“… Have You Visited Henry Yet?”
When I was an undergraduate student, and later as a graduate student, my father posed that question every time I visited my parents during a college break or vacation. Henry and his wife were among my parents’ best friends. They had no children and Henry worked many years as the school superintendent in the parish (county in Louisiana) where I attended school as a child. Henry always seemed to know when I would be home with my family, and my dad always said, “Henry’s been asking about you. Have you visited with him yet?”
Henry was interested in my college pursuits, what I was studying, why these matters were important to me, and plans for my career. Many years later I came to realize that Henry was mentoring me, not in the same manner as my parents, but as an engaged educator. During my undergraduate and graduate years, like others on our Drury faculty, I was fortunate to have a number of outstanding advisers and mentors. As you would expect, they were demanding and insisted on excellence. But they also understood and knew the limits of what to expect from me and other students. From them I learned to counsel students, not coddle them, and I learned to recognize their talents and to assist them in sharpening their skills.
The articles in this issue of Drury Magazine carry a common theme. As you read, you will notice the nuances that emerge. One important distinction is the role of the mentor or adviser at Drury University in helping every student define his or her path. Similarly, this personal quality of a Drury education must always remain a distinguishing characteristic that helps define the success of Drury University’s alumni.
I hope you enjoy these features and that they reinforce for you the understanding that Drury University is indeed a special part of the American higher education landscape.
- David P. Manuel