Drury University awards degrees to more than 540 graduates at two commencements

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 12, 2018 —Drury University awarded degrees to 542 graduates at its spring commencement ceremonies on Friday and Saturday. There were 330 degrees conferred during the ceremony for the College of Continuing Professional Studies and the College of Graduate Studies on Friday evening, and 212 degrees conferred during the traditional residential college undergraduate ceremony on Saturday.

Dr. Jeffrey Bradley addressed the graduates at today’s ceremony. Bradley is a 1989 Drury graduate who is among the world’s leading experts in proton therapy cancer treatments, an approach that is more effective and has fewer side effects than traditional radiation treatments. He has served on the Washington University faculty for 20 years, where he holds an endowed chair and is the clinical director of the Kling Proton Therapy Center.

Drury University graduates from the Class of 2018Bradley urged the graduates to seek out and pursue their passions in the course of their careers, citing Mark Twain’s insight that the two most important days of one’s life are “the day you are born and the day you find out why.” He told them to lean on their Drury education, which has taught them to see the interconnectedness of a complex world. Bradley also told them to remain close to those who have shared this experience with them.

“Embrace your Drury friends, stay a part of their lives,” he said. “You can’t find better people than you’ll find here.”

An honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree was awarded to Bradley during the ceremony.

Jim Spangler addressed the graduates during Friday’s ceremony. Spangler, a 1961 Drury graduate, is the CEO and President of Helping Hand Home Health Company based in Grand Blanc, Michigan. He told graduates that their futures would be a balancing act between “fear, failure and success.” Spangler cited failures in his own life for propelling him forward to eventual success. One of those failures-turned-successes came about through the mentorship of Drury professors, who steered him from his chosen major in the sciences toward business. Spangler was among the first class of graduates from the Breech School of Business.

Another failure came at an unexpected point in his career. After he built his first home healthcare company into one of the most successful such organizations in the country, a business partner who was “more interested in grabbing assets than growing the company” tore down what Spangler had built. Grief and depression had a grip on his life, he said. But Spangler started over and grew his current company to a similar level of success through perseverance and hard work – and by applying lessons he had learned from previous failures.

No matter where the failures and successes of their lives and careers lead, Spangler told the graduates to think of others when they act.

“Sow the seeds of kindness,” he said.

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