It doesn’t seem possible that this past August marked 10 years of my presidency at Butler University. It is a tremendous honor to serve in this role, and my enthusiasm for Butler’s mission and my appreciation for the people who shape our great University has only grown with each passing year.
Since joining the Butler community in 2011, I have often spoken of the interdependence between every great city and its great private university. And as Indianapolis and Butler have made great strides in advancing their respective national profiles in recent years, we are now positioned to build upon that foundation to serve both communities even more effectively. Because Butler’s future is intertwined with Indy’s, we actively pursue opportunities to partner with employers, nonprofits, and government agencies that share our interest in strengthening the community at-large.
These collaborations expand upon those we already have in place—such as the Indianapolis Community Requirement, whereby every Butler student must take a course that involves active engagement with our local community. They also affirm the commitment to social responsibility and community leadership that Butler encourages in its students, both inside and outside the classroom. This issue of Butler Magazine highlights many such examples of Butler/Indianapolis interconnectedness.
For example, Judith B. Thomas ’90, who served as president of the Black Student Union during her time on campus, is now the Indianapolis Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood Engagement. Allison Luthe ’97, who found her calling serving others while interning with Child Advocates during her sophomore year at Butler, now leads Indy’s MLK Center.
Several Butler alumni, students, and faculty are addressing local food insecurity and injustice. John Elliott, MBA ’11 is currently serving as President and CEO of Gleaners Food Bank, and our Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability (CUES) is working with more than 20 community partners to get more food to our residents and create social change that will eliminate the need to do so. The Farm at Butler, a one-acre space on the west end of our campus, is integral to these efforts.
The University has been strengthening its partnerships with corporations and other entities, as well—the most prominent of which was our collaboration with the NCAA®, Indiana Sports Corp, and Visit Indy. Hosting 16 games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was no small feat, but was so successful that media from across the country dubbed Hinkle Fieldhouse the Cinderella of the Big Dance®. That exposure will likely pay dividends—not only for Butler, but for our city and the Hoosier State—for many years to come.
I hope you enjoy reading these and other stories in this edition of Butler Magazine.
Photo by Caitlin Sullivan