Drake University announced on Sept. 1 that it would be founding a new college. The John Dee Bright college, on track to open fall of 2021, will offer associates degrees in business, art, science and humanities programs.
Craig Owens, an English professor at Drake, has been appointed the dean of the college. Owens has been collaborating with other university staff members on this project since the fall 2019 semester.
“There are dozens of thoughtful and creative people who are contributing to this project,” Owens said. “It is a Drake community effort.”
The college is named after former Drake football player John Dee Bright. He was a potential Heisman trophy winner but was injured during a play against Oklahoma State in 1951. This incident resulted in a broken jaw for Bright and took him out of the running for the prestigious award. He had a successful career as an educator and coach and did not let his injury distract him in any way.
“His biography attracted us as a model for the college,” Owens said. “Naming the college after him gave us the chance to celebrate his legacy as an educator and we feel like he put on display some of the core attributes that we hope to foster in the students who come through Bright.”
Drake University President Marty Martin has been instrumental in the founding of the college and appointed Owens as the dean. One of Drake’s goals has been to provide lifelong learning through community service, high school programs and college degrees.
“Instead of thinking of ourselves in these traditional lines, we are now an institution that is embracing and reaching every learner that we can where resources are available,” Martin said. “We wanted to make sure that Drake becomes even more attainable for even more students than it has been in the past.”
The yearly tuition for the college will be $18,500. The grants and financial aid available will be similar to those offered for Drake. The first class will start next fall under a regular academic schedule with about 40 students.
Abby Marting, a sophomore majoring in international business and minoring in Spanish, enrolled in associates program classes in high school to receive certain credits before attending Drake.
“It’s a great way for Drake University to diversify their learning plans,” Marting said. “We currently have the four-year program, the law school and the pharmacy program and this is a great way to bring even more people to Drake and to get another perspective on learning. Having a degree from Drake is a great thing but the price range is out of a lot of people’s budgets. This price makes it a lot more accessible and can also bring more people to our campus.”
Drake’s goal is to exude Bright’s work ethic and commitment to education in the John Dee Bright College. This is another way to bring more learners and add another educational option to the university.