I hope you enjoy this edition of Butler Magazine, especially the stories of how The Butler Way—as exemplified by our students, faculty, and alumni—continues to make a positive impact on the world. 

I am actually writing this letter on my first day of summer vacation in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, a location that our family has enjoyed for many years. While Bethanie and I will find time to enjoy walks on the beach, reading, and the local casual cuisine, it is also a perfect time for reflection and rejuvenation. 

Reflecting upon my time at Butler to date, my first thought is how quickly seven years have passed. My mind then turns toward strategy (I am not the most relaxed vacationer!) as Butler 2020 reaches its namesake year. We have already started to engage our community in setting the course for Butler’s next shared vision. We recently convened a series of Leadership Summits wherein academic and administrative leaders discussed the disruption occurring within higher education and approaches to career preparation, and how we may best ensure the future success of Butler University, our students, and our alumni. 

A highlight for me this year was a Butler group trip to the Silicon Valley area. During the trip, we gained insights into the high-tech economy thanks to our generous alumni hosts. Chad Pingel ’16, a Finance Automation System Administrator at Google, organized a headquarters tour, which provided us with the perspectives of newly hired employees and recruiters on the skills and education they find most relevant. Frank Levinson ’75, a major supporter of the sciences at Butler over the years, welcomed us into his home for a discussion on trends in technology and innovation. Trustee Lynne Zydowsky ’81, an experienced leader and entrepreneur in the life sciences industry, hosted a dinner and discussion for alumni and friends from the San Francisco area. 

We also had an enlightening visit to Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, known as the d.school, where there is interesting contemplation underway on the future of higher education. I was struck by an analogy drawn by Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-Director of the Innovation Fellows program. She said that just as you can’t compress a lifetime of fitness into four years and expect to stay in shape, you can’t compress all higher learning into a four-year block and expect it to sustain you. Indeed, whether it’s training the body or mind, it takes a lifetime of dedication to excel. What opportunities might this concept suggest for Butler? 

At my inauguration seven years ago, I encouraged us to Imagine the Possibilities. As we further advance our University and continue to pursue such possibilities, we will remain grounded upon the foundation built by the Butler stewards who came before us. 

Thank you for being an active member of the Butler University community. Your continued involvement is an important part of the next chapter, and we will keep you informed. 

As for now, it’s off to the beach. 

James M. Danko, President 

Read more about Butler’s strategic vision