It started with $100. Kent ’94 and Brittney (Howard) ’94 Greer loved their years at Butler, and it felt wrong not to give to the place that had molded them both and provided a backdrop for the beginning of their relationship. He first spotted her at Atherton Union (where he proclaimed to buddies, “I’m marrying that woman”).
“Everyone at Butler went out of their way to help you, whether it was professors, teaching assistants, or even the people in the cafeteria,” Kent says. “It felt like an extension of being at home. Professors cared about your well-being. The professors who knew that you cared made the experience better because they were open to teaching you and pushing you.”
After stints in Columbus, Ohio, and then Chicago’s northern suburbs, they found their way back to Indianapolis and donated that first $100 to the University in the early 2000s. Occasional Butler basketball tickets led to the purchase of season tickets. From there, they participated in the Hinkle renovation and Lacy School of Business fundraising campaigns.
“We were seeing the growth of the University,” Kent says. “We thought, ‘We had so much fun while we were there. Let’s be part of the growth as well.’”
He joined the Central Indiana Alumni Association board, then the Alumni Board of Directors. And he and Brittney established what has become The Family Reunion, a massive annual Homecoming tailgate party outside the Sellick Bowl where the Greers buy and cook the food and students can meet alumni and network or just have a meal together.
“We want students to have a place to come see alumni who love the University,” Kent says.
For the Greers, what started with a $100 alumni gift has grown into “if there’s a need, let’s talk about where the need is or what project the campus is working on.”
And now for their next project: tackling student debt. They’re working with friends to endow a scholarship fund for talented students who otherwise couldn’t afford Butler. While Kent came to Butler on a football scholarship and Brittney had received a partial academic scholarship, she graduated with a huge loan to pay off and knows what a burden that can be.
“Even if it’s one or two students that we can help to alleviate that burden, that’s the ‘why’ behind why we want to do this.”