Butler University will welcome the most diverse class of first-year students in its history when classes begin August 25. More than 21 percent of first-year students identify as people of color, and 18 percent of the incoming class reported they are the first person in their family to attend college. It is the third largest class in Butler’s history, and nearly 60 percent of the students are from outside the state of Indiana, evidence of Butler’s growing academic reputation nationally.
“Building upon our expanding national reputation as a premier university, coupled with the founding mission of Ovid Butler whose vision was for a university accessible to all, we are thrilled to be welcoming the most diverse class in our history,” Butler President James M. Danko said. “We are proud of the progress we’ve made, but we know that our work is not complete. We will continue to identify and design solutions that create accessibility for all learners who desire a high-quality, impactful education.”
Butler continues to experience strong enrollment growth, despite the challenges the pandemic presented over the past 18 months. For the third year in a row, Butler will welcome a larger incoming first-year class than the year prior. With 1,145 new first-year students, the incoming class is the third-largest in Butler’s history. Butler will also welcome nearly 70 new transfer students to campus.
Butler has experienced a surge in interest and enrollment over the last decade. Applications to Butler hit a three-year peak in 2021: More than 15,000 students from all 50 states and 90 countries applied to be a member of Butler’s incoming class.
In a year that saw continued impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, this growth is no small feat. Jerome Dueweke, Director of Admission, attributes much of this success to Butler’s student-focused approach.
“Our Admission team constantly adjusted—multiple times in the last year—to be in a space where high school students needed us to be,” Dueweke says. “We pivoted to virtual visits and events, but we also took the time to ask how remote learning was going, how students were doing in a hybrid environment, how they were doing as people. Our approach wasn’t just ‘let me tell you about Butler’ but ‘let me hear about you.’”
The University implemented a number of new efforts aimed to provide greater access to a Butler education, including offering test-optional admission, expanding eligibility to scholarships such as the Morton-Finney Diversity Scholar Award, and refining targeted recruitment areas with a specific focus within greater Indianapolis.
“It’s a strategic imperative, both for the Enrollment Management Division and for the University as a whole, to increase our efforts in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” says Lori Greene, Vice President of Enrollment Management. “We will continue to institute strategies aimed to increase the accessibility of a Butler education. We want to attract students who are interested in making a difference throughout our community and our world.”
Butler’s academic reputation is growing nationally, as evidenced by an upward trend in out-of-state enrollment growth. Incoming students represent 37 states and 13 countries, including Australia, Bolivia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, United Kingdom, and Vietnam. Out-of-state students make up 57 percent of the incoming class, with strong populations of students from Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, California, Tennessee, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
“I have always wanted to attend an out-of-state school for a chance to live in a new area of the country and experience more independence,” says Owen Beute, an incoming first-year student from Colorado. “One reason I chose Butler is because of its location in Indianapolis, which gives me the opportunity to make connections and advance my career in a major metropolitan area.”
This incoming class is also strong academically. The Class of 2025 includes 37 valedictorians, 20 Lilly Scholars, and 62 21st Century Scholars. Nearly 16 percent of students graduated in the top 10 percent of their class, and the average GPA is 3.90.
The most popular majors among the incoming class include Biology, Health Sciences, Exploratory Business, Exploratory Studies, and Finance.
Adding to its growth and success at the undergraduate level, Butler is increasing its role within the adult online learning space. The University launched three new online graduate programs this summer: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science in Strategic Communication (MSSC), and Master of Science in Data Analytics (MSDA). These programs are part of Butler’s current strategic direction—Butler Beyond—which set a path for the University to grow beyond its traditional model of education and develop new programmatic offerings to support learners of all life stages and backgrounds.
Director of Strategic Communications
Photo by Zach Bolinger
About Butler University
Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,500 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 46 states and 22 countries. More than 75 percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, and Butler students have had significant success after graduation, as demonstrated by the University’s 97 percent placement rate within one year of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.