We are on the verge of something big. Something that will not only impact Drury now, but also for generations to come. Something important, something powerful – a game changer.
For the past two years, Drury has diligently planned and prepared for a transformative, campus wide campaign. Go Beyond the Campaign for Drury University will reinvigorate the Drury academic experience, construct a needed campus building, enhance scholarship support for students and reframe the campus hardscape and landscape to enhance its beauty and connectivity. With a $73 million goal, Go Beyond the Campaign for Drury University is the largest campaign ever undertaken by the university.
The largest piece of this fundraising puzzle broke ground October 29th.
Drury University’s first new academic building in 20 years will be named the C.H. “Chub” O’Reilly Enterprise Center. A significant lead gift from O’Reilly family members Rosalie O’Reilly Wooten ’64, who is a Drury emeritus trustee; Larry O’Reilly ’69; David O’Reilly ’71; and Charlie and Mary Beth O’Reilly ’88 will honor the late Chub O’Reilly.
“We hope the spirit of Chub O’Reilly will live through the students who get educated here, and that what he did with his life will be an example for them,” Rosalie said.
Larry O’Reilly said his father also taught the family to give back to the community and to the causes that will improve people’s lives. He likened Drury to a beacon in the region, calling it “this rock solid school that is progressing” during a turbulent time.
“Drury is in our hearts every day,” Larry said. “So for us to give back – especially now – seems most important, not just for our family but for our community.”
The state-of-the-art Enterprise Center will house the Breech School of Business, the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, related academic programs, and high-tech collaborative spaces.
It will also be the lynchpin of Your Drury Fusion, which is the result of years of planning and analysis on behalf of the entire Drury faculty. Your Drury Fusion blends learning for life and profession with hands-on experiential learning, and the interdisciplinary Enterprise Center is essential for its full delivery.
Over half of the Enterprise Center will be filled with collaborative, interdisciplinary spaces, including design, data analytics and cybersecurity labs, along with a trading floor.
Two steadfast benefactors of Drury University surprised a longtime employee of the institution by naming a new building in her honor. Judy Thompson is a prodigious fundraiser and master relationship-builder who has dedicated most of her life to Drury’s mission and students. She will be the namesake of a new 12,000-square foot executive conference center set to open in fall 2022.
The surprise announcement came at the behest of donors John and Crystal Beuerlein, two of the university’s most ardent supporters. The couple graduated from Drury College in 1975. After graduation, Crystal began work for a St. Louis mortgage company and John joined Edward Jones. He became the youngest person ever to be made a general partner at the firm at 26; he retired recently. John served as a member of the Drury Board of Trustees for 20 years, from 1991 to 2011, and was board chair from 2006 to 2010.
At the unveiling, John Beuerlein called Thompson “the wind beneath the wings for change, a person with the skills to communicate a compelling vision of Drury’s future.” Beuerlein said it was Thompson’s strong sense of mission that helped her connect with donors and alumni over the years. Every ask and every action was for “the good of the students, the good of the school, and the good of the city of Springfield,” he said. “To her it was a moral imperative.”
The Judy Thompson Executive Conference Center will significantly expand impact and functionality of the building, encompassing a large lobby area as well as the forum: an expansive space for meetings, conferences and workshops such as small-business programming, TEDx Talks, speakers and live performances.
The Enterprise Center will enhance Drury’s ability to recruit, educate and support students. It will allow for new advances in our Breech School of Business, and back the full launch of the transformational Your Drury Fusion curriculum. Once constructed, the Enterprise Center will be a campus hub at which deep, interdisciplinary learning inspires generations of Drury students to achieve their full potential.