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Elements Financial
Butler Beyond

Butler University and Elements Financial Partner to Provide New Student Financial Literacy Program

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Apr 08 2021

Butler University and its credit union partner, Elements Financial, are teaming up to promote student financial literacy through a new online training program called FinancialEdu. The program, which launched in January, is designed to provide students with foundational knowledge on topics such as student loans, credit cards, budgeting, and saving. The program is just one piece of an overall suite of financial wellness offerings provided by Elements to the Butler community as part of a robust corporate partnership, which began in 2016.

The student financial literacy training is the latest addition to the Career & Life Skills module of BU|BeWell, Butler’s holistic student experience framework built around eight dimensions of overall well-being. The new program was born out of conversations among a group of leaders in the Butler community determined to address the root causes of financial stress among students. After brainstorming discussions and a joint financial investment, Elements and Butler joined forces to offer the FinancialEdu training library to all Butler students, faculty, and staff. Beginning this academic year, the basic training module is now required for all first-year students.

“BU|BeWell is a proactive approach to well-being, not a reactive approach, so having this tool allows us to get out in front of this issue of financial stress for students,” says Josh Downing, Butler’s Director of Recreation and Wellness. “If we can get this training to first-year students and make it a requirement, we can provide them with foundational tools that will help them along their journey at Butler and through the rest of their lives. We’re grateful to be able to lean on the expertise provided by Elements Financial to bring this program to the Butler community.”

Kara Fischer, Elements’ Relationship Manager at Butler, already offers in-person financial wellness workshops, guest lectures in classes, and one-on-one consultations for Butler students and employees on a variety of financial topics including financial life after college, understanding credit, investment fundamentals, and more. Downing says BU|BeWell stakeholders across campus are becoming familiar with the additional training modules available within the FinancialEdu program, and he foresees the online training modules building upon the in-person offerings to better prepare students for life after Butler.

The financial literacy training works hand-in-hand with other efforts across campus to address student financial stress, including the Office of Financial Aid’s commitment to educating students about over-borrowing to finance their education, the Butler Emergency Assistance Fund, a recent freeze on tuition, and a new scholarship established by Randy and Libby Brown to provide support to current Butler students who are financing their education primarily through student loans. Together, Butler and Elements aim to prepare students for a lifetime of financial wellness.

“We’re proud to partner with Butler University in multiple ways,” says Ron Senci, Executive Vice President at Elements Financial. “Most important to us is working with faculty, staff, and students in the area of financial wellness education. This connection allows us to empower the Butler community to achieve personal financial success, which is our core purpose at Elements Financial. It’s been exciting to see our relationship grow year over year, since it formally began in 2016, and we look forward to creating new initiatives with Butler.”

The partnership exemplifies the purpose and potential of the University’s efforts to forge new collaborative relationships in the community through its Butler Beyond comprehensive campaign and strategic direction. Along with the new financial literacy training and the existing financial wellness workshops, Elements has invested extensively in Butler’s educational mission through sponsorships and philanthropic donations that have touched nearly every part of campus life.

In total, Elements is investing more than $400,000 in the Butler community through a range of initiatives including an endowed scholarship for students studying in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and capital support for the new facility housing the Andre B. Lacy School of Business. Elements Financial also serves as sponsor of the Butler Magazine, the annual faculty staff picnic, and Bulldog Boulevard during Homecoming, and is the exclusive provider of the Butler-branded VISA® debit card and the Butler University Rewards VISA® Credit Card.

“Butler University is fortunate to have such an engaged and committed partner in Elements Financial,” says Butler Vice President for Advancement Jonathan Purvis. “Since our partnership began in 2016, Elements has become increasingly invested in the Butler community, not only financially, but also through their support of a broad range of initiatives across campus. It has been gratifying to see this relationship grow to the point of co-developing this financial literacy training for students. We are extremely grateful for the holistic nature of our partnership with Elements Financial.”

 

About Elements Financial
Elements Financial is a diversified federal credit union with assets of more than $2.0 billion and 100,000+ members in all 50 states and 50 foreign countries. As a financial wellness provider, Elements serves individuals through our original sponsor, Eli Lilly and Company, and more than 150 companies across Indiana and nationally. Beyond our Elements branches in Central Indiana, we provide access to more than 5,000 shared branch locations nationally and 78,000 surcharge-free ATMs globally. Elements Wealth Management is a full-service investment management and financial planning firm with $900 million in assets under management. Elements is known for higher deposit rates, lower loan rates, and fewer fees. Join us at
elements.org to learn more. Federally Insured by the NCUA

About Butler Beyond
Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, with a goal of $250 million to support student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.

Elements Financial
Butler Beyond

Butler University and Elements Financial Partner to Provide New Student Financial Literacy Program

FinancialEdu is designed to provide students with foundational knowledge on topics such as student loans, credit cards, budgeting, and saving

Apr 08 2021 Read more
Butler University
Campus

Butler University Welcomes Two New Trustees

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 31 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Butler University appointed two new members to its Board of Trustees during its February meeting. Andrew Greenlee ’90 and Chris Miskel ’96 will each serve three-year terms beginning June 3, 2021.

“We are fortunate to have two distinguished alumni from Butler’s Lacy School of Business join our Board of Trustees,” Butler University President James M. Danko said. “They are highly effective leaders who have excelled in their careers, and Butler University will benefit greatly from their presence on our board.”

Chris Miskel ’96

Chris Miskel is president and CEO of Versiti, a midwestern non-profit organization with 2,100+ employees that serves customers nationally in transfusion medicine and esoteric diagnostic testing; conducts internationally renowned blood research; and serves patients in need of blood products, as well as organ and tissue transplant. The organization exceeds $300M in revenue annually.

Prior to joining Versiti, Chris served as Group Vice President and Global Immunology Franchise Head at Shire, helping to bring medicines to patients around the world and shaping the strategy for a $2.5 billion biopharmaceutical franchise. In a previous role at Baxalta, Chris was Vice President of Plasma Strategy and New Product Development.

Chris began his career with Eli Lilly & Company in 1996 as a Business Analyst before going on to hold a succession of positions, culminating in his appointment as General Manager of Lilly Australia and New Zealand.

Chris earned a B.S. in Accounting from Butler’s Lacy School of Business (LSB) in 1996 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2000. He is a member of the LSB Dean’s Advisory Council, and a former member of the Young Alumni Board, the Central Indiana Community Steering Committee, and the Alumni Board. Chris was a member of the Butler men’s basketball team and he and his wife are current season ticket holders. An engaged alumnus, Chris is a past recipient of the Hilton U. Brown Alumni Achievement Award and a joint recipient with his wife, Nicole, of the Foundation Award.

 

Andrew Greenlee ’90

Andy Greenlee is the President & CEO of US Farathane, LLC, a global leader in the automotive industry. US Farathane is a high-end plastics company offering wide ranging technologies, processes and expertise. When Andy joined US Farathane in 1996, there were 300 employees with $25 million in revenue and two Michigan locations. US Farathane is now a global leader with approximately $1 billion in revenue and 5,500 employees. They have 16 locations in the United States, China and Mexico. US Farathane has garnered the top awards in the industry by being named Supplier of the Year with General Motors, FCA and Honda. Andy has been the President & CEO since 1999. Prior to that, he was in fast-track positions with Honeywell and Cooper Industries.

In 2015, US Farathane partnered with The Gores Group. The partnership has been highly successful, and US Farathane’s organic growth continues to far outpace the industry, and the culture and spirit have remained intact.

Andy earned his Bachelor Degree in Marketing from Butler University’s Lacy School of Business in 1990 and an MBA in Finance from the University of Detroit in 1994. He was named to Crain’s Detroit Business “40 under 40” list in 2005. He is also a past recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Andy is honored to be a Founders Circle Member, contributing to the construction of the new Lacy School of Business building. Originally from Columbus, Indiana, Andy, his wife and children currently split time between Lake Angelus, Michigan and Vero Beach, Florida.

 

Media Contact:
Mark Apple
mapple1@butler.edu
317-519-8592

About Butler University
Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,600 undergraduate and 800 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 45 states and 30 countries. More than 75 percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, and Butler students have had significant success after graduation, as demonstrated by the University’s 98 percent placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

Butler University
Campus

Butler University Welcomes Two New Trustees

Andrew Greenlee ’90 and Chris Miskel ’96 will each serve three-year terms beginning June 3, 2021

Mar 31 2021 Read more
Butler University
Student-Centered

Butler University to Provide COVID-19 Vaccine to Students on Campus

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 30 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Butler University will offer free COVID-19 vaccinations to all students, beginning next week. If enough vaccine remains following student vaccinations, Butler will make it available to faculty and staff.

Butler was informed late last week by the Indiana Department of Health that the State would make doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine available to colleges and universities across Indiana, with the goal of vaccinating as many students as possible prior to the end of the semester. Out-of-state residents and international students are also eligible for the program.

Butler students who choose to participate will receive the first dose April 7–9 in the Efroymson Family Gymnasium in Hinkle Fieldhouse; the second dose will be administered May 4–6 in the Health and Recreation Complex on campus, immediately following Finals Week but prior to Commencement Ceremonies and students departing campus. Students in Butler’s renowned College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will assist in administering the vaccines.

“We appreciate the Indiana Department of Health for partnering with us to make this vaccine available,” said Brent Rockwood, Vice President and Chief of Staff at Butler. “This will have a tremendous impact on our efforts to establish herd immunity on our campus, and will allow us to more safely restore a full campus experience in the fall.”

At this time, Butler is not requiring students to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The University is, however, highly encouraging students to participate in the on-campus vaccination program. Rockwood indicated that vaccinations may be required of students for fall 2021.
 

Media Contact:
Mark Apple
mapple1@butler.edu
317-519-8592

About Butler University
Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,600 undergraduate and 800 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 45 states and 30 countries. More than 75 percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, and Butler students have had significant success after graduation, as demonstrated by the University’s 98 percent placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

Butler University
Student-Centered

Butler University to Provide COVID-19 Vaccine to Students on Campus

First doses will be administered from April 7–9, and second doses from May 4–6

Mar 30 2021 Read more
Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh
Campus

Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh Named Interim Dean of the College of Communication

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 29 2021

Dr. Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh has been named the Interim Dean of Butler University’s College of Communication (CCOM), effective April 1. Geertsema-Sligh has served as Director of the Eugene S. Pulliam School of Journalism and Creative Media since June 2016.

Geertsema-Sligh joined Butler in August 2005 as an Assistant Professor and received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2011. She was promoted to Professor in 2017 and holds the Richard M. Fairbanks Chair of Communication. She served as Director of Global and Historical Studies for four years before her appointment as Director of the Pulliam School of Journalism and Creative Media. Geertsema-Sligh’s teaching and research focus on global media, gender and news, and global women’s issues. 

“I am delighted that Margaretha is stepping into this new role as Interim Dean and I know that she will provide excellent leadership for the college during this time of transition,” says Dr. Brooke Barnett, the current CCOM Dean who was recently named Butler’s Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “She has already made a tremendous impact as Director of the Pulliam School of Journalism and Creative Media and I look forward to seeing the ways she continues to shape and support the CCOM community.”

During her time as Director of the Pulliam School of Journalism and Creative Media, Geertsema-Sligh provided leadership for majors in Creative Media and Entertainment, Journalism, Music Industry Studies, Sports Media, and Web Design and Development. She worked closely with faculty in each of these programs to implement curricular changes over the past years. In addition to her work as Director, Geertsema-Sligh served as chair of CCOM’s Professional Standards Committee, International Committee, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Intercultural Development Committee. She was also a member of President James Danko’s Faculty Advisory Committee.

Geertsema-Sligh earned her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from North-West University in South Africa, where she worked for five years in journalism and public relations before coming to the United States to attend graduate school. She received her master’s degree in Communication from Washington State University and her doctorate in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

“I am excited to serve CCOM as the Interim Dean until a permanent Provost has been appointed,” Geertsema-Sligh says. “I definitely have some big shoes to fill with Dr. Brooke Barnett’s move to the position of Interim Provost. I look forward to working closely with the talented faculty and staff of our college to ensure the best experiences for students in all the CCOM majors and across the University.”
 

Media Contact:
Mark Apple
mapple1@butler.edu
317-519-8592

Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh
Campus

Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh Named Interim Dean of the College of Communication

Geertsema-Sligh had served as Director of the Eugene S. Pulliam School of Journalism and Creative Media since 2016

Mar 29 2021 Read more
Butler University
Butler Beyond

Butler Receives Nearly $10 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc.

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 25 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Butler University will receive nearly $10 million from Lilly Endowment, Inc. (the Endowment) as part of the Endowment’s Charting The Future of Indiana’s Colleges and Universities (CTF) education initiative, Butler President James M. Danko announced today. The grant will help fund initiatives in the University’s Butler Beyond strategic direction.

This is the third phase of funding from the Endowment’s CTF initiative, launched with the hope that it will help the leaders of Indiana’s 38 colleges and universities engage in further thoughtful discernment about the future of their institutions and advance the speed of their strategic planning and implementation efforts to address their key challenges and opportunities. The Endowment has made a total of more than $138 million available to schools across Indiana through the initiative. Butler received $2.75 million during the first two phases, bringing the total received from the Endowment to nearly $13 million over the past 12 months.

“Indiana’s colleges and universities face myriad challenges as they work to fulfill their educational missions while adapting to growing financial pressures, rapid demographic and technological changes, and evolving needs and demands of students,” Ted Maple, the Endowment’s vice president for education, said. “We are pleased with the creative and collaborative approaches the colleges and universities are taking to address these challenges and seize opportunities to better serve their students, institutions, communities and the state of Indiana.”  

“I am extremely grateful for Lilly Endowment’s generous investment in Butler University’s strategic direction,” Danko said. “Despite the pandemic, Butler is making significant progress in implementing its current strategy, Butler Beyond. When an organization of Lilly Endowment’s stature and prestige recognizes and rewards our vision and progress, it is quite motivating. It affirms that Butler is making a difference in higher education, and that we can have an even greater impact in the future.”

The Butler Beyond Strategic Direction, launched in 2019, was premised on a dual transformation strategy for the University. It is focused on both enhancing the traditional, high-quality residential undergraduate education for which Butler is known, while also expanding its capabilities to create new educational models and ventures aimed at serving a non-traditional student population.

Danko said the grant will enable Butler to:

  • expand its educational impact beyond traditional, full-time residential students, primarily to include adult and professional learners;
  • invest in the creation of new academic programs and alternative credentials—often in collaboration with corporations and economic development initiatives—that align with the region’s workforce development needs and offer greater opportunity to attract diverse learners;
  • support the creation and success of emerging postsecondary and workforce-related organizations poised to transform education, both within the state and across the country; and
  • maintain its position as an educational leader, despite the long-term challenges higher education is experiencing, through the generation of new sources of revenue.


“Expanding our efforts to better serve adult and online learners will support our undergraduate efforts by strengthening our ties with the regional business community, bringing a wider audience—both physically and virtually—to Butler, and increasing the educational impact of the University,” said Danko.

Butler will use grant proceeds to create a Division of Professional Studies, which will deliver a variety of new, high-quality non-traditional programs focused on professionally-oriented learners.

Beyond program development, Butler will use funding to spur entrepreneurial activity among the postsecondary and workforce-aligned organizations positioned to transform higher education. This includes the creation of collaborative, statewide effort between universities, venture capitalists, education-focused entrepreneurs, and technologists. 

“Institutions of higher education must reinvent themselves if they want to remain relevant and thrive in the 21st century,” Danko said. “Whether through the development of new programs or new, mission-aligned ventures, we will expand our reach and, ultimately, our impact. This grant from Lilly Endowment will help us achieve our goals more quickly.”
 

Media Contact:
Mark Apple
mapple1@butler.edu
317-519-8592

About Butler University
Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,600 undergraduate and 800 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 45 states and 30 countries. More than 75 percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, and Butler students have had significant success after graduation, as demonstrated by the University’s 98 percent placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Butler University
Butler Beyond

Butler Receives Nearly $10 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc.

The grant will help fund initiatives in the University’s Butler Beyond strategic direction

Mar 25 2021 Read more
Butler University
Butler Experts

How Will March Madness® Affect Indy? Butler Experts Weigh In.

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Mar 18 2021

The 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament kicks off this week, and from the first game through the Final Four®, Indiana will play host to it all. With the majority of games happening right here in Indianapolis—and several at Butler University’s own Hinkle Fieldhouse—two experts from Butler’s Lacy School of Business share their thoughts on how the city might see impacts of the madness this month and for years to come.
 

Ronia HawashDr. Ronia Hawash
Assistant Professor of Economics

“I am excited that Indianapolis will be hosting the tournament, not only because some Hoosiers will be able to enjoy the games live, but also because Indianapolis will be in the national spotlight. The stream of visitors to these events—including team members, game spectators, support staff for teams, and media personnel—is also expected to positively impact the local economy.

The high inflow of non-residents to the city will likely increase spending on area hotels, restaurants, retail vendors, and rental car companies, in addition to public transportation and parking services. Moreover, we would expect that the number of visitors to Indianapolis tourism venues will increase. The initial projection of the economic impact was estimated at $100 million if no fans were allowed. But with the NCAA’s decision to allow up to 25 percent occupation of capacity for fans, the positive economic impact of hosting the event will be significantly greater.

Those effects will likely be felt long-term. Higher inflow spending in the city means higher tax revenues for the local government, which in turn is channeled into better, lasting services for local residents. Higher spending in certain industries will also increase local firms’ demand for labor, boosting employment opportunities and wages paid to the Indianapolis labor force. Because workers spend some of their incomes on goods and services, higher employment and wages is expected to induce the economy even more.

The tournament may also strengthen long-term tourist inflows to Indianapolis, as visitors become more aware of the city’s cultural, historical, and entertainment attractions.”
 

Dan McQuistonDr. Dan McQuiston
Associate Professor of Marketing

“I see this as a great opportunity for Indianapolis to showcase the things we do well—and sporting events are something we do extremely well. When we hosted the Super Bowl in 2012, for example, the whole city just turned out. There were so many people who wanted to volunteer. It was incredible.

Tournaments are great in Indy, in part because everything is right downtown. When you look at the venues we have—Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Hinkle Fieldhouse, and so on—the proximity of those locations makes it easy for guests to get around. And it’s not just the venues: It’s the organizational efforts from our people. We plan these things really well, and the whole idea of Hoosier Hospitality plays into that.

This will be a festive atmosphere, with people coming from all over the country. In between games, those fans can visit local attractions like the Indianapolis Zoo, the Children’s Museum, White River State Park, and so on. Maybe those people have never been to Indianapolis before, and maybe they’ll see that it’s a pretty neat place. Then, when they go on social media to talk about what a great time they had here, that type of thing can go viral.

We will also have all these media members in the city, and when they aren’t covering games, they will be looking for stories about Indianapolis.

This could be a real boon for the city. Indy has a great brand in terms of all the things we can offer. This just gives us a chance to showcase that, and I have every confidence we will do a great job.”
 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
Senior Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (mobile)

Butler University
Butler Experts

How Will March Madness® Affect Indy? Butler Experts Weigh In.

Two Lacy School of Business professors explain potential impacts of the basketball bubble

Mar 18 2021 Read more
Hanif Abdurraqib
Campus

Hanif Abdurraqib to Serve as Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Mar 17 2021

Hanif Abdurraqib seems to be everywhere these days—online and in bookstores with his new collection of essays; articles in The New York Times Magazine; on his podcast, Object of Sound; on social media; and on his music website, 68to05.com.

And, for the 2021–2022 school year, you’ll find him at Butler University, where he will serve as the Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence, teaching both graduate students in the MFA program and undergraduate English students. He’ll also present his work as part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

“I was at Butler in 2019 and loved the program,” says Abdurraqib, 37, who taught a poetry workshop. “I love the kind of writers the program focuses on and caters to, and I really believe in the vision and the work of everyone running the program. It’s a very writers-first program; it focuses on the writers. And there’s a real curiosity and eagerness in the students that I have not found anywhere else.”

Over the past five years, Abdurraqib has made a huge name for himself in literary circles as a poet, essayist, music critic, and cultural critic. The Washington Post called his book They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us “a definitive meditation on contemporary Black dying” and described his writing by saying “paragraphs open with piercing salvos, with sentences that move with hammering force and finish with finesse and flourish.”

But before that, he was a kid in Columbus, Ohio, the youngest of four, being shaped by his siblings and his hometown. His siblings exposed him to all kinds of music (among his favorites are The Clash, Sleater-Kinney, X-Ray Specs, A Tribe Called Quest, The New York Dolls and Little Richard), and he absorbed it all.

His hometown taught him warmth—“the way the people are with each other, the way people interact with each other, the generosity that people show toward each other has allowed me to look at the world with the type of gentleness that I desperately need.”

He started his writing career as a music critic, working for anyone who would pay him, and developed the ability to write passionately about what he heard.

“I learned to express excitement for the way music makes me feel and for the way music allows me to access and see the world differently than I do,” he says. “I think I approach my investment in music with a sense of wonder, and I want to take that approach always.”

In 2011, Abdurraqib fell in with the Columbus poetry crowd. “I felt for the first time that I was accessing work that was interesting and exciting to me and that I could touch on my own and do on my own,” he says.

His first book of poetry, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, came out in 2016, and by 2017 he could put the word “writer” as his occupation on his 1040 form. His book They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us came out that year, followed by Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest and A Fortune for Your Disaster in 2019, and on March 30, 2021, A Little Devil in America.

The new book is about the many modes of Black performance throughout U.S. history, Abdurraqib says.

“It feels like I wrote a book that feels celebratory,” he says just before the book launch. “It was so fun to write, and I’m excited that it’s coming out in the world, but I’m a little sad that I had to let it go because I had such a good time writing it.”

Abdurraqib describes himself as “curious, always seeking and excited about the potential for what can be. That defines me and defines my work, too. I’m always seeking and attempting to find my way toward something that makes sense—not necessarily on a search for answers but in a search to better understand the kind of happy predicaments that I stumble into.”

One of those is teaching. Abdurraqib taught briefly at the University of Iowa last year until COVID-19 hit. Then he moved back to Columbus. Meanwhile, Butler was looking for its fourth Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence (Michael Dahlie, who later joined the faculty, Alix Lambert, and Justin Taylor were the first three) and reached out to Abdurraqib.

“Right now, Hanif is a rock star of literature, and my suspicion is that in the next year or two, he’s going to get even bigger,” English Professor Dan Barden says. “So we’re grateful that he enjoys being part of our community.”

As a professor, Abdurraqib says, he’ll be interested in breaking down the hierarchy between educator and student and seeing what everyone can teach to one another.

“It’s important for me to stress that we’re going to have to push each other to be good, and it’s not just going to be me telling people what to do or what to write,” he says. “Hopefully, we’re going to be more thoughtful than that. That is my hope for being at Butler for the second time around.”

Hanif Abdurraqib
Campus

Hanif Abdurraqib to Serve as Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence

During Butler's 2021–2022 academic year, the well-known writer will teach undergraduate English and graduate MFA classes

Mar 17 2021 Read more
COPHS building, Butler University
Butler Beyond

Major Gift to College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Provides Updated Teaching Labs

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Mar 16 2021

Decker Family
Decker Family

Butler University recently received a $500,000 memorial gift from Margery “Midge” Decker ʼ66 and her family in memory of the late John W. Decker II ’67 that will provide renovations to two labs in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS) building this summer. The gift will fully fund the renovation of the Anatomy and Physiology lab and the Pharmacy skills lab to bring both spaces up to date with current technology and equipment and simulate professional healthcare settings. Fixed furniture in the labs will be removed to make the spaces more flexible for mixed-purpose use, with equipment that can be rearranged as needed. Both labs will now be permanently named in honor of John W. Decker II ʼ67.

“Our programs in the College have a strong reputation, and that comes both from dedicated faculty and the students we attract, but there also has to be the physical facilities that match the talent of our faculty and our students,” says Bob Soltis, COPHS Dean. “We always have to be reinvesting in physical facilities as much as we are in the faculty and the students, so this renovation is going to be very beneficial. Investing in our facilities continues to be just as important as investing in student scholarships and faculty development, and I’m very grateful for donors like Midge Decker who see the value in that investment.”

The Deckers’ gift has prompted conversations with other donors about further enhancing the Anatomy and Physiology lab through the addition of another 3D virtual dissection table, which would not have fit in the lab without the renovation—a stroke of fortuitous timing and generosity that will allow significantly more students to have access to this valuable advanced technology.

Decker family touring COPHS building

Meanwhile, the Pharmacy lab renovation will allow the space to be used to replicate a hospital pharmacy clean room, a retail pharmacy, and a compounding pharmacy, preparing students with a more realistic vision of what they might encounter in their professional practice.

“Healthcare education in general tends to move fast with adopting new technologies, so it’s always a challenge to stay up to date both with the equipment and the physical facilities that simulate either patient encounters in the exam room or what students might see in a hospital pharmacy clean room or in a retail pharmacy,” Soltis says. “What this gift has done in terms of impact is renovating those spaces to really make them relevant to the teaching and to the simulation of current professional settings our students will encounter in practice.”

Midge and John met at Butler in the 1960s when they were both studying to be pharmacists. After earning their degrees, the couple settled in Huntington, Indiana, where they built a life together, including raising their sons, J.R. and Brad. Along with extensive involvement in the community, they also owned their own independent drugstore, where they worked side by side as pharmacists. After selling the store, Midge and John both continued their work in retail pharmacy in the Huntington area and stayed engaged with Butler by serving as externship coordinators for Pharmacy students completing rotations in the area. One of their sons, J.R., also graduated from Butler with a Pharmacy degree, deepening the family’s connection with the Butler Pharmacy program.

John passed away in 2007, and Midge, now retired, moved back to Indianapolis in 2018. She says giving back was always a core value of their marriage and their life together, and they both credited Butler with preparing them for the careers they loved.

“The thought has always been in the back of my mind that I want to contribute to Butler, and with the campus being right in my backyard now, my attention turned more closely to Butler in recent years,” Decker says. “My time at Butler was really a good part of my life, and I say it was the springboard for the rest of my life. I’m really glad to be able to give back.”

The COPHS building was originally constructed in 1950 and received an addition in 2008-2009. There are no immediate plans for further renovations to the COPHS building, though Soltis has a number of projects in mind when funding becomes available. As the University undergoes a $100 million expansion and renovation of its Sciences complex as part of its Butler Beyond campaign, capital projects like these are designed to advance Butler’s strategic initiative to integrate business, science, innovation, and technology, preparing students with workforce-aligned skills for these high job-growth sectors of Indiana’s economy.

Decker says she and her family are glad to be able to contribute to a project that will benefit a broad number of students over many years. She says they are especially proud that future Pharmacy students will get to learn in a space that bears John’s name.

“That means the world to me, and to my family, because he was my world for 40 years. And the Pharmacy education that Butler gave us really gave us such a great start in life and enabled us to earn this money that we’re now able to give back to Butler,” Decker says. “It has worked out perfectly with the timing of the new Sciences building, and it’s dovetailed in so nicely with what was already going on at Butler. I’m very pleased with how it is all coming together.”


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
Senior Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (mobile)

COPHS building, Butler University
Butler Beyond

Major Gift to College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Provides Updated Teaching Labs

The $500,000 gift from Margery “Midge” Decker ʼ66 and her family will fully fund the renovation of the Anatomy and Physiology lab and the Pharmacy skills lab

Mar 16 2021 Read more
Butler University Food Pantry
Student-Centered

Butler University Launches Student Food Pantry

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Mar 12 2021

A new resource through the Butler University Volunteer Center aims to help alleviate food insecurity on campus.

The Butler Food Pantry opened this month in Atherton Union, Room 100. Staffed by student members of the University’s Volunteer Center, the pantry provides free, nonperishable food packages for any Butler student in need of assistance.

“Combating food insecurity is an important way for us to support student success and ensure all students can thrive,” says Dr. Frank E. Ross, Vice President for Student Affairs. “The Butler Food Pantry meets a fundamental need, enabling students to focus on what matters most: a robust educational experience. Students nationwide are facing food insecurity, and that need has been exacerbated by the pandemic. I am grateful that the Food Pantry is here to serve and support Butler students’ holistic well-being.”

The basic needs of college students have received more attention from researchers in recent years, with many studies examining factors such as hunger. According to the College & University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA), about 30 percent of college students experience food insecurity, and recent surveys administered by Butler’s Division of Student Affairs have shown this issue also impacts students at Butler. The new Food Pantry is dedicated to providing free, nutritious foods to help students thrive.

Packages are distributed on Wednesdays and Fridays every other week, and all Butler students are eligible to request one box per distribution week. Students in need of food assistance can place orders in advance, indicating their desired pick-up time, box size, and dietary needs. The Volunteer Center is committed to maintaining the privacy of students who utilize the Food Pantry, and all staff members have signed confidentiality agreements.

Those who would like to support the pantry will have the opportunity to do so, either through monetary gifts or the donation of food items.

The new resource has been in the works for a little over a year, starting in late 2019 with assessments that found a demonstrated need for food assistance among Butler students. Caroline Huck-Watson, Executive Director of Student Involvement & Leadership at Butler, also attended local workshops on launching food pantries, conducted research to learn about similar services at other universities, and referenced national resources such as CUFBA.

“This is something I personally feel very passionate about, and there have been students and other staff who have also felt very passionate about this, so it’s exciting to see this come to fruition,” Huck-Watson says.

Throughout the process, Huck-Watson has partnered with Brooke Blevins, a Butler senior who serves as Student Director of the Volunteer Center. The Human Communication and Organizational Leadership major, who initially got involved with the Volunteer Center through a Fall Alternative Break trip in her first semester, says volunteering and service have shaped her time at Butler. That experience has culminated this year in her leadership of the Food Pantry, which she has been able to turn into both an internship and the focus of her Honors thesis.

“This project has really consumed my life in the best way possible,” Blevins says. “Working on the Food Pantry has been incredible. I’m grateful for the chance to put my time and energy into something so useful, and I’ve already been hearing from students who are so excited about this resource.”

In addition to assisting with research on best practices for campus food pantries, Blevins has helped train the Volunteer Center students who are staffing the pantry, plan logistics for box packing and pick-ups, and spread the word about the new service. She has enjoyed learning more about what goes on behind the scenes to develop, launch, and communicate about a campus-wide initiative. The experience has gone hand-in-hand with her academic studies.

“In my major-related classes, so much of it is just learning about effective ways that groups work together, and effective ways to communicate different ideas,” she says. “Having that background and textbook knowledge has been very applicable to working with so many different people to get things done and get this resource up and running as quickly as possible.”

Huck-Watson says the Food Pantry will continue to evolve based on feedback. All students who use the service will be invited to complete surveys about their experience, which will help staff members learn more about how to meet needs effectively. And while the current pick-up-only system was developed with pandemic restrictions in mind, the team plans to adapt to any changing safety protocols over the coming months to find what works best for Butler.

“This resource is vital when we think about a person’s basic needs—what they need to be successful in their everyday lives, academic lives, and co-curricular lives,” Huck-Watson says. “The ability to help students supplement those needs, and hopefully to remove some of the stress that’s involved with food insecurity, is so important.”


To make a monetary donation to the Butler University Food Pantry, click here.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
Senior Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Butler University Food Pantry
Student-Centered

Butler University Launches Student Food Pantry

Organized by the Volunteer Center, the new program provides support for students in need of food assistance

Mar 12 2021 Read more
Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler University
Innovation

New Book Follows Butler’s Growth After Back-to-Back Final Four Appearances

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Mar 12 2021

In 2010 and 2011, the Butler University men’s basketball team made back-to-back runs to the national championship game of the NCAA tournament—the smallest school to reach the final in modern history. A year later, Graham Honaker joined Butler’s Advancement team and began watching the University grow.

“I came to Butler just after those back-to-back Final Fours, and every year, I saw this transformation of what was, at one time, a small and relatively unknown school in the Midwest,” Honaker said in a recent webinar moderated by Jeff Blade ’83. “Butler saw growth in facilities, growth in applications, and growth in philanthropy. And I thought, ‘this is a really unique story.’”

Graham Honaker and Jerry Logan
Graham Honaker (left) and Jerry Logan (right)

So, he decided to write it down.

Honaker, who is now Butler’s Executive Director of Principal Gifts, partnered with Jerry Logan, the Director of Academic Operations at Gordon College who first visited Butler in 2017 for a PhD project about how athletic success can impact universities. The two combined their work to co-author The Cinderella Strategy: The Game Plan Behind Butler University’s Rise to Prominence. Released earlier this month, the book shares the story of Butler’s recent successes—both on and off the court.

Butler’s journey to the Final Four began as early as the 1980s, when a strategy emerged to devote more resources to the men’s basketball program. Leaders invested in a renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse, higher coaching salaries, new marketing efforts, and other basketball-focused initiatives, hoping the team’s success would boost Butler’s overall reputation.

But that didn’t distract from the University’s dedication to providing high-quality learning experiences and building a strong sense of community on campus—instead, athletics and academics shared a unified mission. By the time the men’s basketball team was on its way to the championship game, Butler leaders were ready to make the most of the opportunity.

The Cinderella Strategy explains how Butler seized the national attention that came with its Final Four runs to elevate the University as a whole. Through marketing, fundraising, and other efforts, Butler saw its reputation transform over the next several years.

The Cinderella Strategy“Butler moved quickly and aggressively to take advantage of the opportunity and use the momentum to catalyze a number of existing initiatives and strategic choices,” Logan explains.

The number of students applying for admission to Butler University has more than doubled in the last decade. In 2009, the University received 6,247 applications. That number jumped to 9,682 in 2012—immediately following the Final Four runs—a 55 percent increase in just three years. By 2018, applications peaked at 16,430, an amazing 163 percent increase over 2009, the year prior to the first trip to the Final Four.

Butler received an estimated $1.2 billion in media coverage from the championship runs, Honaker says, and its endowment has risen by $100 million since 2011. The University has also seen an increase in significant gifts, allowing for new scholarship funds and major renovations to campus infrastructure—even during a difficult era for higher education. Annual fundraising totals rose from an average of $18.9 million per year from 2010-2015 to an average of $34.7 million per year from 2015-2020.

The back-to-back Final Four appearances also resulted in an invitation for Butler to join the BIG EAST conference for athletics, which has significantly increased national television exposure for the University.

Honaker says Butler’s story offers a case study of how complex organizations can balance risk and patience to multiply success while staying true to their core identities.

To learn more about The Cinderella Strategy, visit thecinderellastrategy.com. The book is available now from Pediment Publishing.



Media Contact:
Mark Apple
Interim Director of Strategic Communications
mapple1@butler.edu
317-519-8592

Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler University
Innovation

New Book Follows Butler’s Growth After Back-to-Back Final Four Appearances

Co-authored by Butler’s own Graham Honaker, The Cinderella Strategy explains how a basketball program’s success led to University-wide progress

Mar 12 2021 Read more
Butler Blue IV, Mayor of March
Campus

Butler Blue to Become Mayor of March, Presiding Over City’s Hoops Madness

BY Michael Kaltenmark

PUBLISHED ON Mar 01 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—He is the Butler Bulldog, Indy’s four-legged ambassador, the undisputed State Dawg, a model among all live mascots, and now, Butler Blue IV has assumed yet another title: the Mayor of March.

As the entirety of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament descends upon the city and state this March, including games at Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse, Blue is stepping up to make sure his followers around the country don’t miss a minute of the Madness.

“Blue already represents all of the best parts of NCAA Basketball,” said Evan Krauss, Blue’s handler and Senior Marketing Manager at Butler. “Combine that with the love of his hometown, Indianapolis, and you have a slam dunk.”

Blue will employ a four-paw’d approach as the Mayor of March, acting as part host, part ambassador, part reporter, and part college hoops fanatic. So, in addition to his prolific presence on social media, the young English bulldog will be readily visible around Indianapolis during the month. 

As a Dawg about town, Blue will attend fan rallies hosted by Indiana Sports Corp., participate in community events organized by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, extend hospitality to guests and visiting media with Visit Indy, and much more.

But the I-465 loop won’t be fencing this Dawg in. With opening-round games in Bloomington and West Lafayette, Blue will also load up the BlueMobile and hit the road. From north to south, Blue will be out to get the scoops on hoops while capturing the sights, sounds, and smells of March from the Hoosier state.

“Our live Bulldog mascots are no strangers to road trips,” Krauss said. “We’ve covered thousands of miles over the last several years on the heels of the Butler Basketball team to surprise prospective students, visit alumni, and spread some Butler cheer. This is a continuation of that, but with a special focus on our own backyard. I think Blue was born for March in Indy!”

And born not long ago, Blue made his campus debut before a Butler Men’s Basketball game on January 24, 2020, with a sold-out Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd in attendance. Now, that same historic hoops cathedral will play host to first- and second-round games, as well as a share of the Sweet Sixteen matchups for this year’s NCAA Tournament. 

One of just six game sites, Butler University is proud to have Hinkle serve in such a prominent capacity for this year’s Tournament. And known for its NCAA Tournament success in recent years, including consecutive Final Four and national championship game appearances in 2010 and 2011, Butler is embracing it’s latest role as a host of Tournament play.

Fans are encouraged to follow @TheButlerBlue and #MayorOfMarch on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for additional Butler Blue IV content.
 

About the Butler Blue Live Mascot Program
An idea was born the first time a bulldog shimmied into the offices of the Butler Collegian in 1919. The idea would lift the spirits of the student body and instill pride in alumni for decades. Today, the idea is stronger than ever. Since 2000, Butler Blue has been the face of Butler University, a champion of education, an advocate for the arts and sciences, a fervent supporter of student-athletes, and cultural influencer. Butler Blue is, and always will be, the four-legged embodiment of The Butler Way.
 

Media Contact:
Mark Apple
Interim Director of Strategic Communications
mapple1@butler.edu
317-519-8592
 



Mayor of MarchButler Blue IV, official mascot of Butler University, proclaims himself the Mayor of March

TO ALL WHOM THESE HOOPS MAY COME, GREETINGS:

WHEREAS, the State of Indiana, and primarily the City of Indianapolis, will host the entirety of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, thus becoming the epicenter of March Madness®.

WHEREAS, I, Butler Blue IV, am an AKC-registered, live English bulldog mascot representing Butler University, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the fourth in succession among a line of nationally recognized Butler Bulldog mascots.

WHEREAS, I, Butler Blue IV, am the host of hosts; the heartwarming host of Hinkle Fieldhouse, and the honorable hoops host to hardwood hobbyists around the globe.

WHEREAS, I, Butler Blue IV, am an ambassador, or Ambassa-Dawg, officially representing my school, my city, my state, and my game as doggy diplomat.

WHEREAS, I, Butler Blue IV, am a reporter, or repawter, offering scoops on hoops, along with ears-up, eyes-wide, nose-to-the-ground, and tail-wagging observations of collegiate mascot life.

WHEREAS, I, Butler Blue IV, a bone-a-fide college hoops fanatic, a beast of brackets, mongrel of madness, Dawg of dunks, rover of rebounds, pupper of put-backs, and bully of buzzer-beaters.

WHEREAS, Butler University, home of historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, is a nationally recognized university, rated by U.S. News as the No. 1 Regional University in the Midwest and No. 1 Most Innovative School, featuring six academic colleges, and known for small class sizes, student access to faculty, real-world internships experiences, research opportunities, and an educational experience that provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in life after college.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BUTLER BLUE IV, OFFICIAL MASCOT OF BUTLER UNIVERSITY, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM MYSELF TO BE:

MAYOR OF MARCH

On the campus of Butler University, in the City of Indianapolis, throughout the State of Indiana, and wherever college hoops are revered and celebrated, I ask all fans of basketball to join in this observance.

 

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I HAVE
HEREUNTO SET MY PAW AND CAUSED TO
BE AFFIXED THE SEAL OF THE
MAYOR OF MARCH ON THIS 1ST DAY OF
MARCH IN THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND TWENTY ONE.

 



 

BUTLER BLUE IV
MAYOR OF MARCH
MASCOT, BUTLER UNIVERSITY

Butler Blue IV, Mayor of March
Campus

Butler Blue to Become Mayor of March, Presiding Over City’s Hoops Madness

Butler’s live bulldog mascot is seizing the opportunity to be more than just host of Hinkle

Mar 01 2021 Read more
Clowes Hall plaza project rendering
Butler Beyond

Butler Receives $1M Grant from Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation for Modernization of Clowes Memorial Hall

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Feb 26 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation (AWCCF) has awarded Butler University a $1 million grant to support the modernization of Clowes Memorial Hall, the anchor performing arts venue of the Butler Arts & Events Center (BAEC). The grant will enable the BAEC to address contemporary safety and security concerns for patrons and performers while honoring the building’s original architectural integrity. The modernization project is part of a larger plan to enhance and remodel the exterior plaza of the venue, which was built in 1963.

While the original design for Clowes Memorial Hall envisioned the entrance of the building as a “temple of light” with a very open feel, allowing visitors to enter from all three sides of the lobby, current security measures have limited the use of exterior doors for guest entry. The redesigned entrance will honor the building’s original vision through a reimagined entry facade with a glass-enclosed marquee and second-level event space that will link the east and west sides of the second-level lobby. The new design will also remove the current existing wall between the box office and the lobby, allowing natural light to flow into the lobby and increasing the size of the lobby by 12 feet. The new entry will increase the number of metal detectors from four to 10, more than doubling the speed with which visitors can enter the building for major events and providing a vast improvement for visitor experience, particularly during inclement weather.
 

Clowes Hall plaza rendering


“I think the biggest complaints we have heard from visitors when they have come here in the past is how long it takes to get into the building, or that intermissions have been a pain to try to move through the lobby to get to the restrooms. Accessibility has also been a bit of an issue for some, and this redesign takes all of those concerns into consideration,” says Aaron Hurt, Executive Director of the BAEC. “Ease of getting into the building in a safe way and flow once you’re inside will all be vastly improved by this redesign, and I think that’s really going to improve the experience a lot for our guests.”

The new entryway is the first phase of a larger plan to redesign the entire exterior plaza of the venue to be more secure and functional. The new plaza will be paved with a small outdoor stage for hosting pre-show events, outdoor concerts, and student performances. The plaza will also include new concrete bollards—short, flat posts that will serve as both seating around the stage as well as a protective perimeter for the venue and guests gathered outside. The new paved plaza will provide a central rallying point for student events and an additional versatile gathering space for the community, enhancing student life on campus.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the BAEC to cancel all in-person performances and events for the time being, the unexpected extended closure along with the AWCCF grant will allow Butler to begin the planned renovations and upgrades during the coming months. Construction on the entryway project will begin May 1 and should be complete by the time students return to campus at the end of August. The University hopes to raise an additional $3.5 million to help fund the exterior plaza project in the coming months, as well, taking advantage of the window of time provided by the pandemic to complete the renovations in advance of an anticipated grand reopening when in-person performances are once again viable.

Clowes Hall plaza renderings“We’ve really tried to approach this with an attitude of, ‘How can we come out of this period of time as an even better venue for our patrons and performers?’ Our booking staff has still been working really hard while the venue has been closed, and we have lots of big names lined up for when we can re-open,” Hurt says. “We’re excited for the chance to welcome guests back to Clowes, and we feel confident they’re going to have an even better experience than the last time they were here.”

With the help of the AWCCF grant, Butler has now raised more than $196.4 million toward its $250 million goal for its Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign. One of the pillars of the Butler Beyond campaign is Community Partnerships, which highlights the University’s efforts to expand its impact beyond the current student body and beyond the borders of campus by contributing to the wellbeing of the broader Indianapolis community. Butler President Jim Danko says the AWCCF has been an extraordinary partner in supporting the arts education and cultural offerings provided by the BAEC, which are important aspects of the University’s role in the community.

“I am extremely grateful to the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation for its support and partnership in preserving and enhancing Clowes Memorial Hall for future generations of students and community members,” Danko says. “As a result of the critical upgrades supported by this gift, Butler will continue in its leadership role, enriching the Central Indiana community through arts, culture, and entertainment.”

Clowes Memorial Hall serves more than 300,000 patrons annually through a variety of events and programs ranging from Butler University’s own The Nutcracker to national touring companies through Broadway Across America. With 2,148 seats and a rich history of hosting some of the world’s greatest talents and personalities, Clowes also serves as one of Central Indiana’s leading providers of arts education services, welcoming school corporations in more than 85 counties across the state and serving more than 35,000 student participants annually. Since 1991, more than one million students, teachers, and guests have attended education matinee performances at Clowes.

“Clowes Memorial Hall has a lot of significance in the Indianapolis community historically as a hub for arts and culture,” Hurt says. “We are constantly asking ourselves, ‘How do we make sure this flagship venue continues to be relevant for the community? How do we take it to the next level in terms of the value we can bring to our city?’ This project is an example of Butler’s commitment to being a place for everyone.”


Renderings by Browning Day


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
Senior Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Clowes Hall plaza project rendering
Butler Beyond

Butler Receives $1M Grant from Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation for Modernization of Clowes Memorial Hall

The project is part of a larger plan to enhance and remodel the venue's exterior plaza

Feb 26 2021 Read more
Butler Theatre's 'Antigone,' fall 2020, photo by Zach Rosing
Experiential Learning

As COVID-19 Cancels Shows Across the Nation, Butler Theatre Stays on Stage

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Feb 18 2021

Antigone just learned her brother is dead, and the new king will prohibit the honor of a burial. A mask hides the fury on her face as she argues with her sister, shouting that they should bury their brother anyway, but Antigone’s head shakes and her fists pound the air as she paces quickly around the stage. She can’t breach the six feet of distance to confront her sister up close, but she conveys her passion by leaning forward and pointing as she speaks, taking small steps that drive her sister away.

Antigone, photo by Zach Rosing“We wore masks while performing, so we learned to take an emotion that would normally just be a frown on your face and express it with your whole body,” says senior Theatre major Sarah Ault, who played the role of Antigone in Butler University’s production last fall. “That’s a shift from how I would normally approach things, but it was useful to experience. It has been a ‘the-show-must-go-on’ situation.”

While most collegiate and professional theatre organizations have halted in-person performances during the pandemic, Butler’s program has stayed on stage. It took research, strict safety measures, and audience limits, but it was worth giving students the live learning opportunities they signed up for.

“Our priority is the educational and artistic development of our students,” says Diane Timmerman, Theatre Professor and Chair. “We’re just really excited and proud that we were able to make this happen, and that the students have grown so much as artists, even in this time.”

Butler Theatre’s fall 2020 productions included Shel Silverstein's Lafcadio at Shelton Auditorium, followed by a modern adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone at the Schrott Center. The theatre season continues at Clowes Memorial Hall on February 26 with The Living, a play depicting the plague that hit London in the 17th century. In April, performances of Fleeting Full 2.0 by Samuel Beckett will wrap up the year.

Two key factors have allowed Butler to produce in-person shows, Timmerman says. First, they were willing to meet the high bar of safety standards needed to perform indoors, whereas some other theatres would rather wait until they can stage plays without social distancing, mask wearing, and other protocols. And because Butler’s program isn’t revenue-driven, they could afford to have a limited in-person audience alongside free livestreams—a rule that might not work for theatres where ticket sales cover production costs.

“Everyday going into rehearsal, I recognize that it is such a privilege,” says Ault, who will follow her time as Antigone with a new role in The Living. “I’m thankful for all the efforts that Butler and its Theatre program are putting in to make sure we can have the opportunity to perform. Because this is the bread and butter of our education.”
 

Butler Theatre's 'Lafcadio,' photo by Zach Rosing


Setting the Stage for Safety

Deborah Jo Barrett spent the summer researching.

As Production and Stage Manager for the Jordan College of the Arts, she set the rules for keeping performers safe from COVID-19. She started with guidelines from the city and state, plus the health standards in place at Butler, then added another layer of theatre-specific protocols based on recommendations and studies from production organizations across the country.

By the start of the fall semester, Barrett had compiled and shared a new pandemic handbook for the department and created a Stage Manager’s Handbook that included COVID-related guidelines. In addition to the basics we’ve all been following for nearly a year, these guidelines focused on cleaning protocols, air flow, and reduced cross contact.

During typical rehearsals and performances, several people touch the same props. Now that only one person can touch each item, directors have decreased overall prop usage. Actors also need to be in charge of their own costumes and makeup, without the assistance they’d normally have from crew members.

And with the amount of movement and vocal activity involved in theatre, the department took extra measures to maintain fresh air in rehearsal spaces. Accounting for room size, HVAC air exchange rates, and the number of people present, rehearsal groups need to take breaks or move to a different room about every 30 minutes to let spaces air out.

Surfaces are sanitized, temperatures are checked, and daily health surveys are filled out. As the virus evolves, so do the safety measures. Barrett says it’s tricky staging productions with everyone six feet apart, and they’ve needed to incorporate masks in ways that don’t distract from performances, but students have done a wonderful job sticking to the protocols.

“I think after the spring shutdown and the long summer, everyone was just so grateful to be back in-person,” Barrett says. “Everyone helped take care of everyone else. Of course, if we had to shut down again, we were ready to divert what we were working on into an online format. But because Butler is doing in-person classes, we feel it is important that as much as possible—and as safely as possible—we do live performances.”
 

On-The-Scene Learning

Kelly Schwantes, a senior Theatre major who served as stage manager for Lafcadio, is glad to be finishing her degree in-person.

“We are one of the only organizations in Indianapolis still producing,” Schwantes says. “And from the collegiate aspect, many universities had to do things like digital readings or radio plays. I don’t know if the magnitude of that hit every student, but it certainly hit me, and it reminded me how important it is to be grateful at a time like this that I can go to school and do what I came here to do.”

Schwantes says stage managing for the first time during a pandemic taught her that doing something new isn’t as scary as it may seem.

“In whatever role you’re in, you start small and work your way up,” she says. “I learned a lot of the skills I needed throughout my first three years at Butler. And I also work retail, so even with the added layer of COVID, I already had experience with maintaining safety standards. By the time we finished the first day of rehearsal, I knew we were going to make it through.”

While Butler Theatre’s fall productions were selected before COVID-19 hit, they still worked well with safety protocols. Antigone, for example, takes place during a plague, so masks fit the story. But for the spring semester, The Living—which is about the Great Plague of London—was chosen specifically for its current relevance.

And like the fall performances, the two this spring will be available via livestream. The program plans to continue livestreaming productions even after the pandemic to reach audiences who can’t make it to campus.

Ault’s family lives in Kansas, so she appreciates the new virtual viewing options.

“One positive thing about the way we are doing shows this year is that friends and family who have never seen me perform can now livestream the shows,” she says. “That has been a blessing in disguise.”
 

Photos by Zach Rosing
 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
Senior Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (mobile)

Butler Theatre's 'Antigone,' fall 2020, photo by Zach Rosing
Experiential Learning

As COVID-19 Cancels Shows Across the Nation, Butler Theatre Stays on Stage

Strict safety measures allow students to keep rehearsing, performing, and learning together

Feb 18 2021 Read more

Butler Media Relations

Whether you’re looking to promote a new initiative, your research, an event, or preparing for an interview with national media, Butler Media Relations is here to help. We’ll work with you to focus your message, and get the word out.

 

Media inquiries and questions about Butler Today should be directed to Katie Grieze at kgrieze@butler.edu or 317-940-9742.

 

Experts

EXPERTS

Jennifer Snyder

Professor, Physician Assistant Program

Dr. Snyder graduated from the Butler University physician assistant program in 1997 and earned a PhD in Health Sciences from Nova Southeastern University in 2014.  She has worked in both Family and Emergency Medicine as a physician assistant.  She is a tenured professor and serves as chair of the department /PA Program Director.  She  has served within the program as both the Academic Coordinator and a Clinical Coordinator.  She has served as a University Faculty Senator and on the College and University Professional Standards Committees while at Butler University.

Dr. Snyder has been active in the national professional organizations of the PA profession. She currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).  She has served as a site visitor for the Accreditation Review Commission on Education of the Physician Assistant.  Dr. Snyder has served as chair of the Public Relations Committee of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).  She has served on several Reference Committees and the Standing Rules Committee within the House of Delegates, AAPA.  In addition, she has served on numerous other committees and workgroups in both the PAEA and AAPA.

She has remained active as a member with her state physician assistant organization. In the past, Dr. Snyder was elected to positions within the Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA) as President, Secretary and on numerous occasions as a Delegate to the AAPA House of Delegates.  Dr. Snyder was awarded the President’s Award in 2011 by the Student Academy of American Academy of Physician Assistants. She is a Distinguished Fellow Member of the AAPA. 

She has presented and published several articles on clinical, professional and research topics associated with the PA profession and education.

Jennifer Snyder

Jennifer Snyder

Professor, Physician Assistant Program

Terri Jett

Associate Professor, Political Science

Dr. Terri Jett is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity. Dr. Jett is also an affiliate faculty member of the Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Program. She teaches courses on U.S. politics with a focus on the experiences of AfricanAmericans and other ethnic minorities such as Black Political Thought and The Politics of Alice Walker. Her research focus is on the post-Civil Rights Movement experiences of African Americans in rural communities in the southern U.S. and she is currently writing on the recent settlements of Black, Native American, Women and Latino farmers against the United States Department of Agriculture for discrimination. Dr. Jett has a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and a Masters in Public Administration from California State University, Hayward (now East Bay) and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from Auburn University. She is President of the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and serves on the Indiana Debate Commission.

Terri Jett

Terri Jett

Dr. Terri Jett is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity.

Terri Jett

Terri Jett

Associate Professor, Political Science

Fait Muedini

Associate Professor, International Studies

Fait Muedini is the Frances Shera Fessler Associate Professor of International Studies. He is also a Fellow at the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice .

He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University at Buffalo, SUNY, a M.A. in International Affairs from the American University School of International Service, and a B.A. in Political Science from Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan.

His teaching and research interests are centered primarily on issues of human rights, Islam and politics, and the politics of the Middle East and North Africa.

Fait Muedini

Fait Muedini

Associate Professor, International Studies

Craig Caldwell

Associate Professor, Lacy School of Business

Dr. Caldwell works with organizations to develop strategic direction, link implementation steps to strategy, identify organizational culture, and develop processes to bring about organizational change. Since 2007, Craig has served as an Associate Professor of Management in the Lacy School of Business at ButlerUniversity.   He is currently the Associate Dean of Graduate & Professional Programs.  He teaches MBA and undergraduate courses in Strategy, Leadership, and Organizational Change. Craig has won six teaching awards and two advising awards.  He is the Chair of Graduate Council and his past roles include the Faculty Annual Evaluation Committee and Department Chair for Marketing & Management.

Dr. Caldwell’s consulting and executive education activities focus on strategy development, leadership, and organizational change. He has worked with client firms in logistics, manufacturing, food service, life-sciences and architecture. In addition to strategy development, Craig's leadership works includes human capital strategy, employee engagement, and building high-performance teams.

Craig has a leadership book being released in February of 2018 titled, "The Catalyst Effect" that talks about how you can lead from anywhere in an organization.  Craig’s other research includes academic articles in Business and Society, Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, The Monitor, Business and Society Review, Management Accounting Quarterly, and Journal of Corporate Citizenship. 

Craig holds a Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, an MBA from Virginia Tech,and a BA from Anderson University. 

Craig Caldwell

Craig Caldwell

Associate Professor, Lacy School of Business