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Todd Parnell
Todd Parnell

Drury President Parnell sets retirement date

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Drury University President Todd Parnell will retire in May 2013 after six academic years at the school's top post.

Parnell, 64, said the two-year timeframe would allow him to finish strong and give the university ample time to pick a successor.

Parnell, who informed the university's board of directors last week of his plans, said he would like to see through the initial implementation of the school's strategic plan, which was approved by the board of directors in May and is being put into effect.

The plan, which has a focus on accountability and benchmarks, contains five strategic imperatives:
  • to achieve academic excellence and become better recognized for academic strengths;
  • to strengthen the financial position of the university;
  • to attain optimal capacity of 1,640 to 1,660 day school students with 70 percent residency;
  • to respond to the unique needs of each student group the university serves; and
  • to improve student performance and the campus culture.
"This next year, I think, is critical to bringing focus to move each of these along," Parnell said. "The whole program is key to a strong community engagement profile."

Parnell said the board doesn't yet have a timeline for selecting a successor.

"They'll do a fairly lengthy process of establishing a search committee," he said. "It gives them time to not be under the gun."

Parnell said his decision also was personal and would allow him and his wife Betty to pursue some of their post-retirement goals.

"We don't want to let the time slip away before we have a chance to do that," he said.

Parnell was selected as interim president of Drury University June 1, 2007, following the resignation of President John Sellars. Parnell was named the permanent president in January 2008, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

Parnell was a career banker before joining Drury, having previously served as president of Truman Bank in Clayton and later as founding CEO of The Bank, which merged with The Signature Bank and is now part of BancorpSouth. In May 2005, Parnell retired from his career in banking as president and chief operating officer of The Signature Bank. He was named executive director of Drury's Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, effective June 1, 2007, but instead took the interim president role.
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