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Drury Lane News

Registrar Gale Boutwell Receives Honorary Degree

Gale Boutwell has worked at Drury University for more than four decades. Drury honored her with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the December 2012 commencement in the O’Reilly Family Event Center. The degree was a surprise to Boutwell, who has worked at Drury for 41 years; she has been the registrar since 1978.

Boutwell has overseen 86 commencement ceremonies, and during that time nearly 25,000 men and women have transitioned from students to Drury alumni. President Todd Parnell said of Boutwell, “She makes things happen that can’t, all with a smile and in the personal interests of students, whatever their ages, backgrounds or dreams. Gale believes most fundamentally in student dreams.” Parnell and Boutwell both graduated from Drury in 1969.

“Today is so special to me. I am so gratified. I know what goes into the conferring of these honorary degrees. Faculty, trustees, thank you,” Boutwell said.

President Todd Parnell presents Gale Boutwell with an Honorary Doctorate

President Todd Parnell presents Gale Boutwell with an Honorary Doctorate

Winter Commencement

Drury conferred degrees to 410 students during its Winter Commencement. In December, 356 students received undergraduate degrees and 54 earned master’s degrees.

Jim Anderson, the president of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, was the graduation speaker. Anderson received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Drury in 2002, and his daughter Rebecca was one of the graduates.

“You have two choices in life: You can dissolve into the mainstream or you can be distinct. To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must be and strive to be what no one else but you can be,” Anderson told the graduates. “Graduation may be the end of time for you at Drury University, but you’re about to begin a new chapter. Graduation is a new beginning. The more you work to improve the lives of others, the more you will enjoy life.”

Drury’s president-elect Dr. David Manuel and his wife, Betty Coe, attended the commencement ceremony.

Drury Athletic Fund Unveiled

Drury University announced on February 1, the formation of the Drury Athletic Fund and several key initial contributions to kick off the source that will help establish the financial foundation for the university’s 17 intercollegiate athletic programs.

Among the initial gifts is a $1 million donation from Larry O’Reilly, a 1968 Drury graduate and Chief Operating Officer for O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. O’Reilly and his family were integral in providing the lead naming gift for the O’Reilly Family Event Center, the $13.5 million, 3,100-seat arena that opened in the fall of 2010 and serves as home for the Drury basketball and volleyball programs.

The Drury Athletic Fund will be designed to encourage financial gifts that can help sustain and fund its sports programs for years and years, beyond the reach of the assorted booster clubs per team.

Drury also announced that long-time Panthers’ baseball coach Mark Stratton has accepted a position as the Associate Athletic Director for Development, with raising money and developing relationships on behalf of the athletic department as his primary tasks.

A Love for His Country and a Drury Education

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Brad Ray moved to Springfield at age 18 just after graduating from high school. He worked a few jobs but lacked focus. However, after the attacks on the United States on 9/11, Ray became inspired to help his country and, at age 22, he enlisted in the Air Force. “I said, ‘To heck with it’ and signed up for a six-year enlistment.”

After completing basic training, Ray became a crew chief for a team of technicians that maintained the U-2 Dragon Lady, a reconnaissance aircraft that flies at the edge of space. During his first assignment, Ray began taking classes at a community college and eventually earned a bachelor’s degree. He continued his education even as he was stationed in the United Arab Emirates and South Korea, earning a Master of Business Administration online.

After his six-year stint, Ray wasn’t done with the Air Force or education. He’s an active reservist, and he’s earning an accounting degree from Drury on the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. “I thought I could take enough classes just to sit for the CPA exam. I called accounting professor Penny Clayton and she took a great interest in what I wanted to do. After talking to Dr. Clayton, I decided to get my accounting degree,” Ray said.

“From the first time I spoke with Brad, I knew he was serious about a career in accounting and would be dedicated to getting the most from his educational experience,” Dr. Clayton said. He’ll graduate in the spring of 2014, when he plans to begin “climbing the corporate ladder.” Eventually, Ray says he might run for political office. For now, Ray is enjoying life as a 32-year-old college student. “I have an opportunity most people would kill for: reliving your youth. I’m at this beautiful university and I appreciate it much more than I would have ten years ago. I’ve been lucky.”

Brad Ray in front of the A-10 Warthog aircraft.

Brad Ray in front of the A-10 Warthog aircraft.

Students Volunteer in South Africa

Psychology professors Dr. Jennifer Silva Brown and Dr. Rachael Herrington led a group of students on a trip to South Africa in December 2012. The trip’s first stop was Cape Town, a city filled with diversity, beauty and comfort. For five days, students explored the city, foods, sights and culture.

After spending time in Cape Town, the group spent a day volunteering at an orphanage in Melkhoutfontein, a fishing and farming community with about 2,000 residents. “The amazing thing about the orphanage is that the woman and son who run it do it solely on their own income,” said Herrington. “They are always in need of help with school supplies and medicine. It’s inspiring that they do so much.”

Drury students and professors with children from the Dream Catcher Foundation’s after school program.

Drury students and professors with children from the Dream Catcher Foundation’s after school program.

The next week, Drury students worked with the Dream Catcher Kids, an after-school group created to give children a positive place to go after they finish school for the day in Melkhoutfontein. “The kids were bright, energetic and loved getting to talk and do activities with us,” said Rebecca Vogt, a senior studying psychology and sociology. “It was great to see that we brought something positive to their lives, especially since many of them came from difficult home situations.”

Silva Brown and Herrington both agreed that the trip was a success. Each Drury student had the opportunity to authentically experience the local culture within his or her volunteer roles. Some students worked with after-school kids, others worked in a nursery, delivered medicine, or worked in a pharmacy. “Lessons will be there for years to come. We witnessed just how much we take for granted,” said Silva Brown. The biggest takeaway for Vogt was the realization that everyone comes from a different background, “It’s important to accept and understand differences,” she said. “I feel like I am more culturally aware and a global citizen because of this trip.”

By: Amber Perdue ‘13


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