Not only has Design Arts survived the challenges brought during its 133 year history, it has flourished. Design Arts accounts for slightly over 50% of the Art Department's current 121 majors, totaling 61 majors and 9 minors.
By reiterating a few points from Tom Russo's compelling history of the Drury Art Department we can examine the persistence of the Design Arts through the years:
- 1873 - Design Arts provided "systematic and thorough instruction in the various departments of industrial and decorative art," and has proven its value over the years as a vital component of the Drury Art Department.
- 1934 - Design was considered significant to a complete art education for its "cultural value" in general and more specifically "to stimulate the imagination and increase the powers of observation of "students professionally interested in the work."
- 1936 - 6 hours of design were included in the art "minor," and 2 years later were still considered essential when offering the first Drury art major (1938).
- 1940 - The term "Applied Arts" (Design) is embedded in the art major.
- 1983 - The reveal of the first specific catalog use of the term Graphic Design, as the underpinnings of today's Design Arts major were set upon foundational course work in Graphic Design 1 & 2, Illustration, Package Design, Photography and the History of Photography.
- 1990 - The digital revolution changed the way we look at art forever and brought about the development and subsequent approval of Drury's unique interdisciplinary Visual Communication Program within the Studio Art major. Simultaneous with the approval of the VisCom Program was the approval of Drury's first graphic design computer lab in the Basement of O'Bannon Hall.
- 2000 - Design Arts (as applied art) became a major 127 years after initially being referred to as "industrial and decorative" art.
- 2004 - Commercial Photography added to the major.
- 2006 - From the present vantage point one can easily discern the Design Arts major as being inextricably embedded in the Art Department, existing and interacting harmoniously with Fine Art and Art History majors, faculty and students. The initial intent (in 1873) to provide "systematic and thorough instruction in the various departments of industrial and decorative art" has been realized many times over. Drury's Design Arts major can now boast of an excellent reputation and exciting history of graduate successes in the graphic design and photography fields.