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Drury programs spotlighted at Kiwanis luncheon

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Drury University programs in Monett took the spotlight at last week's meeting of the Monett Kiwanis Club.

Ann Saunders, director of Drury's Monett campus, reviewed how Drury began partnering with the Southwest Area Career Center in 2007. After offering a wide range of classes on the SWACC campus in the evenings, following the high school daytime classes, Drury decided its program needed more room and time flexibility.

This fall Drury opened its classes in an interim location in the former education wing of the old First United Methodist Church at 400 Fourth St.

Saunders said students can take courses in humanities and fine arts, math and sciences, and social sciences. Students can graduate from Drury in Monett through a combination of seated and online classes with degrees in business, communication, psychology, education, advertising, human services, organizational studies, and public relations.

Saunders provided examples of students who have graduated and done well. One woman with three children completed her Bachelor's degree and now runs the YMCA program in Cassville. Luis Cecenas, a 2007 MHS graduate, completed his degree in human services and psychology in May and was accepted to The Forest Institute for graduate school.

Drury has several students who live around Monett who transferred from Ozarks Technical College and Crowder College and MSSU. Saunders said students like the small town atmosphere and small classes Drury offers. A large class would be 20 students. The plan is to offer classes during the day in the spring semester. Ten of the 20 instructors at Drury's Monett campus this semester, have the highest degree they can earn in their field.

Drury offers a less expensive per credit hour rate in Monett than Drury Day School in Springfield, Saunders said. Those taking classes range in age from 18 to their 60s. The diverse students have bonded well despite the age differences.

Most students are eligible to receive Pell Grants. Saunders said Drury scholarships are also available. Currently 25 percent of Drury's students are Hispanic. Saunders said Drury recently received verbal announcement of a $10,000 grant for Hispanic education.

Saunders is a Monett native who operated The Stone Cottage and the Curves for Women franchise. A Drury graduate, she was asked to run the office for Drury's satellite campus in Monett, a post she gladly accepted, and has enjoyed watching the program develop.

In the future, Saunders said Drury has envisioned a downtown campus, renovating the former Jumping-Jacks Shoes facility at Fourth and Front streets donated by Glenn Garrett. The plan includes room for a new Monett branch of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library.

Advancing the downtown plan would have a profound effect on Monett in general and Broadway in particular, Saunders said. Fundraising for the approximately $7.5 million undertaking is presently underway.

Renovations are continuing on the temporary campus. Saunders said four classrooms have been finished and a fifth will be added. Two classes are still offered at SWACC for the convenience of the teachers.

Saunders encouraged everyone to visit her at the Fourth Street facility. A ribbon cutting and cookout will take place in the upcoming month. She hopes many more students will recognize the value a 4-year institution offers and choose to finish their college degrees in Monett without leaving their community.

Saunders was introduced by program chairman Gordon Brown. President Frank Washburn, who presided at the meeting, thanked members for helping with the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus visit, sponsored by the club which had good attendance in its two shows.

The Monett Kiwanis Club meets on Tuesdays for a meal and a program.

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