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The Secret is Out

Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Fall 2017

The story of how Florie (Theofanis) Eaton ’88 and Joe Eaton ’88 got together sounds like the movie Animal House

“We weren’t in togas, but we were in Hawaiian garb,” she laughed.

They were dressed for the annual Sigma Nu Voo Doo Dance (fortunately, a thing of the past). 

“They built a pool over the entire front lawn with railroad ties and plastic sheeting, then filled it with a hose. It became something you didn’t want to swim in,” she said.

She and Joe avoided the water, but not the romance. After two years of noticing each other on outings with mutual friends, they finally became a couple.

“It’s just the way it was, and still is. Butler is such a community that everybody starts out as friends,” she said. 

‘Nothing but Butler’

Florie Theofanis was born into a true-blue Butler home: Her mother, Katie ’53 and her father, Chris ’52—an alumnus and retired Butler employee of 44 years—and her uncle, George Theofanis ’57, held that most revered of titles, “basketball coach.” 

In fact, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000, George was known for “blazing the trail of unbiased and fair recruiting … during a time when social injustice ran rampant,” wrote The Butler Collegian.

“I knew nothing but Butler all my life,” Florie said. All three of the Theofanis children attended the University. “I didn’t give it a second thought.”

Florie and Joe’s children did, though. Daughter Kailey Eaton ’17 met the tennis coach, went for a recruiting weekend, came home with an offer and said, ‘That’s it! I’m going to Butler.’”

Son Zach Eaton ’20 played high school sports at what would be a Division III level if he continued, which would have ruled out Butler. 

“He gave up sports rather than give up Butler,” Florie said. “He’s never regretted it. He plays lots of club and intramural sports and absolutely loves Butler.”

Florie has seen what she calls “tremendous” growth at Butler. 

“It still has that family feeling, but the opportunity for our kids is tremendous,” she said. “We used to be a well-kept secret, and I think the secret is out. The more you’re there, the more reasons you find to love Butler University.”