Drury University awards degrees to 231 graduates at winter commencement
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 15, 2018 — Drury University awarded degrees to 231 graduates at today’s winter commencement. There were 216 undergraduate degrees conferred by both the traditional Day School and the College of Continuing Professional Studies; 15 graduate degrees were conferred by the Graduate College.
The Rev. Chris Dorsey addressed the new graduates. Dorsey serves as president of Higher Education & Leadership Ministries for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Drury’s relationship with the Disciples of Christ began a century ago with the establishment of the Drury School of Religion in 1909.
Although he is a theologian and administrator, Dorsey framed his remarks by talking about algorithms: “In our advanced technological age, algorithms play a crucial role in our everyday lives. They allow us to solve problems, make predictions, and even begin to influence behavioral outcomes.” It’s this latter category that we must be careful about, he said: “We think we are making choices but if we’re not careful, we’re really just following through with what an algorithm has recommended.”
Fortunately, he said, today’s graduates are the beneficiaries of something far more powerful than any algorithm or software program: a liberal arts education. Earning a degree from Drury is about “instilling in you the values and virtues that will enable you to make choices throughout your life that will allow you to go far and wide and make a difference in the world.”
Honorary Degree presented to Michael Thomas
Former dean of international studies and director of admission Michael G. Thomas was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. In introducing Thomas, Board of Trustees chairwoman Rita Baron said he “may possibly be the Drury ambassador and liaison that has touched more lives and contributed more to the Drury community of relationships than any other individual in his own lifetime.”
As the director of admission for 17 years, Thomas and his team guided more than 10,000 new students toward their own personal Drury experience. After he was appointed Drury’s first dean of international studies in 2002, Thomas launched opportunities for foreign study that added a new dimension to the student experience. Under his leadership, a Drury campus was established in Greece and many partnerships and student exchange programs were formalized within other countries. Thomas retired in 2015.
“Undoubtedly, Michael is recognized as one of the most iconic individuals to have walked Drury Lane,” Baron said. “He has taken Drury to the world.”