|Next, Tom takes us on his promised tour of Springfield's Universities.
First we visit Drury University.
Drury began in 1873. It was organized by Congregational home missionaries who felt the need for an
academically strong liberal arts college in the area. Patterned after the Congregationalist liberal-arts colleges
of the North, such as Oberlin, Carleton, Dartmouth, Yale and Harvard, the college would offer an environment
of strong academic discourse and intellectual achievement. After much debate, Springfield was chosen over
Neosho, Mo., as the college’s location. Four men then joined to organize and endow what they named
Springfield College: James Harwood and Charles Harwood of Springfield, The Rev. Nathan Morrison of Olivet,
Mich., and Samuel Drury of Otsego, Mich. Drury’s gift of $25,000 was the largest, and the college was renamed
for his recently deceased son. Morrison was chosen as the first president; he rang the bell to begin classes on
Sept. 25, 1873.
The early curriculum emphasized educational, religious and musical strengths. Students came to the new college
from a wide area, including the Indian Territories of Oklahoma. The first graduating class consisted of four
Drury started small, in a single building. When classes began in 1873, the campus occupied less than 1½ acres.
Twenty-five years later the 40-acre campus included Stone Chapel, the President’s House and three academic
buildings. Today, there is an 90-acre campus, including the original site, but with facilities not envisioned by the
Drury College became Drury University on Jan. 1, 2000, reflecting its growing role in higher education. In
addition to the academic programs of the early years, Drury students today study in the Breech School of
Business Administration, the Hammons School of Architecture, and the departments of education, mathematics
and sciences, social sciences, exercise and sport science, to name a few. The list of majors and minors Drury
offers has grown too and now includes high tech ones such as computer science, computer information systems
Drury was one of the first universities in the state to offer continuing education and evening classes to meet the
needs of non-traditional students. Today the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies serves nearly three
thousand students, in Springfield and at nine satellite campuses.
Unchanged is the commitment to providing a quality academic experience; preparing students for working and
living in today's world; learning the value of service to their communities, and experiencing diversity.
Bay Hall, erected in 1959 as Walker Library, houses Admission, Registrar, College of Graduate & Continuing Studies, and
Financial Aid. The building was renamed in 1994 in memory of C. Arch Bay.
Traditional values lead to years of student success
Drury is a small, liberal arts university that has held to its core values since its establishment in 1873. These core
values - the affirmation of the worth of all peoples and cultures, the creation of an environment that supports spiritual,
physical, and intellectual development, and the preparation of students for unprecedented global change - help
students become successful, productive, and responsible citizens in a rapidly changing global society. These values find
their origins in Drury's unique church affiliation, and they are responsible for an academic and spiritual environment
that provides students with unique opportunities and advantages.
Drury’s tradition encourages students to explore ethics and spirituality in a non-judgmental, tolerant atmosphere that
cherishes diversity. This atmosphere is described quite well in early 20th century college literature:
"Nothing is more important than that...individuals work out for...themselves [sic]...a satisfactory philosophy of life...
while avoiding the offenses of sectarianism, the church-related college is able to give its students definite help in
arriving at adequate standards of value in relation to religion and the spiritual life."
The need for a satisfactory philosophy of life has not been diminished in the complex global community that
characterizes the twenty-first century.
Drury has, for over 125 years, maintained a commitment to small classes and personal interactions among students,
staff, faculty, and administration that will serve today’s students quite well. Early 1900's college literature emphasized
small size as a means to"...maintain an intimate personal relationship between... student(s) and...teachers, as well as
among the students themselves. This affords a distinct advantage...(for) youth...seeking to find (their) proper place in
life and to develop the latent resources of... character and personality."
Over sixty years later, in an America quite different from what it was during the Great Depression when those words
were written, those advantages are still vital, desirable, and available at Drury.
|An early Picture of Drury College