Drury’s Board of Trustees welcomes five new members, recognizes three outgoing members

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 25, 2018 — Five new members have joined Drury University’s Board of Trustees, bringing an array of expertise in international business, medicine, and finance to the governing body. The new trustees begin their duties this month.

The Board of Trustees also has a new chair-elect: Rita Baron, who is a local businesswoman, civic leader and principal of Springfield architecture firm Baron Design & Associates. She will become the first woman to lead the Drury Board of Trustees. Baron will succeed outgoing chair Lyle Reed at the next full board meeting in October. Baron is a 1999 Drury graduate and has been a Trustee since 2007.

“Drury is entering a new era of distinction and innovation thanks to the recent work of our faculty, staff and administration, as well the collaborative leadership of our Board of Trustees,” Baron said. “I am excited about what lies ahead for the institution we all love, and I’m honored to work alongside my fellow Trustees and President Cloyd as we move forward together.”

The new Trustees include:

Rick Ayre, ’71, of Seattle, Washington – Former vice president and executive editor at Amazon. After earning a degree in sociology and working in epidemiology, Ayre’s love for technology and writing led him to an editorial position with PC Magazine, where he eventually became executive editor. He went to Amazon in 1996, where he was responsible for all editorial content and helped build the inviting front-end customer experience the site is known for today.

Kimberly S. Hamm, ’86, of Springfield – Audit partner in the Springfield office of BKD, LLP. During her time in public accounting, she has devoted time to recruiting at college campuses, including students at Drury University. She has served on the Business Advisory Board for Drury SIFE/Enactus and currently serves on the Downtown Springfield Association Board. In 2014, she received the Drury University Distinguished Alumni Award for Career Achievement.

Mark J. McDonald, M.D., ’91, of Louisville, Kentucky – Medical director of Norton Children’s Hospital. After earning a medical degree from Saint Louis University in 1995, McDonald completed a pediatric residency and pediatric critical care fellowship at the University of Louisville, acupuncture training at Harvard University, and physician executive training through the American Association for Physician Leadership. He returned to Louisville in 2010 after practicing pediatric critical care for nine years in South Carolina.

Emily Pitts, of St. Louis Principal, diversity and inclusion at Edward Jones.Pitts began her career with Edward Jones in 1995 as a financial advisor in Atlanta. Today she heads the firm’s comprehensive inclusion initiative. She was instrumental in creating the firm’s first cross-cultural development program, and she also developed the firm’s Women’s Leadership Forum, Minority Leadership Forum and Home-office Inclusion Mentoring Program. Pitts graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and earned an executive MBA from Washington University. 

Gorm Tuxen, of Branson – President and founder of Tuxen & Associates, Inc. an international business development company in the security, parking and transportation industries. Tuxen has developed and launched numerous products and technologies related to parking and transportation systems in use worldwide. Hailing from Denmark, he attended The Danish School of International Marketing & Export. Tuxen previously served on the Breech School of Business Advisory Board for 10 years.

More complete biographies of the new Trustees are available online.

Three Trustees honored for decades of combined service

In addition, three longtime Trustees concluded their service this year and have been recognized by their peers for their contributions to Drury and the Board of Trustees.

Former Commerce Bank chairman Ken Carter, ’64, and retired Springfield dermatologist Dr. Tom Lynch, ’65, were granted Emeritus Trustee status. Both served as Trustees for 32 years. Retired insurance executive Tom Kellogg, ’58, was granted Lifetime Trustee status after 28 years of service.

“The dedication of these three individuals can’t be measured merely in years,” Reed said. “Their passion for their alma mater runs deep. I am grateful for what they have done for Drury, and for Drury students and alumni. They are all exemplary servant leaders.”


Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Executive Director of University Relations - (417) 873-7390 or

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