bill dugan

Butler's Heart Remains the Same

Marc D. Allan

from Fall 2017

As a young man, Bill Dugan ’51 walked the Butler campus at a time when Hinkle Fieldhouse sat 15,000 and the Butler Bowl held 35,000, male students wore jackets and ties to basketball games, Robertson Hall was known as Sweeney Chapel, the Pharmacy Building and Atherton Center (now Union) were being built, and the campus had no dormitories.

Dugan, 87, who lives on the north side of Indianapolis, comes back to campus fairly often, and he says that while Butler’s exterior has changed, the heart is very much the same.  

“There were so many good people at Butler when I was in school—and there are still so many good, caring people
today,” he said.

Dugan spent most of his early years on a farm outside Huntingburg, in southern Indiana, the son of school teachers. He chose Butler after visiting campus with a high school friend. An academic scholarship paid a third of the $150 tuition bill, and he earned the rest by working as a campus janitor.

He lived off campus at 39th Street and Kenwood Avenue his first year and would catch a city bus or walk to campus. Sometimes, he said, Butler basketball star Marvin Cave
(later an Indiana Basketball Hall of Famer) would stop and pick him up. In his later years at Butler, he lived in the Sigma Nu house.

Dugan was going to be a teacher—his father talked him out of that—but majored in accounting instead. “I was a good student,” he said. “I studied hard because it was my money I was spending.”

One of his favorite professors was Bill Shors—“We called him ‘Wild Bill’ because he always had tales”—who taught accounting. Dugan said Shors was a great example of how much Butler professors care for their students.

“If you went to school there, he got you a job,” Dugan said. “My brother graduated from Indiana State a year after I did, and I called Bill Shors and he got my brother a job, too.”

Dugan’s first job was in accounting with Kingan’s, a meat-packing company at Washington Street and the White River. Around that time, he also began dating Joanne Aiman ’53, a Butler Business major who became his wife. They were married for 56 years until she died in 2014 (Bill gave a gift to the Hinkle Campaign to name the Dawg Pound’s North End in her memory. He also gave a gift to name the Interview Suite in the Career Development area of the new Lacy School of Business building.)

After Kingan’s, Dugan spent four years in the Air Force as an auditor at a General Electric plant in Cincinnati. When he got out of the military, he went to work for Spickelmier Company, a building-materials company, then Bowes Seal Fast, which sold automotive parts, and, finally, as a consultant for Barth Electric. 

Dugan always wanted to own a business, and he ended up buying two, both of which he still owns: NCS, an embroidery and screen printing business in Indianapolis; and Sign Crafters, an Evansville company that designs, manufactures, and installs business signs. He still owns both businesses today.

In the 1990s, while raising their daughter Candy, Dugan was commuting between Indianapolis and Evansville and Joanne was running D’Arcy’s Children’s Wear, a clothing store they bought. Candy went on to graduate from Butler in 1990, as did her husband, Neal Stock ’91.

Dugan said he has had a wonderful life, and he appreciates all that Butler has done for him.

“I’ve been so blessed and so lucky,” Dugan said. “I never dreamed that I’d have even an ounce of the success I’ve had that’s come my way. I have nothing but high praise for Butler.”