65th Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards
Drury University honored six individuals at the 66th annual Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony in October 2017 as part of the annual alumni reunion celebration. The Distinguished Alumni Awards were founded in 1951 to recognize individuals who have achieved professional and personal successes, shown their loyalty to Drury University and demonstrated exemplary service to their community. The 2017 honorees include:
Distinguished Alumnus - Lifetime Achievement Award
Warren B. Davis ’59
Warren has a passion for education and hard work. He earned a bachelor’s in business from Drury in 1959 and completed an MBA in 1966. Confident he would be an asset to his father’s Bolivar-based business, Warren returned to his hometown after graduation to work at Orval Davis Tire Company. With relentless determination, Warren advanced through the ranks to eventually become president of the growing company. After 31 years, an opportunity arose for Warren to retire and sell the business. True to his hard-working roots, Warren couldn’t take it easy for long. Recognizing his love for real estate, he established Davis Properties in 1994, and an entrepreneur was born. With the purchase of the Woodruff and McDaniel buildings, along with the acquisition of the Heer’s and Park Central Office buildings, Davis Properties is today one of the largest property owners in downtown Springfield. With diligence and integrity, Warren has achieved lifetime success.
Distinguished Alumnus - University Engagement
Gail “Gene” Summers ’63
Gene’s wide-ranging interests and service to others personify the Drury experience. After graduating from the Breech School of Business in 1963, Gene entered the insurance industry. Recognizing an opportunity and a community need, Gene soon developed his own insurance agency. Over time, it became so successful that Great Southern Bank purchased the agency and asked him to run it, which he did for more than 25 years. While enjoying a fulfilling career, Gene always made time to give back to Drury and Spring eld. He served as president of the St. John’s United Church of Christ board and on the Spring eld Little Theater board. Working with Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Gene and his wife, Patsy, established a scholarship for Parkview High School seniors and endowed the Summers Family Fund. Gene has served on Drury’s Alumni Council and has been a men’s and women’s basketball booster for decades. Gene and Patsy are longtime members of Drury’s Harwood Society, and established the Drury University Endowed Scholarship for the Passport Program.
Distinguished Alumnus - Career Achievement
S. David Gohn ’64
David has been a leader in community banking in southwest Missouri for 52 years. After graduating from Drury’s Breech School of Business in 1964 with an economics degree, David began a management-training program at Union National Bank in Springfield. Two years later, he accepted a position with the West Plains Bank and Trust Company, a move that would set the course of his career. David quickly rose through the ranks at West Plains Bank, taking on new challenges and managerial opportunities as his career progressed. Fifty years later, David remains at the West Plains Bank, where he now serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Though his career has been demanding, he has always made time for Drury. From 1988-2009, David served as a trustee on the Drury University Board of Trustees. He also was a previous Chairman of the Board.
Distinguished Appreciation - Faculty/Staff
Judy Grier Thompson ’61
For 43 years, Judy has been an integral part of Drury fundraising. After graduating from Drury in 1961, Judy taught French at Parkview High School. She remained connected to Drury during her years away, and those connections eventually led to a job offer in 1974, when she was asked to serve as Alumni Director. Judy’s skill and passion quickly led to a promotion. In 1979, she was among the first women to be named a vice president at Drury, where she remained until her first retirement in 2002. As vice president of development, Judy led the fundraising efforts for Shewmaker Communication Center, Hammons School of Architecture, Freeman Panhellenic Building, Olin Library, Hutchens-HPER, new fraternity housing, and the Trustee Science Center. Under Judy’s leadership, over 40% of alumni financially supported the university, and the endowment increased to more than $100 million. In 2016, Judy returned to campus as interim vice president after assisting each president through her retirement on special projects, such as the O’Reilly Family Event Center. President Cloyd asked Judy to continue as vice president for stewardship and principal gifts. As for the future, Judy’s commitment remains steady. She plans to help Drury as long as she is needed.
Distinguished Alumnus - Outstanding Service
Raymond E. Hackett ’80
Raymond’s passion for service is grounded in his Drury roots. After Cyclone Nargis killed 180,000 farmers in Myanmar in 2008, Raymond founded “Not Next Year, Every Year.” The organization is dedicated to improving the lives of Burma’s rural poor through sustainable energy. During annual visits to Myanmar, Raymond has introduced drip irrigation to the farmers, built solar charging stations for the villages, provided needed items to several orphanages, added solar lighting in schools, funded projects to bring clean water to the villages and established a rural clinic. Raymond’s passion for solar energy comes from a course in solar homebuilding he took at Drury in 1975, taught by Dr. Don Weber. As Raymond’s connections to the Burmese people grows, so do his opportunities to help; for the first time this year, he successfully advocated for a nine-year-old girl to receive needed heart surgery. Raymond embodies the Drury spirit of servant leadership, and he plans to continue his service to others for many years to come.
Distinguished Alumna - Young Alumna
Lauren Holtkamp ’03
As a member of the inaugural Drury women’s basketball team, the sport has always held a piece of Lauren’s heart. After graduating from Drury in 2003 and earning a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Lauren refocused on the game she loves. She began working her way up through the National Basketball Association (NBA) Development League and refereeing in the Women’s NBA. Eventually, Lauren became the third woman ever to be hired as an NBA referee and the only woman to currently hold the position. In addition to that role, Lauren volunteers through the NBA Referee Association with Scholastic’s TIMEOUT for Reading program, which focuses on childhood literacy. She also volunteers with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a program that supports those grieving the death of a loved one who served in America’s Armed Forces. In the 14 years since Lauren graduated from Drury, she has already achieved much, and she has no plans to slow down.
Record-Breaking Catfight Giving Challenge
Alumni and friends of Drury raised a total of $82,985.11 for student scholarships and financial aid during the fourth annual Bank of Bolivar Catfight Giving Challenge. Though Southwest Baptist University came out ahead of Drury, both schools raised much more than in previous years.
“The real winners are the Drury and SBU students who will benefit from the record-breaking amount the two schools raised through the giving challenge,” says Wayne Chipman ‘91 executive vice president for university advancement at Drury. “Together, we raised more this year than the past three years combined.”
The fundraising event has become an annual challenge adding to the longstanding on-court rivalry between the Panther and Bearcat basketball teams. The schools sought to raise $13,000 each over the 13 days leading up to game. The final push for donations took place during Tuesday’s Catfight double-header at SBU.
Funds raised will support the Annual Drury Experience Fund to ensure scholarships and financial aid for Drury’s growing enrollment, whose students require more financial aid and have a stronger academic aptitude than ever before.
Greetings from the Alumni Council!
Last fall, the Office of University Advancement commissioned a survey of all alumni asking a few questions—including opinions about Drury Magazine, alumni events and engagement opportunities, and requesting feedback and ideas to enhance alumni relations. We were excited to see responses from 965 alumni.
When I read the survey responses, the best news I uncovered is that 92% would recommend Drury to a prospective student, friend or colleague. In fact, most are very likely or extremely likely to recommend.
The results also identified areas for improvement. The survey grouped responses by day school, graduate school, or College of Continuing Professional Studies (CCPS). Most day school and graduate alumni have attended a Drury alumni event, while most CCPS alumni have not. We want to change that. If you are a Drury alum, we want to meet you, connect with you and engage with you. You, your involvement and your ideas matter to us.
Alumni primarily receive information about alumni events through email from Drury or a friend. I encourage you to utilize social media to increase awareness of events. The survey also indicated a clear desire for more regional alumni events so more alumni can remain connected to the university and other alumni with less travel time involved. Thank you to those who completed the survey and shared your input.
I am excited to share with you what we have in store this year: more regional events, more events planned by alumni volunteer leaders and more opportunities for you to connect with fellow Drury alumni and with our alma mater.
The Alumni Council is committed to strengthening our regional groups to help alumni remain connected to the university with events close by. We are working to improve communication about the events that are scheduled and actively seeking ideas for new ways to have alumni interact with the university and each other. We’ve appointed a regional alumni liaison, James Owen ’00, who will help guide and connect our alumni no matter where they live. James has served as the chairperson of our Mid-Missouri Regional Alumni Board and is a member of Alumni Council. I can’t think of anyone better to guide our expanded regional efforts, and we look forward to his involvement and ideas.
One of the best ways we can help is to raise awareness of Drury in our local communities. Take the opportunity to talk to friends, family or prospective students about your experience and the benefits of a Drury education.
William Cologna ’99
Alumni Council President
A Letter from James Owen '00
Some of us know each other and for some of us, this will be an introduction. I graduated from Drury in 2000 and currently live in Columbia, Missouri. When I moved here a few years ago from Springfield, I still wanted to remain connected to the Drury community and formed the Mid-Missouri Alumni group. We have about four events a year and usually engage anywhere from 40-50 people per event. The group is looking for ways to reach out to local schools to try and build excitement and enthusiasm for potential Drury students.
Now that I am the Regional Representative Liaison for the Drury Alumni Council, I would like to offer my assistance to help connect you back to Drury, no matter where you live. If you want to write back with questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also willing to do whatever you need for assistance or questions. This is an open, flowing process, and I want to make sure it works for you.
Expect to hear from me with opportunities for alumni involvement nationally and internationally. We’re gaining momentum for this exciting time at Drury, and I know that you, as alumni, will be essential in making connections, supporting Drury and building success for our beloved Alma Mater.
Please Welcome New Alumni Council Members
The Alumni Council is the governing body of the Alumni Association and consists of alumni leaders from a range of class years, a member from the Drury faculty and a member from the administrative staff. The Council meets collectively six times per year to serve as the voice of all alumni, coordinate alumni communication efforts, plan activities and support alumni engagement and connection programs.
Alumni Council members also play an important role as representatives of Drury in their communities, as well as offering financial support to the Annual Drury Experience Fund, department programs and special projects to support the growth and success of the University. We welcome our three newest Alumni Council members, who started in June 2017.
Patti Callaway '09
Patti is from the Springfield area and has spent most of her professional career in the accounting field. In 2007, she returned to Drury’s College of Continuing Professional Studies to complete her undergraduate degree. Callaway graduated from Drury in 2009 with a degree in business administration. She has more than 20 years of experience in accounting and currently serves as the payroll manager for The Payroll Company in Springfield.
She is actively involved with Springfield Aquatics, the youth swim club led by Brian Reynolds at Drury. Patti is the board treasurer for Global Community Works, a grassroots mission effort to assist families in Guatemala, and her family is actively involved with the student exchange organizations EFS and AFS and has hosted a few exchange students over the years, who she now considers members of her family.
Ron Carrier '86
Ron earned a degree in political science in 1986 from Drury, and a Juris Doctor in 1988 from University of Missouri-Columbia. He is currently serving as the Associate Circuit Judge for Green County in Missouri, and is a member of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association. Ron also serves on the Advisory Board for the Meador Center of Politics and Citizenship. He and his wife, Leslie ’87, are active in the Springfield Community.
Janell Manley '75, MBA '78
Janell received degrees in business administration and economics in 1975 and an MBA in 1978 from Drury.
Following stints managing investments for AT&T and owning her own residential construction and development business, Janell currently serves as the administrative director for police officers’ and firefighters’ retirement systems for the City of Springfield. She is active with organizations involving Springfield Public Schools and animal rescue and care.
Drury Experience Fund
Drury believes that cost should never deter a student from earning a degree. For that reason, Drury seeks to provide scholarships and financial aid to deserving students.
The Annual Drury Experience Fund is an effort to raise $1.5 million in annual support for student scholarships and financial aid.
Watch a special message from Drury president Dr. Cloyd and students who have received scholarships for their education.