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Drury trustee board elects first female chair

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The Drury University Board of Trustees elected Baron Design & Associates LLC principal Rita Baron as its first female chairperson.

Baron is slated to become chairwoman at the board’s next full meeting in October. A 1999 Drury graduate who’s been a trustee since 2007, Baron will succeed outgoing Chairman Lyle Reed, president of Nacogdoches, Texas-based Foretravel Inc., according to a news release.

Drury spokesman Mike Brothers said Baron also is the first Springfield chairperson since Wally Springer in 1999.

“Drury is entering a new era of distinction and innovation thanks to the recent work of our faculty, staff and administration, as well the collaborative leadership of our board of trustees,” Baron said in the release.

Brothers said the board of trustees dates back to 1873, when the college opened.

The board selected five new trustees to start this month.

Two are locals: Kimberly Hamm, an audit partner at BKD LLP’s Springfield office, and Gorm Tuxen, president of Branson-based Tuxen & Associates Inc. The others are Seattle resident Rick Ayre, former Amazon executive; Louisville, Kentucky, resident Mark McDonald, medical director of Norton Children’s Hospital; and St. Louis resident Emily Pitts, principal of diversity and inclusion at Edward Jones, according to the release.

Drury also recognized three longtime trustees, who this year concluded their service on the board. Former Commerce Bank Chairman Ken Carter and retired Springfield dermatologist Dr. Tom Lynch were named emeritus trustees after 32 years on the board. Retired insurance executive Tom Kellogg, who has been on the board for 28 years, was granted lifetime trustee status.

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