In 1873, Drury was founded by Congregationalists, many of whom were abolitionists, to “help heal the wounds of the Civil War” and provide a strong academic education in the liberal arts. Springfield, Missouri was chosen, in part, as it was an area that had been so scarred by the war; it was a place in need of continued healing. The university’s founders envisioned an institution that would offer students, including women, Native Americans, and those “of slender purse,” a strong liberal arts education, and they turned to prominent liberal arts schools in the north and east for their models. The earliest classes included Native Americans and women, and the first graduating class—of five—consisted entirely of women.
Our nation is again in a divided moment, with greater fear and anger across the entire community than we have seen in recent memory. We hear of incidents on campuses across the nation in which students are made to feel unwelcome, threatened with violence, or even physically harmed.
We Drury faculty*, who fall across the political spectrum, care deeply about supporting an open and democratic society, freedom of speech, strong civil liberties, and welcoming diversity. We would like our students and colleagues to know that if they feel vulnerable, we are here to support you. We stand by you today and in the years ahead.
Elizabeth Gackstetter Nichols
Kelley Still Nichols
Jennifer Silva Brown
Jo Van Arkel
*Due to time constraints, not all faculty members may have had a chance to sign this letter. If you are a Drury faculty member who would like to add your name now, you may do so by emailing email@example.com.