BY COREY RITTER ’15, UNIVERSITY WRITER/EDITOR
In her near-150 years, Drury’s 18 presidents have each brought with them a definitive and unique “new” generation to the university. Though each new generation was largely inspired by the administration, external factors such as war and the Civil Rights Movement also played key roles in defining our curriculum, our mission and our moral compass. While these 18 generations were differentiated in challenging ways at times, one common thread unified them in creating and maintaining the Drury we know and love today: Drury’s long-standing and heavily-tested values, deeply-rooted in the liberal arts tradition. In these pages, we discuss each defining generation, its influence and impact. Generation 0: The Formative Years (1865-1873) In March of 1872, Congregationalist H. B. Fry, in the company of James Haswell Harwood and his older brother, Judge Charles E. Harwood, with members of the Springfield Association of Congregational Churches, offered a resolution, proposing the establishment of a proper college “within the limit of the Association at its next meeting” (The Drury Story). Judge Harwood spoke in favor of the resolution and pledged $5,000 to the project, provided it was located in Springfield (pledging only $2,500 should it be located elsewhere in Southwest Missouri) –as long as a total of $100,000 could be raised to fund the project. With the help of Nathan J. Morrison and Samuel Fletcher Drury, the group had garnered $99,022 for the founding of the college in Springfield. After a minor delay due to an unspecified faculty “fault” in July 1873, the Board of Trustees passed the charter and founded Springfield College (soon renamed Drury College) on August 5, 1873, centered between North Springfield (now known as Commercial Street), and Springfield (now downtown Springfield). Nathan J. Morrison was named and installed as Drury’s first president shortly thereafter.
Generation 1: Birth of a College
Dr. Nathan J. Morrison (1873-1888)
On September 25, 1873, Drury College officially opened as Dr. Morrison appeared in a second-floor window of the new college building, announcing the college was open for the first day of classes. It was a successful start for the college; 39 students, including seven Native Americans, were enrolled on opening day, and despite the college opening with a faculty of only three (the president and two professors), the word and reputation of the college spread quickly and faculty numbers grew to nine by 1875.
Despite his many successes in establishing the college, Dr. Morrison’s ambitious spending caused irreparable animosity among faculty and trustees. The cost of both the music conservatory, a community program with no ties to any of Drury’s academic programs, and erecting large buildings hurled the college into an interest-bearing debt. In 1885, Dr. Morrison reported Drury carried a debt of $36,000, more than twice the college’s annual operating budget. The division between Dr. Morrison and the board eventually led to the president’s resignation after serving for 15 years.
Generation 2: Financial Revolution
Dr. Francis T. Ingalls (1888-1892)
Dr. Francis T. Ingalls’ tenure was a prosperous time for Drury. Thanks partly to contributions made by trustees, funds were raised to eradicate Drury’s debt of $36,000. For the first time, Drury was debt-free and prosperous. After alleviating the financial strain caused by Morrison’s overspending, Dr. Ingalls had ambitious plans for the campus including constructing a new Ladies Hall, as well as raising $15,000 for an emergency fund. Unfortunately, Dr. Ingalls’ time as president ended abruptly when he fell ill and died in August of 1892. Despite his death, his efforts provided the much-needed financial health Drury needed for years to come.
Generation 3: Continuing the Legacy
Dr. Homer T. Fuller (1893-1905)
Dr. Homer T. Fuller’s 12 years of leadership was a banner decade for Drury, piggybacking on the successes of Ingalls’ short tenure. Inheriting a debt-free institution, Fuller focused his attention on further enhancing the college’s financial, academic and physical well-being. Among his many notable achievements, Dr. Fuller’s successful completion of a $45,000 endowment campaign, which raised the value of the endowment to more than a quarter of a million dollars, is probably the most notable accomplishment. During Fuller’s tenure, Drury also saw the construction of new key buildings, including Pearsons Hall and the President’s House. In 1904, Dr. Fuller disclosed his plan to retire. Because of the immense success the college had seen during his tenure, Dr. Fuller’s retirement was met with protest from faculty, students and the Board of Trustees, which resulted in his agreement to remain president until 1905.
Generation 4: Academic Rigor Takes Hold Dr. J. Edward Kirbye (1905-1907)
Dr. J. Edward Kirbye, a longtime Drury professor, only served as president for two years, but several notable academic developments occurred during his short administration. Inheriting a financially robust institution, Dr. Kirbye turned his focus to improving and developing a new and rigorous academic program to better compete with Drury’s first competitor in Springfield, the new Fourth District Normal School (now Missouri State University), a public state school. Aside from his activities as president, Dr. Kirbye also demonstrated his own skills as a teacher of biblical literature. He resigned from the presidency in 1907, but he remained a professor of biblical literature for several years.
Generation 5: Growth in the Face of Financial Strain Dr. Joseph Henry George (1907-1913)
Dr. Joseph Henry George, a Canadian religious education scholar, inherited the first financial deficit the college had seen since 1888, caused by Kirbye’s focus on academics. Nevertheless, Dr. George completed a $250,000 endowment campaign and nearly eradicated the small deficit that Kirbye had incurred on the college’s finances. Dr. George also added a new gymnasium (now Springfield Hall), Burnham Hall, a central heating and electric sub-plant and the first student union. Fatigued from battling financial strains caused by a struggling U.S. economy, Dr. George resigned from the presidency in 1913, but retained his professorship of religious education for five more years.
Generation 6: Success and Failure
Dr. J. J. McMurtry (1913-1916)
Dr. J. J. McMurtry, professor of Greek and a valued member of the faculty, was named president in 1913. Dr. McMurtry believed that the student body should have a governing voice in institutional affairs and, with his signature, Drury’s Student Council officially became a representative student senate in 1914. By 1915, college accreditation had become a national prestige requirement. McMurtry was eager to attain a national accreditation and led the charge in granting Drury its first accreditation by the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges. Dr. McMurtry’s tenure was also plagued with financial hardship. Low enrollment and dwindling revenues led McMurtry to close Drury’s affiliated preparatory school, the Academy. The decision was inevitable, as funding the school as a separate institution from the college had been a financial strain for many years prior to its closing. Further undercutting Dr. McMurtry’s tenure was an untimely and unsuccessful start to a $500,000 endowment campaign. This led to Dr. McMurtry’s resignation in 1916, after less than three years as president.
Generation 7: The Great War and a Greater Depression Thomas Nadal (1917-1939)
Thomas Nadal’s presidency was difficult from the beginning and Drury was in a near-constant state of flux. A stroke of political bad luck, Nadal was hired just one week before the United States entered World War I. The war took its toll on the college’s enrollment, as enlistment in the U.S. military left a mere nine men in the 1918-19 senior class. Making matters worse, Nadal inherited a growing financial deficit, spurred by his predecessor’s failed ambitions. After the war ended, Drury’s enrollment skyrocketed, leading to tightened admission requirements and higher standards. By 1924, Nadal’s efforts paid off as the endowment surpassed a value of $1 million, and Drury was again debtfree. His perseverance led to the construction of three buildings, including Harwood Library, Clara Thompson Music Hall and Wallace Hall. This rapid growth and expansion eventually led to financial trouble. In 1929, the Great Depression spread across the nation and by 1932, the college’s deficit was more than $60,000. By the time the financial crisis began to turn, neglected upkeep and repair had left a majority of Drury’s buildings in a state of disrepair. Two successful fundraising campaigns paid for repairs to a number of buildings, but the college’s financial troubles had become a complaint about Drury’s leadership. The Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a resolution that Nadal retire in 1939.
Generation 8: The Spoils of War
James F. Findlay (1940-1963)
James F. Findlay was hired in 1940, just a little more than one year before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Unlike World War I, enrollment increased during World War II, as the number of incoming freshmen was far greater than the number lost to the war effort. An aggressive recruitment policy and the newly implemented Drury Plan – a curriculum that allowed students to craft their own courses of study with help from advisors – played a major role in the boosted enrollment. Between the end of the war and the 1949-50 school year, enrollment grew exponentially from 489 to 901 students. With Drury’s continued growth during the late 1940s, Findlay began looking for ways to enroll World War II and Korean War veterans, working men and mothers, who were unable to enroll in Drury’s existing programs. In 1947, Drury initiated an evening college program that enrolled more than 400 students its first year. Drury remained prosperous throughout the duration of Findlay’s presidency. When he retired in 1963, Drury was flourishing and experiencing continued growth in enrollment in both the traditional college and evening programs.
Generation 9: An Institution of Exceptional Quality Dr. Earnest Brandenburg (1964-1967)
During Dr. Earnest Brandenburg’s ambitious presidency, Drury saw a continuum of the fantastic changes started by his predecessor. To exemplify Drury’s academic rigor and quality of education, Dr. Brandenburg drastically tightened admission requirements for the college, while simultaneously raising tuition. His goal was, of course, to bring more money to the institution and to fund his proposed faculty expansion and salary raises. Additionally, his tightened admission requirements and hike in tuition was an effort to establish Drury as an elite, highly-prestigious institution. Drury was flourishing and further developing her national reputation as an exceptional, elite institution. Unfortunately, Brandenburg’s success was cut short, and he would not see many of his endeavors become reality. In 1967, just three short years into his presidency, he died of cancer. Thanks to his work, the academic and campus improvements allowed Drury to continue to experience growth in enrollment, strong academics and revenue.
Generation 10: Wavering Leadership Dr. Alfred O. Canon (1968-1970)
Drury saw an entirely different, more cautious form of leadership with Dr. Alfred O. Canon’s short presidency. Following a growing trend in colleges across the country, Dr. Canon established three governance cabinets composed of faculty, administration and students to advise him in all aspects of Drury’s operation. Under Dr. Canon, the new curriculum begun by Dr. Brandenburg was implemented. He also expanded international studies and implemented study abroad opportunities. Dr. Canon’s presidency was marred by faculty tensions “as the result of high turnover and increasing competition between faculty and cabinet members.” Due to his overly cautious leadership, faculty tensions and wavering academics, Drury experienced a sharp decline in enrollment, as well as a return to a growing, unmanaged annual deficit. Dr. Canon was terminated in 1970 after less than two years in office.
Generation 11: Calm and Unity Dr. William Edward Everheart (1971-1976)
Drury was a broken institution when Dr. William Everheart took the reins of the college in 1971. Unrest and stark divisions had caused animosity among faculty, staff and student leadership, and there was a sense of distrust for Drury’s administration following Dr. Canon’s presidency. Dr. Everheart attempted to restore a sense of calm and unity to Drury. Reverting to Drury’s Christian framework, Dr. Everheart hoped a sense of religious community would mend the wounds and establish renewed friendship, leadership and trust across campus. He also worked diligently toward alleviating the financial struggles that had reemerged. By the end of his first year in office, Drury’s budget was balanced and the deficit was eliminated yet again. Everheart’s advances in unifying a distraught Drury came to an untimely end when he was killed in a car/train accident in 1976, having served Drury for only five years. Thanks to Dr. Everheart’s efforts in calming tensions and unifying the college, Drury was on the mend. Faculty were making strides to eliminate old feuds and students, faculty and staff were reestablishing their trust in the administration.
Generation 12: Trials and Triumphs Dr. John M. Bartholomy (1977-1980)
The sense of calm and unity was relatively short-lived after the death of Dr. Everheart. In 1978, during Dr. John Bartholomy’s presidency, Drury saw the return of financial strain, which ultimately led to a reduction in faculty and staff. The reduction in faculty and staff was cause for the return of some bitter feuds and a distrust in leadership. However, Drury also experienced growth during Dr. Bartholomy’s three-year presidency. In 1978, Dr. Bartholomy’s new, aggressive enrollment strategy led to one of the largest freshman classes in Drury’s history. The physical plant, Pearsons Hall and Stone Chapel were all expanded or renovated, and the Performing Arts Complex project was completed, including the renovation of Clara Thompson Hall and the construction of the O’Bannon Music and Lydy Art centers. Further, academic departments were reorganized under Dr. Bartholomy. He combined departments to create cohesive and definitive new departments such as Behavioral Science and Fine Arts. Additionally, three new major programs of study were introduced to the academic catalog, including accounting, architecture and criminology, before Dr. Bartholomy resigned the presidency in 1980.
Generation 13: Ugly Battlegrounds Norman C. Crawford, Jr. (1981-1983)
When Norman C. Crawford, Jr. was elected to serve as Drury’s 13th president, the campus atmosphere turned rocky, unstable and volatile. From the start, Mr. Crawford attempted to make drastic policy and academic changes without the support of the faculty, leading to a rather brief tenure as president. Among his few accomplishments, Stone Chapel became a nationally registered historical site, as well as a reduction in the college’s debt. However, the near-constant conflict between Mr. Crawford and the college’s faculty grew to unmanageable proportions. In 1983, the Board of Trustees asked Mr. Crawford to resign after less than two years in office.
Generation 14: Leaps and Bounds Dr. John E. Moore, Jr. (1983-2004)
When Dr. John E. Moore Jr. was hired in 1983, Drury lacked a definitive direction or vision and held a crippling cumulative deficit of $920,259. With promises to ease tensions, eliminate the debt and provide sound leadership, Dr. Moore was thought to have aimed “too high,” but the college remained optimistic. Within three years, Dr. Moore had eliminated the deficit, eventually building a surplus that had grown to more than $1.4 million by 1998. Also during Dr. Moore’s tenure, Drury’s endowment value grew to nearly $100 million. Dr. Moore oversaw admirable growth in enrollment and academic programs, and implemented Global Perspectives for the 21st Century (GP21) – the largest major overhaul of the curriculum in Drury’s history. The GP21 program was an innovative, critically acclaimed program which prepared students to benefit from and contribute to life in a global community. Drury saw success under the care and leadership of Dr. Moore’s administration. Dr. Moore retired from office in 2004 after nearly 21 years of service.
Generation 15: Moving Forward Dr. John Sellars (2005-2007)
During Dr. John Sellars’ tenure, Drury saw a record number of 500 new students in the fall of 2006, and ended the 2005-2006 fiscal year with $13.9 million in donations. The process of accreditation for the Breech School of Business from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) continued during Sellars’ term. This accreditation was earned in 2010; an honor only 5% of the world’s business programs hold. Substantial fiscal challenges and resulting campus anxiety also characterized his years at Drury. In 2007, Dr. Sellers accepted a new presidency at Graceland University.
Generation 16: Students Come First Todd Parnell ’69 (2007-2013)
Hoping to alleviate the stresses of financial and enrollment deficits, Drury looked to Todd Parnell, a 1969 Drury graduate and accomplished banker, after John Sellars’ resignation. Within the first two years of his direction and leadership, the deficit was dwindling and enrollment had begun to grow again. Mr. Parnell turned his leadership focus toward a “students first” mentality. He fostered close working relationships between the administration and the student body. Parnell was the first president to actively participate in freshman move-in and orientation service activities, and he was instrumental in developing an award-winning orientation program still enjoyed by students today. Mr. Parnell’s focus on students first provided Drury with a renewed sense of community and fostered a mutual trust between the administration and the student body. He retired in 2013 after nearly six years in office.
Generation 17: An Era of Beautification Dr. David Manuel (2013-2016)
When Dr. David Manuel took office in June 2013, he inherited a bland campus and a dilapidated and vacant president’s house. As master gardeners, he and Drury’s then First Lady, Betty Coe Manuel, developed plans for the beautification and revitalization of barren areas. Gardens, greenspaces and the president’s house received extensive renovations and revitalizations, providing beautiful and functional spaces that had previously been lackluster. Academically, Dr. Manuel experimented with department consolidation and restructuring, though it was met with resistance from faculty and students. He retired in May 2016 after nearly three years in office.
Generation 18: Full-Steam Ahead Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd (2016- )
Drury’s newest generation is full of excitement and change. Immediately after taking office in June 2016, Dr. Timothy Cloyd began looking for ways to modernize Drury academically and physically, eliminate the university’s debt, raise the endowment and counter the decline in enrollment. Looking for a solution, he launched four major initiatives: Strategic Positioning Platform, Comprehensive Campaign, Master Plan, and Evening and Online Programs. Already under Dr. Cloyd’s leadership, Drury has experienced an increase in enrollment and an easing of financial difficulties. Additionally, the new Campus Master Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees and unveiled in 2017, providing a clear direction for the future of the university. Other early accomplishments include the addition of the Presidents’ Garden, completion of the Strategic Positioning Platform and the development of the new curriculum, which will be launched in fall 2019. Drury is well on her way to a great future in the 21st century under Dr. Cloyd’s active presidency.
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