“Homecoming is a time to celebrate our Butler pride, and while it’s been a difficult year in so many ways, we certainly still have many reasons to celebrate,” said President James Danko during a virtual event for the Butler University community on Friday afternoon.
Inside Butler: An On-Campus Update kicked off a weekend of online festivities for AT HOMEcoming 2020. The event provided an inside look at life on campus this semester, including updates from President Danko and other University leaders on how Butler has adapted and continues to provide an excellent educational experience despite COVID-19 restrictions.
“I do want to commend our students, faculty, and staff for their remarkable resilience and the flexibility they have demonstrated this year,” President Danko said. “We can all be extremely proud of the way this community has come together and exhibited the true nature of The Butler Way through acts of caring, sacrifice, and generosity. I also want to extend my deep appreciation for our alumni, trustees, donors, and friends. Your loyalty, leadership, and concern for the well-being of our students has been a source of great stability and strength for Butler this year.”
The community also heard from Dr. Terri Jett, Professor of Political Science and Butler’s Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity, who was recently appointed Faculty Director of the Butler University Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement.
“My work will coordinate and address the belonging and connection of our Black faculty, staff, students, and alumni,” Dr. Jett said of the new role, “in a manner that moves us to bring Ovid Butler’s prophetic vision into the present day.”
Dr. Jett provided updates on Butler’s efforts to eliminate racism on campus and create a welcoming environment for all, including the recent addition of a Social Justice and Diversity requirement for students, as well as ongoing faculty and staff workshops focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Dr. Frank E. Ross III, Vice President for Student Affairs, shared how Butler has continued to engage students outside the classroom this semester. Many activities have adapted, moving either online or outdoors. Student support centers across campus, such as the Center for Faith and Vocation, the Diversity Center, and Health Services, have also worked hard to continue providing important resources.
“This semester is certainly unlike any other semester we have seen at Butler, and navigating the uncertainties of the pandemic has been quite a challenge,” Dr. Ross said. “I want to applaud our students, our faculty, and our staff for their resilience and agility in working together toward our goal of having a successful in-person fall semester.”
Butler Basketball fans who tuned in got to hear from Athletics Director Barry Collier ’76 that, as of now, the winter season is on. The men’s basketball season is scheduled to begin November 25.
Jonathan Purvis, Vice President of Advancement, thanked donors for their tremendous support over the last year, including $100,000 in emergency relief for Butler students hit hardest by the financial impact of COVID-19. He also announced that the University has exceeded $185 million in gifts toward Butler Beyond’s $250 million campaign goal.
“With your ongoing generosity,” Purvis said, “I’m confident that we’ll exceed this goal and continue to push Butler beyond the limits of today and into the future that our alumni, students, and faculty are creating.”
President Danko wrapped up the event by recognizing the recipients of Butler’s 2020 Alumni Awards, which honor individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary professional achievement and service to the University and their communities.