mike-shirleyBy Mike Shirley, J.D.

Did you hear about the recent Gallup-Purdue study on the relationship between one’s college experience and college graduates’ lives? It explored several important matters critical to the work of universities as they prepare students for the next step in their personal and professional journeys. According to the study, the key to such things as engagement in the workplace and enjoying a sense of personal well being centers not on the university students attended, but rather on the depth of their involvement during their university experience. I had to smile when reading the report as immediately my thoughts turned to the Drury community and all we have stood for these many years.

As the director of the Breech School of Business, I am often asked what makes Drury University and the Breech School such a special place to learn, study and work. It’s simple, really. We embody the findings of the recent Gallup-Purdue study. Our talented and dedicated faculty and staff provide quality instruction and personalized mentoring that sets our students on a course for success, both personally and professionally. In my time here at Drury I have witnessed, time and again, the power of the caring professor: one who not only knows their academic area, but also shares it with such zeal and passion that learning becomes exciting to the student. Likewise, I have been amazed by the commitment of our staff who, on a daily basis, demonstrates an attitude of caring and support for our students and their colleagues. The extracurricular programs offered across the university foster the development of future leaders. As a result, involvement becomes second nature to many of our students, which is sustained after graduation. However, as the recent Gallup-Purdue study found, such a university experience is not automatic. It has to be nurtured deliberately throughout the university environment. Fortunately for our students, such is the Drury way.

In the Breech School, we strive to inspire our students to lead. Our mission is to prepare ethical leaders for the global business community. We take this mission to heart and offer learning experiences where current and relevant business discipline knowledge is presented both inside and outside the classroom. We provide important connections with the business community through real-world projects strategically incorporated into the student learning experience. For example, every business student participates in an internship related to his or her field of study. This creates opportunities for the direct application of what is taught in the classroom, and is another practice that distinguishes Drury University and prepares our graduates to be “job ready.”

Of course, the notion of student engagement is at the heart of the work we do, and every student is challenged to be socially aware and prepared to “make a difference” not only in their chosen profession, but also in the community they represent and serve.  The outcome of this university commitment is a graduate prepared to do well and to be a person who will grow in effectiveness and service to others while always striving to be ethically driven in their actions.

Finally, Drury’s strong liberal arts foundation is the cornerstone and perfect complement to prepare our students for future successes in the fast-paced business world of the 21st century.  Our graduates are equipped to face the challenges of today’s world and to seek solutions collaboratively using an analytical framework honed while living and learning together at Drury.  As you will read in several stories in this edition of Drury Magazine, the Drury community is a powerful place, and has prepared many to pursue their dreams with passion and confidence. We can all be proud of the care and encouragement provided for the students of yesterday and tomorrow. Together, we have propelled so many into great careers and lives that matter.