Butler University James Danko will present Sigma Gamma Rho International, Inc. with its inaugural Ovid Butler Founder’s Award, in recognition of the historically Black sorority’s founding on the Butler campus 100 years ago. Of the nation’s four members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Sigma Gamma Rho is the only one that was founded at a predominantly white institution.

The Ovid Butler Founder’s Award—which recognizes and celebrates individuals or organizations who embody Butler University’s values of innovation, excellence, diversity, equity, and inclusion—will be presented during a ceremony on February 16 at 7:00 PM in Atherton Union’s Reilly Room on the Butler campus. Molly Ford, Vice President, Employee Brand & Recruitment Marketing at Salesforce and a member of Sigma Gamma Rho, will deliver the Founder’s Celebration Keynote Address during the ceremony. Ford’s address will be live streamed at www.butler.edu/live.

Butler University is currently celebrating a two-week Founders Celebration, honoring founder Ovid Butler, a well-known attorney and newspaper publisher of his time, and an active supporter of the antislavery movement. In 1855, Ovid founded North Western Christian University (renamed Butler University in his honor) on the values of diversity, inclusivity, and equality. The University admitted women and people of color on an equal basis with white males, a radical stance for the time.

“I imagine that Ovid would have taken great pride in knowing that, nearly 70 years after its founding, Butler University provided the inclusive and nurturing environment that inspired seven incredibly brave Black women to found a sorority,” Danko said.

Sigma Gamma Rho, founded by seven Butler University students in 1922, has grown to more than 85,000 members in the U.S., Bahamas, Bermuda, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Germany and Korea.