Vision isn’t just about seeing what’s immediately before us, but rather looking beyond the horizon and imagining the possibilities. Just as navigators once used the stars to chart their course, so too have educational institutions relied on visionaries to illuminate their path forward.
The cover of this magazine bears testament to such foresight—iconic Holcomb Observatory, a symbol of Butler University’s enduring quest for knowledge. In 1889, thanks to the vision and support of Joseph I. Irwin, a member of the Board of Trustees, Butler built its very first observatory—a modest metallic dome.
Decades later, in 1953, James Irving Holcomb and his wife, in celebrating the University’s centennial, magnified this vision, leading to the creation of an observatory designed for both the public and the student body. As time moved on, our pursuit to push boundaries continued. By 1997, we had revolutionized our gaze into the great expanse, making it possible to discern celestial wonders fainter than the human eye could ever perceive. From foundational courses to groundbreaking research, our observatory hasn’t just been a structure; it’s been a testament to our relentless drive to look beyond, to see more, and to understand the vastness that surrounds us.
In April 2024, our campus will find itself directly in the path of totality during a total solar eclipse—a phenomenon of remarkable rarity. Anticipating the influx of attention and distinction this event will bring both Indianapolis and Butler, we are well down the path of magnifying our presence, given the reputation both Butler and the Holcomb Observatory have garnered as pioneers in astronomical studies.
Dive into this magazine’s interview with Professor Brian Murphy for a deeper exploration of this celestial event.
As our horizons expand, another transformative vision is coming to life with the inauguration of a new college as detailed in this issue. The 2019 launch of the Butler Beyond strategy underscored a key tenet of our educational aspirations: the “Founding Mission” model of education. This was inspired by a bold challenge I put forward—to develop a $10,000 degree, a concept that epitomized our commitment to developing accessible and economically viable educational pathways. Building upon the proven success of the Come To Believe model, and thanks to the vision, commitment, and relentless work of many faculty and staff, Butler is now on its way to providing an affordable degree for those who could not otherwise attend Butler, reflective of the 1855 vision of Ovid Butler.
Your unwavering support and commitment are the cornerstones of our success, and, together, we will continue to envision and shape the future of Butler University.