Here for our students, now and alway.
Welcome to a special edition of Drury Magazine, which takes a look at a unique moment in our institution’s long history. I often speak of the many changes and events Drury has weathered in its nearly 150-year history – two world wars, the Great Depression, the internet age and countless cultural shifts. The university also lived through the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. But the speed and breadth with which the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe was like nothing any of us have seen in our lifetimes. This virus has forced us to face what at times feels like a gaping chasm of uncertainty.
Yet, the situation has also revealed the best in us: From the tireless courage of front-line health care workers to the sacrifices nearly everyone has made to help slow the spread of the virus. This issue of Drury Magazine tells our part of that story: innovative faculty members, resilient students and above all, a sense of togetherness that reaches beyond social distancing. The virtual celebrations for our graduates this month were a wonderful illustration of that.
Our task now as an institution is to look to the future. For weeks, our faculty and staff have worked and continue to develop plans to resume in-person classes this fall. Doing so will require us to think creatively, from teaching to housing to events and more. The health and well-being of our campus community is, and will always be, our top priority as we move forward.
Drury is uniquely positioned to rise this challenge. Small seminar-style classes and a spacious physical campus will allow us to more easily spread out. Our strong partnerships with CoxHealth and Burrell Behavioral Health, as well as our own dedicated Student Affairs staff, can provide the physical and mental health resources our community will need. I firmly believe social distancing will lead to an even greater appreciation of the close-knit community we have at Drury. Ultimately, it will be those unshakable bonds that will see us through.
You can help. You can share the stories you’ll find in these pages, and you can help spread the word Drury will be ready for teaching and learning on campus this fall. You can support students in need through the Annual Drury Experience Fund and the COVID-19 Student Support Fund. You can reach out to a current student, faculty or staff mentor to offer a word of encouragement and thanks. Small gestures go farther than ever right now.
I hope you will be as proud of your university as I am after reading this issue. And I know you’ll join me in rallying around our campus community as we celebrate this year’s graduating seniors and as we move forward into the fall. The class of 2020 will share a Drury memory like no other. A line from our beloved Alma Mater rings true: Here’s to “Drury Alway.”
All my best to you.
J. Timothy Cloyd