Community Leadership

Beautiful BulldogBeautiful Bulldog hopefuls and their owners converged on Des Moines’ Capital Square in March for a lottery-style drawing of contest participants. The lucky 50 selected dogs will return to vie for the title of Beautiful Bulldog in April. Pictured are Dolph Pulliam, Drake’s director of community outreach and development, and Meatball, the current titleholder.

Drake Law triumphs in regionals

In late November, student teams from Drake Law School won two separate regional student competitions — one in moot court and the other in arbitration — and advanced to the national round of competition.

“These successes in the national moot court and arbitration competitions represent a tremendous amount of hard, intelligent work on the part of all the students,” says Allan Vestal, dean of the Drake Law School.

“They also represent the fruits of Drake’s clear commitment to experiential education.”

Drake faces Drake in moot court finals

Two student teams from Drake Law School won virtually every award at the regional round of the 61st Annual National Moot Court Competition last November. Each of the Drake teams took on separate competitors from the University of Minnesota in the semifinal round, to make the final round an all-Drake affair.

The National Moot Court Competition is one of the nation’s largest events of its kind, drawing 189 teams from 129 law schools.

First place went to the Drake team of Keith Duffy, Megan Scrivner and Leslie Behaunek. Second place went to the Drake team of Cory McAnelly, James Hathaway and Erica Liabo.

In addition to placing first and second in the competition, the teams from Drake won multiple individual awards.

Victory in mock arbitration

In another November event, a student team from Drake Law School won the regional finals of the ABA Law Mock Arbitration Competition in Iowa City, IA.

The winning team of Emily Zerkel, Sarah Walstrom, Andrew Wessler and Ed Tillbury prevailed over Creighton in the semifinal round and the University of Missouri in the final round.


Ethics chair installed

Two men with lifelong commitments to business ethics were at the center of a recent gift that will enhance ethics education at Drake.

Herb Baum, BN’58, and his wife, Karen, contributed $2 million to establish the Herb and Karen Baum Chair of Ethics and the Professions. This prestigious faculty position will guide students across the University in developing a firmly grounded personal commitment to the highest standards of ethics and ethical decision making.

Gary Frank, professor of public administration, was honored as the inaugural chair at a ceremony in late January. He has taught ethics at Drake for more than 25 years.


Believers and AchieversDrake School of Education alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends gathered for the annual Believers and Achievers Banquet, which was held March 1. Honored were outstanding alumni award winners Kathy Lockard, GR’88; Doug Stilwell, GR’97, ’04; and Jennifer E. Huegel, GR’05.

Ellis to be honored with weaver Medal

Drake University named alumnus Jack Ellis, retired director at Abbott Laboratories, as the 2011 recipient of Drake’s Lawrence C. and Delores M. Weaver Medal of Honor.

Ellis will receive the award and deliver the annual Weaver Lecture on Wednesday, April 27. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. in Sheslow Auditorium, Old Main.

The award is the highest honor presented by Drake’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and recognizes Ellis’s dedication to the pharmacy profession as an advocate for advancing research practices to benefit human health, as well as his philanthropic efforts.

Presented annually, the Weaver Medal of Honor was established by Lawrence Weaver, a 1949 pharmacy graduate, and his wife, Delores.

Visit for event details and for information on previous winners.


Celebrated choreographer visits Drake

Renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp took center stage as she presented the 26th Bucksbaum Lecture on April 4. The celebrated artist, whose accolades include two Emmys and a Tony Award, has choreographed more than 135 dances, five Hollywood movies and four Broadway shows and is the author of three books.

Tharp discussed lessons learned during her esteemed career in the worlds of dance and entertainment.


Karla KashParticipation in Drake University’s musical theatre program has doubled over the past year. Is it the “Glee” effect? No. It’s dedicated, innovative professors like Karla Kash, assistant professor of theatre. Read our profile of Kash.

Scholarship recipients return to give back

Each year, 16 incoming first-year students are awarded prestigious full-tuition and full-cost scholarships to Drake through the National Alumni Scholarship (NAS) program. For many of these students, the scholarships dramatically impact their time at the University and their commitment after they graduate.

“As a student, NAS meant a sense of responsibility to the University — to take advantage of every opportunity, be an ambassador, share my positive experiences with others and give back in any way I could,” says Ami Thakkar, PH’03. “Recipients are aware of the wonderful gift they have been given and work hard to promote the University.”

This year, 25 NAS alumni returned to campus to participate in the competition
on February 12 and 26. They served as judges, reviewing essays and
applications and interviewing candidates. Although only a few of the more than 260 participating students received major scholarships, the weekend served as an important recruiting tool for top-level prospective students.

“This year, with the increase in the qualifying criteria test score and GPA, the applicant pool was the strongest academically that we have seen,” says Deneen Dygert, associate director of admission. “We welcomed high school seniors from 12 states and five countries over two weekends. Historically nearly 50 percent of these students choose Drake.”

Thakkar says she keeps recruitment in mind during her interactions as
an NAS judge. “I love the opportunity to create a positive impression on high school seniors that will help them choose Drake, whether they are a scholarship recipient or not,” Thakkar says. “I had such a great experience at Drake, and I’d like to make sure that this message is conveyed to prospective students.”


Admission Update

Class of 2015 Facebook page takes off

Prospective Drake students now have the ability to meet, find common interests and make roommate connections even before they set foot on campus. Drake Admissions launched a Facebook page in November for the Class of 2015, and the active, growing site now has more than 500 members.

Kayleigh Koester, a sophomore double major in international relations and music, is one of the handful of student ambassadors who are also part of the group. She meets with students in this online space to discuss anything from dining plans to fine arts auditions.

“The students connect in two ways. On the discussion board we post specific topics where they can ask questions and we answer,” says Koester. “And on the main wall, you see a lot of students introducing themselves — their names, where they’re from and what they’re interested in. The page is facilitating a Drake community even before students arrive.”

So far, members of the group have made new Facebook friends,
exchanged e-mails, and made plans to meet and spend time together during summer orientation.

“After students commit to Drake, they become part of the University. They start taking ownership and getting excited about coming here,” says Koester. “We can give tours and show students a window into our world, but there’s a real need for them to connect with each other. A visit with an admissions counselor can’t do that, but social media can.”

Prospective students can visit to join the Drake Class of 2015 group or see the community in action.

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