Kurt Mahrdt grew up a few blocks from Butler’s campus and attended elementary school at 49th and Boulevard, across the street from Hinkle Fieldhouse. Beginning around the fourth grade, Mahrdt recalls using Butler’s athletics facilities to play basketball, football, and baseball with his neighborhood friends after school. Tony Hinkle was often nearby, overseeing practice for one of the varsity teams he coached.
“I have great memories of those times,” Mahrdt says. “Tony Hinkle would wave to us and say, ‘Hi, boys!’ and we respected him greatly. He was a fine man, I think the greatest college coach ever, being head coach of football, basketball, baseball, and the Athletic Director, too. So I’ve been a big Butler fan about as long as I can remember.”
Growing up in the shadow of Hinkle Fieldhouse and attending summer classes at Butler in 1955 left a strong impression on Mahrdt’s life. His wife, Linda, also took undergraduate classes at Butler, majoring in History. Together, they have been basketball season ticket holders for many years, and their affection for Athletics has led to their philanthropic support of the University more broadly. Along with a major gift to support the renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse in 2012, the Mahrdts contributed significantly to the construction of a new facility for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business. They are one of 13 Founders Circle donor families who provided leadership support for the construction of what is now Dugan Hall.
“I’ve always liked Butler, and it wasn’t just Athletics. Butler is Indianapolis to me. So I felt it was important to back what Butler was doing—expanding, renovating, greatly enhancing the scholastics. I am not a Butler grad, and Andre Lacy was not either, but his great gift to the School of Business inspired me and I’m sure many others. I feel like I was fortunate enough to be able to make these contributions, and I wanted to give back to Indianapolis.”
Mahrdt earned his Economics degree from DePauw in 1956 and a few years later went back to graduate school at the University of Florida majoring in real estate. He returned to Indiana to begin his real estate career with F.C. Tucker Co., and later began his own commercial real estate development company called Mahrdt Properties, Inc. He is still working, along with several family members who have joined the business.
“It’s still something that I love to do,” Mahrdt says.
The Mahrdts, who will celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary later this year, recently made a gift to establish the Kurt and Linda Mahrdt Men’s Basketball Manager Endowed Scholarship. Kurt served as a basketball manager his first year at DePauw and says he knows how hard the managers work to support the team.
“I thought they were deserving and needed a little recognition for what they do,” Mahrdt says.
The scholarship will be awarded for the first time during the 2023–2024 academic year, giving the Mahrdts another student to root for in addition to the active roster when the new season gets underway next fall. Though the Mahrdts now spend their winters in Florida, Kurt travels back to the familiar neighborhood of his childhood to watch home games in person.
“I hate to miss a game,” Mahrdt says. “Watching it on TV is all right, but there’s just nothing like the atmosphere in Hinkle Fieldhouse. It’s a special place.”