As your new president, it is my pleasure to engage with Drury family members, including staff and faculty, alumni, members of the board and students. In each encounter, I find a deep abiding love of the institution, a rich commitment to Drury and its future, as well as real opportunity at every turn. It is a privilege and an honor to serve as president at a place like this – to work and live amongst members of a tight-knit community.
As president, it is my job to look to the future, but I have also taken a keen interest in the history of Drury. Drury’s roots are deep and they tie inexorably to the history of America and Southwest Missouri. The same pioneering spirit that compelled Congregationalists to establish a college less than ten years after the Civil War – a time of great uncertainty and deprivation – also led to the establishment of our great nation less than 100 years before.
The 56 people who signed the Declaration of Independence were also living through times of struggle, deprivation and uncertainty. They had no idea that the ideals and vision they articulated and fought for would prove more significant than they imagined, and would come to encompass guarantees of rights and freedom for all people in our nation. It is compelling and inspirational to realize the accomplishment in a time of such struggle, fear and uncertainty. But it was, in fact, the struggle and uncertainty experienced by the founders of our country that inspired them to make so bold a declaration and to seek change; even in the face of dramatic uncertainty.
The founders stated that prudence prevails and change should not be undertaken for light or transient causes, and that we humans are more inclined to continue the things we are doing rather than to institute changes to what we are accustomed. But, the age in which we find ourselves – this current landscape of higher education – compels us to boldness.
Remember that our founders placed their faith in a God who bestowed upon us inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What inspires me about Drury today is that same faith. It is the same faith and hope that lead Congregationalists to found Drury in one building on one acre almost 150 years ago. Because of this, I have full confidence in Drury’s past and our future.
Freedom is at the heart of everything we do here at Drury. We are transforming lives and providing opportunity through education both inside and outside the classroom. Our passion is for enriching and empowering the lives of our students; they are the reason we do what we do. The young people who study here display a genuine desire to improve themselves and to give themselves greater liberty for the pursuit of happiness through. Engaging with these students as a member of the Drury community is part of teaching them to think and to learn capacities not just for a career, but also for an exemplary life. We teach them to think critically, analytically, empathetically, exponentially and enthusiastically. In doing so, we also teach them to help others find unbounded freedom.
We are dependent upon each other, our collective strengths and capacities, and upon our collective will to engage in the work that we must accomplish to set this institution on a path to its preferred future: A path of greater freedom, greater honor, greater generosity and more bountiful reward for those dedicating their lives and their resources to its mission, and we will do it with the same pioneering spirit as exhibited by our founders.
As for this issue of Drury Magazine, you will find a fascinating demonstration of Drury’s rich tradition of providing access to a valuable education for all who seek it. We have cultivated some of the most innovative and competitive programs available; we have acted as a leading force in academics for nearly 150 years, and we have educated some of the greatest pioneers in journalism, television, business and many other fields. This particular issue features three Drury alumnae who exhibit the pioneering spirit of this institution. These three women are certainly pioneers in their respective industries, and their successes are something to be celebrated. So, please, join us in celebrating these fantastic women, their successes and, of course, in celebrating the lively and active spirit of Drury University.
J. Timothy Cloyd