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Alumni Council

Drury Alumni Council serves as the leadership board and governing body of the Alumni Association, with members from a range of class years, including a member from the Drury faculty and a member from the administrative staff. The Council meets collectively six times per year to serve as the voice of all alumni, coordinate alumni communication efforts, plan activities and support alumni engagement and connection programs.

Alumni Council members also play an important role as representatives of Drury in their communities, as well as offering financial support to the Annual Drury Experience Fund, department programs and special projects to support the growth and success of the University.

Alumni Council Goals:

  1. Participation in local and regional University events
  2. Engagement with current students through increased mentorship, internship and community involvement opportunities.
  3. Increase engagement of Drury alumni with campus leadership, to promote opportunities in student recruitment and rollout of the campus master plan.

Interested in serving on Alumni Council?

Alumni Council accepts applications for new members each spring.  Each Alumni Council member serves a three-year term and has distinct responsibilities as part of their position.  If you are interested in becoming a member of the Alumni Council, apply with the online Alumni Council application. 

Apply to the Alumni Council

Alumni Council Members

Joel Alexander ’83 
President

Year of Election to Alumni Council: 2016

Joel Alexander earned his communications degree from Drury in 1983. Working not far from Drury, he serves as the Manager of Communications for City Utilities of Springfield. Currently he serves on local boards of the American Red Cross, Ozark Trails Council – Boy Scouts of America, Good Dads, Springfield Police Foundation, and assists with other community organizations. His wife, Lisa, is President of the CoxHealth Foundation.

Jay Titus ’93
Vice President

Jay Titus has banking in his blood. He’s worked in the industry for 26 years and, perhaps surprisingly, at only three banking institutions during that time. Titus is currently Missouri division president for BancorpSouth Bank, where he’s served for 12 years – the longest stint of his career. He spent about seven years each at U.S. Bank and Bank of America. At U.S. Bank, he was a four-year recipient of the Pinnacle Award recognizing the top 10% of producers bankwide. Managing BancorpSouth’s operations in Springfield and St. Louis the past five years, Titus is responsible for commercial lending, credit administration, retail branch administration, private banking and strategic planning. He also leads the bank’s wealth management, mortgage and insurance lines of business. What most people might not know, the Drury University graduate came up through a Sam Walton scholarship and worked for Walmart and Sam’s Club stores for the first seven years of his career.

John Pope ’10
Past President

Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2018

John Pope graduated from Drury in 2010 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. Prior to attending Drury, John served seven years in the Army with 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment. He deployed seven times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. John now serves as a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones in Rogersville, MO. His wife Alicia teaches third grade at Logan Rogersville. They have two daughters, Kaitlin and Bella. John and his family are avid sports enthusiasts, and enjoy anything outdoors. John has served as Rogersville Chamber of Commerce President, LR Sports Booster Club President, and works to support several Veteran Charities.

Caron Parnell ’99
Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2019

Caron Parnell graduated from Drury University in 1999 with a degree in French and History. She moved to France after graduation where she taught English. Upon her return to the U.S., she went back to school for her Master’s in the Art of Teaching, which she obtained from Webster University in St. Louis. She has been a French teacher since 2006. She has taught at all levels (elementary, middle & high school).

Caron is a native of St. Louis and a lover of baseball and toasted ravioli. She is married to fellow Drury Alum Patrick Parnell and they have 2 daughters, ages 5 & 7. Caron serves as the Board president for her neighborhood association as well as Discovery Garden Montessori School. She also serves as Vice President of the Ozarks Foreign Language Association. In her free time, Parnell enjoys spending time with her family in the outdoors.

Doyal Bryant ’75
Year of Election to Alumni Council: 2018

Doyal Bryant is an entrepreneurial, proven, self-motivated, dynamic leader possessing the experience and business savvy that comes with a 35+ year track record in the development and management of consumer and technology businesses. Beside profit and loss management responsibility with large and start up companies, he has significant investment banking background. Built new ventures and turnarounds with pubic and private companies Expertise in identifying and leveraging innovations to compete with market incumbents and creating new growth opportunities. Proven leadership in building top flight teams bringing old and new media platforms, penetrating new markets, and developing strategies to compete in growth industries. Many start-ups within local, mobile, and media and related technologies seek his advice as part of their board or advisory boards.

At GATX Capital, Doyal was managing director of the technology asset finance division that grew asset investment portfolio from $75 to 5$25 million.

Until November of 2006, Doyal served as CEO and board member of Scientigo, a Nasdaq small cap company. Under Doyal’s leadership the company acquired Find.com and became an early industry leader in local and vertical search.

Doyal served until 2016 as CEO, co-founder, and board chairman for UBL Interactive, Inc., owner of Universal Business Listing (UBL). UBL was a recognized founder of the online and mobile business identity management business where he created a multimillion-dollar company and a multibillion-dollar global market. Under Doyal’s direction the company is rapidly expanding internationally with service offerings in over 20 countries.

Doyal currently is Managing Director and founding partner and member of SparkPlug Corp, a company created to help startups, and high growth companies get plugged in and connected to an ecosystem of advice, technology, and capital.

Specialties: C Level Management Public and Private, Board Level Management, Strategic Planning, Strategy Innovation, Globalization, Brand Development, Public and Private Capital Markets.

Walter Haskins ’77
Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2018

Walter received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Administration from Drury in 1977 and then attended the University of Kansas Law School receiving a J.D. degree in 1980. He began practice in 1980 in the field of civil litigation with the same firm with which he is now, Atkinson, Haskins, Nellis, Brittingham, Gladd & Fiasco, P.C. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and all federal courts in the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas. He and his wife, Nan Lea, have been married for 31 years and have three children. He has been active in Boy Scouts of America and numerous conservation organizations, being designated as Conservationist Landowner of the Year in 2018 by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. He serves in a pro bono capacity as a Civil Service Commissioner for the City of Tulsa. He and his family live in Tulsa.

Jane Sellars ’70
Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2018

Jane Sellars considers attending Drury to have been one of the most proactive and positive decisions she made in her life. “Moving into McCullough Cottage, meeting new friends, pledging Alpha Phi and starting classes just a week later was a pivotal point in my life,” she says. After graduating with a degree in Elementary Education, she continued to be active as a chapter rush advisor. She ended her 37-year teaching career at Central High School, just across the street from Drury. Over the years, she has been active in civic and professional groups including Springfield Alpha Phi Alumni, P.E.O. International, Relay for Life, the Executive Committee of LAD of Southwest Missouri, the Alzheimer’s Association, ALS of Southwest Missouri, Southwest Missouri Museum Associates, and Drury Women’s Auxiliary. Jane is thrilled to be a part of Drury’s future and looks forward to her time on the Alumni Council.

She and her husband John are grandparents to seven grandchildren and enjoy the interaction they have with them and their adult children.

John Mark Stillwell ’67
Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2018

Mark Stillwell, a native of Springfield, is a graduate of Central High School, Drury University and the U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. After graduating from Drury in 1967, he served on Navy active duty for three years with assignments in the Pacific aboard the aircraft carrier USS Princeton and in Vietnam, Korea and Taiwan. He returned to Springfield in 1970 as Sports Information Director and Publications Editor at Drury, and did radio play-by-play of Drury basketball for a year before moving to become SID at Missouri State in 1972. Stillwell spent 37 years with the Bears, receiving more than 60 publications and writing awards. He is the recipient of a CoSIDA 25-Year Award and a CoSIDA Lifetime Achievement Award and has been inducted into the Missouri Valley Conference, Missouri State Athletics, Springfield Area Sports and Missouri Sports Halls of Fame. His sports information career has been paralleled with more than 28 years in the Navy and Navy Reserve, with his retirement from the Navy in 1991 with the rank of Captain.

Joel Thomas ’06
Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2019

Joel received his BA in Architecture from Drury University in 2006. His entire architectural career has been rooted right here in Springfield MO. Licensed in Missouri, Joel has found his place as a Studio Leader at the Lamar Johnson Collaborative, working on projects here in Springfield as well as across the country. He served on the board of the Harmony House, was a member of the Landmarks Board, is a founding member of the Springfield Identity Project and currently has a seat on the Planning and Zoning Commission. His wife Amanda is a Senior Manager at BKD and they have one daughter, Bradley.

Frances Presley Rice ‘73
Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2020

Frances Presley Rice is an Army veteran who retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1984 after twenty years of active duty service. She holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, California and a Master of Business Administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California. After graduating from Drury University in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree, she was honored as the Distinguished Young Alumna in 1977.

Subsequent to her military career, Frances worked for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, serving first as a member of that company’s “think tank,” and then as a government contract advisor. She later taught Business Law for the European Division of the University of Maryland in Brussels, Belgium.

Starting in the early 1960s, Frances began her independent studies of black history and acquired a depth of knowledge that proved invaluable as she co-founded the Yocum African American History Association (YAAHA), an IRS section 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.

Frances collaborated on the research and writing of the book BLACK HISTORY 1619 – 2019: AN ILLUSTRATED AND DOCUMENTED AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY. This inspiring and educational book is an in-depth look at the events which shaped the lives and contributions of the African American community in America. It advances the goal of YAAHA, which is: Changing Perspectives of Black History in America.

Portrait of Scott Moore.Scott Moore ’00 BS ’17 PSSL ‘22
Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2021

With nearly 30 years in public safety, Scott Moore has dedicated his life to serving his community. Scott is the Fire Chief of the Battlefield Fire Protection District in Southwest Missouri. Scott is also a Reserve Corporal with the Christian County Sheriff’s Office in Ozark, Missouri, and CFO of the Southwest Missouri Incident Management Team. Having a diverse background, and a need for a quality education, Scott found several opportunities with Drury University. Scott graduated from the Drury Law Enforcement Academy in 2000, Columbia College with an Associate’s in Fire Service Administration in 2011, Drury University with a Bachelor’s in Emergency Management in 2017. Currently, Scott is attending Drury University working to complete his Master’s in Public Service and Safety Leadership with an expected graduation date of 2022.

Scott is the Chair of the Springfield/Greene County 911 Advisory Board, Director At-Large for the Fire and Life Safety Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and volunteers for numerous conferences, committees, and associations centered around public safety across the country. His wife Gretchen has a background in early childhood education and bookkeeping. Scott and Gretchen have two children, Sarah and Isaac.

Portrait of Juan Franco.Juan Franco ‘14
Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2021

Juan Franco earned his bachelors of arts in international political studies and multimedia production & journalism from Drury in 2014. After graduation he worked for digital journalism outlets for several years, including roles with the Springfield News-Leader, the Washington Post and news organizations in Europe. Since then, Juan has transitioned to working in higher education – a field he has been in for the past 5 years. Currently he serves as the Associate Director of Residential Life & Explorations at Rollins College in Winter Park Florida. Outside of work, Juan is passionate about traveling, Formula 1, emerging technology, social justice and civic engagement.

Portrait of Karen Shannon.Karen Shannon ’82 MBA ‘83
Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2021

Karen Shannon is Vice President of Business Consulting/CHRO for Ollis/Akers/Arney.  Karen has served in senior leadership positions in banking and human resources for over 30 years.  She and her team provided HR services to 5,000 employees across the US, United Kingdom, India and Mexico.  Today, she works with world-wide clients on key business and HR strategies.

Karen received her MBA and BA in Business Administration and Economics from Drury University.  She is a graduate of Leadership Missouri, past president of the Junior League, and was appointed to the Board of Trustees for banker education for the Missouri Bankers Association. She has served on the Board of Directors for numerous organizations and is a regular presenter at national and regional conferences. Karen was recognized in 2000 by the Springfield Business Journal in its inaugural class of the Most Influential Women in Business. 

Portrait of John Miller.John Miller ’95 MA ‘13
Year of Election to the Alumni Council:  2021

John is the father of two kids, Mason (23), who is a graduate of Drury University and McKenna (21), who is in her last year of Cox Nursing School, through Evangel University and will graduate in 2022.  John received his BS in Criminology and Communications (emphasis in Public Relations) in 1995 and his Master’s in Communication (emphasis in Organizational Leadership and Change) in 2013.  He has been a resident of Southwest Missouri his entire life and is one of many family members to attend Drury.  His father ran facilities at Drury for 18 years, before retiring in 2011 and his son, mother and sister are graduates of Drury along with an aunt, uncle and four cousins and all of their spouses!  He was a member of Sigma Pi during his undergraduate years, and he still considers this some of the best years of his life!  He has been in Insurance for 27 Years and at Progressive Insurance for the last 25 years and attributes his success in this industry to his time and experience at Drury.  John worked in the Alumni and Development office all four years of his undergraduate so he knows how critical the help of the school’s alumni and he is excited to get back involved with the university.

Portrait of Dr. Natalie Precise.Dr. Natalie Precise
Faculty Representative

Dr. Natalie Precise is an Associate Professor of Education in Drury University’s School of Education and Child Development. Her classes focus on literacy instruction including language development, reading and writing instruction, and literacy integration. She teaches many undergraduate and graduate courses including Methods of Teaching Language Arts and Content Area Literacy. She also teaches Professional Preparation in Teacher Education and the Student Teaching Support Seminar.  

Dr. Precise comes to Drury University after serving eight years in the public-school system where she taught fifth grade for seven years and math intervention for one year. Dr. Precise’s certifications include Elementary Education grades 1-6 and an Elementary Principal certification.  

Dr. Precise’s research includes a thesis focused on job sharing in the regular education classroom and a dissertation entitled, “Leadership Implications for Teaching Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the General Education Classroom.” She was also a finalist for the 2012 Dan Cockrell Dissertation of the Year Award. She maintains a literacy-focused blog and has published several articles from her dissertation research.  

Dr. Precise was recently named the Dean of the School of Education and Child Development in 2021. She was also a 40 Under 40 honoree for Springfield Business Journal in early 2021.

Emillie Ellison
Staff Representative

Emillie Ellison serves as the Executive Officer Assistant to Aaron Jones, Executive Vice President for University Relations & General Counsel. She also works with the Executive Assistant to the President and Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees to support the President’s Office and Board of Trustees. Additionally, Emillie and Aaron are currently serving in interim positions with the Drury GO team.

Emillie attended the University of Arkansas and graduated in 2012, with degrees in History and English and a minor in Business. She worked in banking before starting in the Business Office at Drury in 2014. In 2018, she moved to the President’s Office, where she continues to work. As part of her duties, she has spent time working in departments all over campus learning and assisting where needed. Emillie’s father (’92), sister (’14), uncle (‘02), and aunt (’01) have all earned a degree at Drury University.

 

Abbie Bliss
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
Ex-Oficio

Abbie is passionate about event planning, communication strategies and building meaningful relationships. Abbie began at Drury University in 2019 and spends her days supporting alumni engagement, coordinating special occasions and gatherings, and working with volunteers. Abbie graduated from University of Missouri-Columbia in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Abbie’s father graduated from Drury University in 1982 and her sister graduated in 2015 so she feels a strong connection to the Drury community. In her free time, Abbie loves to play tennis, bake new recipes, travel to new destinations and organize gatherings with her friends and family.