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Drury’s 17th President Settles into Community, Prepares for New Year

Drury's new president, David Manuel, discusses his transition into Springfield.
David Manuel
Drury's new president, Dr. David Manuel, began duties as president in June. /Credit: drury.edu

Dr. David Manuel took over as Drury University’s 17th president in June. KSMU’s Kaitlyn Schwers has more on his transition into Springfield and his thoughts on Drury’s civic involvement.

In a recent segment of KSMU’s Making Democracy Work, President Manuel says that the main priority for him is to learn as much as possible about the university and community. He comes from Louisiana, where he most recently served as chancellor and professor of economics at Louisiana State University Alexandria.

Manuel says that the transition has so far been a smooth one for him and his wife, Betty Coe. Both are living on campus in the President’s House.

“It’s great to be in a midtown area. I have a real penchant for historical places, if you like. And I think that one of the things that Drury has, as a very strong characteristic, is its sense of place being physically located in a historic district. There are only about 100 universities in the country that can lay claim to that. So being tied closely to a historic district, being tied closely to a community where it is one of the engines of economic growth of the community are very, very important,” Manuel said.

Manuel notes that as he settles in, he’s interested in improving economic growth in the area by sustaining the university’s involvement in community projects, such as the revitalization of Commercial Street through Drury on C-Street.

“You know that the position of the university serves as something of a bridge between north Springfield and south Springfield as how I’ve sort of  begun putting it, and anything we can do to help economic growth in the region and economic development in the region is important—not just for us, but for our students—but we think also important for the City of Springfield,” he said.

Next month, Drury will formerly inaugurate Manuel into office. He will make a keynote address to the university community on September 20. Classes at Drury begin on Monday, August 19.

You can hear Manuel’s entire interview on Making Democracy Work at the KSMU website.

For KSMU News, I’m Kaitlyn Schwers.