Drury bestows six honorees with 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., October 13, 2017 — Drury University will again honor esteemed community and professional leaders at the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony on Saturday. The banquet is part of Drury’s annual Alumni Reunion celebration, taking place this weekend.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards were founded in 1951 to recognize individuals who have achieved professional and personal successes, who have shown their loyalty to Drury University, and have demonstrated exemplary service to their community. Nominations are taken from the Drury community and the Alumni Council selects honorees. The 2017 honorees are:

Lifetime Achievement Award – Warren B. Davis ’59

Davis has spent his life making the most of the business education he began at Drury. After earning his bachelor’s in business in 1959, Davis went on to spend 31 dedicated years working for the Orval Davis Tire Company, eventually rising to become its president. After a brief retirement, he returned to the business world as an entrepreneur. In 1994 he established Davis Properties, which is today one of the largest property owners in downtown Springfield.

University Engagement Award – Gail “Gene” Summers ’63

A graduate of the Breech School of Business, Summers has proven himself as a local leader, frequently demonstrating his gift for recognizing community needs. This gift inspired him to start his own insurance agency, which he successfully ran for many years. While enjoying a fulfilling career, Summers never missed an opportunity to give back to Drury and to Springfield. Alongside his wife Patsy, Summers has been involved in many programs to benefit the community, including establishing multiple scholarship funds for local students. He has served on the leadership of St. John’s United Church of Christ, the Springfield Little Theater, and the Drury Alumni Council.

Career Achievement Award – S. David Gohn ’64

After graduating from Drury’s Breech School of Business in 1964, Gohn entered a management-training program at Union National Bank in Springfield. Not long after, he accepted a position with the West Plains Bank and Trust Company. Fifty years later, Gohn remains at the West Plains Bank, where he now serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Gohn has always made time for Drury, serving as Trustee on the Drury University Board of Trustees from 1988 – 2009.

Outstanding Service Award – Raymond E. Hackett ’80

When Cyclone Nargis killed 180,000 farmers in Myanmar in 2008, Hackett was inspired to found “Not Next Year, Every Year,” an organization dedicated to improving the lives of Burma’s rural poor through sustainable energy. During annual visits to the country, Hacket has helped bring improved irrigation systems, solar energy, and clean water to Myanmar villages. His organization has even helped found a rural clinic.

Young Alumnus Award – Lauren Holtkamp ’03

After graduating from Drury in 2003, Holtkamp earned her Master’s of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, but she soon returned to the sport she loves. A member of the inaugural Drury women’s basketball team, Holtkamp holds a deep passion for the game. By working her way up through the organization, she has become the third woman ever to be hired as an NBA referee and is the only woman to currently hold the position.

Faculty/Staff Appreciation Award – Judy Grier Thompson ’61

Thompson’s service has been an integral part of Drury for over 43 years. A 1961 graduate, she returned to the university as Alumni Director in 1974. In 1979, she became one of the first women in a vice president role at Drury, a position which she held until her retirement in 2002. Under Judy’s leadership, over 40 percent of alumni financially supported the university and the endowment increased to more than $100 million. In 2016, she returned to Drury and currently serves as Vice President for Stewardship and Principal Gifts.

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