Alumni Spotlight


Derek Patterson '93

What would you do if you found a 350 million-year-old fossil? Would you keep it a secret? Would you alert the media? Derek Patterson '93 made such a find, and he used it as a paperweight. How could he have known that a fossil he found in the Ozark foothills, just outside Springfield, could be a one-of-a-kind fossil? Years after he made his ancient find, Patterson contacted Matt Forir, the Director of the Missouri Institute of Natural Science and adjunct professor of Speleology at Drury University, who helped him discover the significance of his ancient paperweight. Patterson eventually donated his fossil to the Missouri Institute of Natural Science Museum and became a member of the Board of Directors.

As a member of the Missouri Institute of Natural Science Board of Directors, Patterson hopes to spread the word about the importance of the Ozarks natural features in the field of scientific discovery- such as the Riverbluff Cave. This Ice Age cave was discovered on September 11, 2001, and would have been destroyed during the construction of a new road if all blasting had not been ordered to cease that day. Since then, paleontologists have made numerous discoveries ranging from bear claw marks on the walls to fossilized remains of animals. Before Patterson found his fossil, he knew he wanted to involve himself with the natural sciences while taking environmental classes at Drury. He saw the importance of taking care of the world around him and preserving its ancient history.

Patterson, in addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the Missouri Institute of Natural Science, runs a successful insurance company, eGlobalHealth Insurers Agency, LLC, in Springfield, Missouri. His company ensures clients all over the world, as well as international students studying at Drury. A third-generation insurance man, he balances his busy life of insurance and serving the Natural Science Board with help from the skills and passions he learned while at Drury. If you want to help Patterson support the Missouri Institute of Natural Science, sign up for the 1st Annual Mammoth Mile 5K on July 27th at 7pm. For more information on the run, visit here.

Spotlight written by Megan Waterman (current student)