Fifteen months ago, Drury University and I began our new journey together. As I have stated to many with whom I have met in the ensuing months, I am deeply honored by the opportunity to help lead this university, particularly at this juncture in its storied history. The university qualities that encouraged my candidacy for this position have been amplified in my admiration of Drury University and the extraordinary potential for Drury’s future is becoming more solidified in my thinking and planning.

What I have observed is based on conversations with faculty, staff, students, members of the board of trustees, a breadth of community leaders, alumni, donors and a variety of Drury supporters. In addition, I have studied every strategic assessment of Drury University (e. g. strategic plans, analyses of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges) produced in the last ten years.

What have I learned?

  • As with other successful universities, the Drury University story is replete with both successes and struggles.
  • Drury University faculty and staff are deeply committed to student success.
  • The heritage of Drury University successes is repeated many times in the examples of the lives and professions of Drury alumni and is further evidenced by the legacy of multi-generational enrollments.
  • The Drury University Board of Trustees and our alumni are uniformly committed to the institution’s positive future.
  • Important strides have been made in some academic offerings and selected facility construction.
  • The model of a Drury University higher education that facilitated so many successes is the same model that generated a comfort level that may eschew rapid adaptation to change.

These conversations and orientations were an important part of my acculturation into Drury University. This past summer I began more in-depth analyses and detailed discussions to plot the path for a new strategic plan. In the upcoming President’s Report*, I will address this in more detail. You will be an important part of the discussion, planning and implementation of new goals and objectives.

Drury University holds a special place in the landscape of American higher education. It is a crowded landscape, but one that cries for effective educational outcomes, for learning that engages our world, and for diplomas that carry value today and that will create value for the society of the future. I believe that Drury University is one of the select few created and called to be so distinctive. Now that Betty Coe and I have settled into this wonderful place of learning, I look forward to working with you as Drury leans forward to reach new heights.

Best regards,


~ David P. Manuel


Be sure to look for the 2014 President’s Report, which will arrive via email in late November. Need to update your email address? Log on to

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