In 2013, Butler University marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of Clowes Memorial Hall. Senator Richard Lugar—who had attended the opening night with his family in 1963—graciously recalled that special milestone. He described the Clowes Hall opening as a cultural and educational turning point; not only for Butler University, but for the City of Indianapolis. For Senator Lugar, the glittering, star-studded opening of Clowes Hall has always represented the opening of our City’s door to the modern era. As he became Mayor and Senator in the following decades, that door opened wider and wider—expanding to include professional sports, the convention industry, and so many other civic successes. But that first push happened here on the Butler campus in 1963—and it happened through the arts.

Now, as then, Butler University embraces the arts as a cornerstone of its academic offerings and campus life. Across the disciplines of Art+Design, Arts Administration, Dance, Music, and Theatre, Butler students in the Jordan College of the Arts (JCA) are challenged to grow as artists, critical thinkers, performers, and leaders. With the support of exceptional faculty and staff members—along with new learning and performance venues including the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts—JCA students are thriving as never before. And Butler students across all fields of study have hundreds of opportunities each year to attend cultural events and arts performances right on their own campus.

Butler has also continued its strong tradition of serving as a community resource for the arts. In keeping with its mission, the University is proud to provide “intellectual, cultural, and artistic opportunities and leadership to Indianapolis and the surrounding areas.” Over 200,000 people attend arts performances at Butler each year. In the pages of this magazine, you will read about the staggering number of Hoosier schoolchildren who attend Butler’s Community Arts School, summer camps, and school matinees. Each April, Butler ArtsFest offers over 40 events that draw audiences of all ages from all over the region and beyond. 

For the benefit of students, alumni, and the State of Indiana, Butler University is more committed than ever to treasuring the arts as a crown jewel—one that is essential to Butler’s academic character and quality; to the inspiration and growth of each person who enters the Butler community; and to the past, present, and future of the great City of Indianapolis.

I hope you enjoy learning more in this edition. Bethanie and I look forward to seeing you at ArtsFest this spring. 


James M. Danko