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As a Springfield native, Drury was always on my radar. Growing up, I attended Drury soccer camps and had swim meets at the Drury pool. I was a junior at Glendale High School when the Drury choir visited to perform a private concert for us. That performance was the first time I met Dr. Allin Sorenson, the chair of the music department at Drury. His energy and passion for Drury was very appealing. Allin invited anyone interested to try out for a music scholarship, so I did. The fact that Drury offered many more scholarships than any other school I applied to, and the fact that I would immediately become involved, gave me the push to choose Drury for my undergraduate education.

dots1Since Drury is smaller it was easier to get involved on campus. Besides choir, I was a member of the health and wellness committee on the Student Union Board and the Pre-Health Professionals Club. I have fond memories of playing Frisbee golf with my friends around the grounds using the gigantic trees as landmarks. I rode my bike to class every day and enjoyed the natural beauty of campus. I built lasting relationships while at Drury, and I still keep in touch with many of the people I hung around with. I frequently meet people around town, at business meetings or in other community activities, who I recognize from Drury. The fact that it was a tight-knit campus allows me to recognize people who were a part of the Drury community in my everyday life now.

During my second year at Drury I was working with Peter, another student, on a general chemistry assignment. This friend was telling me he was interested in dentistry and that I ought to consider it also. I had decided at 11 years old to be a doctor and possibly a neurosurgeon, so at this point I was on the pre-med track. After talking to Peter and doing some research I realized that dentistry was the perfect profession for my interests and skills. I was appreciative of the support and connections that the faculty in the science department had with dental schools—the University of Missouri – Kansas City in particular.

Many of the faculty members at UMKC, where I went to dental school, were Drury alumni, and we would often talk about the professors we shared while in the program. One of the administrators even flew a Drury alumni flag. The faculty doctor was also excited to share in celebrating the Drury men’s basketball national championship in 2013. The community and relationships I built at Drury stretched out into relationships in my professional career.

chase-kelly-quoteAfter I graduated from dental school, there were many options for how and where I could practice. I decided that since I was from Springfield, attended Drury, and have family in town, I could fulfill my dream of purchasing my own practice if I returned. I graduated from the UMKC School of Dentistry in May 2013, purchased my own practice in August 2013, and have been the solo dentist since December 2013. Many of my patients are past classmates or Drury alumni. It is fun sharing memories from our times at Drury, and I believe it makes them feel at home that I have one more way to relate to them.

Drury’s biggest appeal to me was the focus and attention my professors put on my professional career. The instructors were very approachable after class hours and the registration office always helped me find which classes would help me reach my academic goals. My fellow students were also very driven and focused. We enjoyed our free time, but it was good to have academic support knowing that I was always moving toward becoming a dentist.

Any time I revisit campus I spend most of my time saying hello to my many friends who are faculty members there. I was recently invited to be part of a panel with first-year students who were interested in the pre-health program at Drury. This opportunity reminded me of how lucky I was to have found an academic institution that I could be proud to have graduated from. Drury fit my personality, introduced me to lifelong friends, and supported my academic goals all the way through.

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