embody Drury University’s mission and goals. Nominees can be educators, scholars, professionals, or community leaders, who have championed the value of the liberal arts for education or for scholarly or professional endeavors, especially through an interdisciplinary approach.

Criteria for Nomination

Candidates for the Spirit of Drury Award are those who have distinguished themselves through their careers and embody Drury University’s mission and goals. They can be educators, scholars, professionals, or community leaders, who have championed the value of the liberal arts for education or for scholarly or professional endeavors, especially through an interdisciplinary approach.

Nomination criteria approved by the Drury University faculty on March 8, 2018.

Nomination Process

To nominate someone for the Spirit of Drury Award, submit a nomination form along with two letters of recommendation and other supporting documentation to the University’s Honorary Degree Committee no later than October 1 each year. 

Approval Process

Following review of the nominations received, the Honorary Degree Committee will recommend candidates for faculty approval.

Award Ceremony

The Office of University Advancement will determine the commemorative recognition to be given and coordinate the timing and presentation of the award.

Previous Recipients of Honorary Degrees

  • Arthur Hyde (Governor, Missouri), 1923
  • Lewis Elbern Meador (professor of political science, Drury University), 1945
  • Lester E. Cox (LL.D.) (hospital donor and Chairman of the Board), 1953
  • William O. Smith (jazz musician), 1969
  • Ewing M. Kauffman (founder, Marion Laboratories; owner, KC Royals), 1973
  • Christopher Bond (governor of Missouri at time of conferral), 1976
  • Duane G. Meyer (history professor, Missouri State University), 1983
  • John Q. Hammons (entrepreneur and philanthropist), 1987
  • Hon. Harry Blackmun (Supreme Court Justice), 1987
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (District of Columbia Delegate to Congress), 1989
  • Sister Lorraine Biebel (founder, Springfield’s Soup Kitchen), 1989
  • John L. Morris (founder, Bass Pro Shops), 1999
  • Jack C. Shewmaker (former president, Walmart), 2000
  • Morris Dees (Co-Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center), 2001
  • Mary Jane Pool (class of ’46; Life Trustee; author and lecturer), 2002
  • Jim Anderson (civic and business leader; president, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce), 2002
  • John “Jack” Taylor (Springfield architect; one of the founders of the HSA), 2006
  • Bob Barker (class of ’47; national radio and TV show host), 2007
  • Mary Beth O’Reilly (class of ’88; founder of the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks), 2009
  • Brian Fogle (president, Community Foundation of the Ozarks), 2011
  • John Beuerlein (class of ’75; Life Trustee; entrepreneur; General Partner at Edward Jones, St. Louis ), 2013
  • Rosalie Wooten (class of ’64; Trustee; business leader; philanthropist), 2017
  • Andy Breech (Boy Scout Board of Directors, philanthropist), 2018
  • Dr. Jeffrey Bradley (class of ’89; physician), 2018
  • Rev. Oliver Brown (Springfield native, activist Brown v. Board of Education, pastor), 2019

Each nomination should include at least two letters of recommendation and is to be forwarded, by stated deadline to Marline Faherty in the Provost’s Office at mfaherty@drury.edu.

The official list of recipients will be maintained by the Academic Affairs Office.


Honorary Degree Nomination Form

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