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Live Mascot Team Aims to Unveil Trip’s Official Portrait on Butler’s Day of Giving

By Katie Grieze

FEBRUARY 24 UPDATE: We did it! Watch the unveiling of Trip's official portrait.

In 2001, Butler University Interim President Gwen Fountain decided to hold the school’s first live bulldog mascot, Butler Blue I, as she posed for her presidential portrait that now hangs in Atherton Union.

That was the start of a tradition. When Butler Blue II retired in 2013, his handler, Michael Kaltenmark, contacted local artist James Kelly of Mad Lab Studios to create a painting of the bulldog that resides in Robertson Hall.

Now it’s Blue III’s turn. Better known as ‘Trip,’ Butler’s third live mascot retired in the spring of 2020, and his official portrait has been painted by Anthony J. Padgett of Red Truck Productions. The Live Mascot Program just needs to raise $5,000 during Butler’s 2021 Day of Giving on February 24–25 for the painting—which currently hangs under a curtain in Robertson Hall—to be unveiled.

Leading up to the fundraising challenge, we touched base with Trip’s dad to learn more.

How would you describe the purpose of creating the mascot portraits?
Michael Kaltenmark: Just as is the case for our University Presidents, these official portraits of our live mascots both honor their service to Butler and preserve their likeness on canvas for the campus community to enjoy for generations to come.

How did you choose Anthony J. Padgett to be the artist for Trip’s painting?
MK: It was a case of Anthony choosing us! Anthony’s business partner in Red Truck Productions is Neal Stock, who has Butler ties. Knowing our history of capturing our live English bulldog mascots in oils and acrylics, Neal pursued the opportunity to have Anthony produce this piece. I was glad he did. Anthony’s work speaks for itself, and I was honored that he wanted to focus his talents on Trip. The fact that he’s local to the Indianapolis area, and that he wanted to pursue this project at a steep discount, made the partnership even better. I couldn’t be happier with how this all worked out.

What does the process of creating the portrait look like?
MK: Anthony and Neal came to campus to shoot some photography of Trip, as well as various landscapes for potential backgrounds. They also referenced photos we already had. After giving them some input, we left the creative vision to Anthony, and we didn’t see the portrait until it was nearly finished.

Why do you have a fundraising goal of $5,000 for this project?
MK: That covers everything, including the commission fee, materials, framing, etc. An original work of this size and scope would typically cost much more, but Anthony and Neal wanted to do this at a discount for Butler’s sake. Now we are inviting the Butler community and our fans to help us cover the cost. When they come to campus to see Trip’s portrait, they can take some satisfaction in knowing that they helped make it happen.

How can Butler community members watch the portrait unveiling?
MK: Under normal circumstances, we’d hold an unveiling event with Trip in attendance, much like we did with Blue II back in 2013. But given the health and safety protocols related to the pandemic, this unveiling will be all virtual. And if we meet our fundraising goal on Butler’s Day of Giving, we’ll do the unveiling live via social media that day!

To support this initiative and help us unveil Trip’s official portrait, you can make a gift to Butler’s Live Mascot program on February 24–25. To see other available Day of Giving challenges, click here.

Some call it giving back. We call it the Butler Way.
On Butler's 6th annual Day of Giving, we invite you to join us in celebrating the best of Butler by making a gift to support the areas of your choice. Our goal is to reach 1,500 gifts across the Butler community before 12:55 PM on February 25. Hitting our goal will unlock $50,000 in student scholarship support. Day of Giving is special because it brings together Bulldogs near and far to achieve a shared goal: putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. There’s strength in numbers, and your gift—of any size—will make a difference for Butler students. Thank you for supporting Butler University!


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
Senior Content Manager
260-307-3403 (mobile)

Trip portrait teaser graphic

Live Mascot Team Aims to Unveil Trip’s Official Portrait on Butler’s Day of Giving

If the mascot fund raises $5,000 on February 24, the new painting of Butler Blue III will be revealed

Alicia Garza Talks with Students on the Power of Working Together for Change

By Katie Grieze

After the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the spring of 2020, Butler University junior Annie Ventura wanted to address the anger she felt in a meaningful way.

“I was mad, sad, and disappointed about the acts of police brutality and the murders of people of color, particularly Black people,” says Ventura, an International Studies major with a minor in Criminology. “I knew that if I was mad, then there were millions of other people who were, too, because they were personally and directly affected by what was happening. It was a type of anger, disappointment, and sadness that I would never be able to fully understand. So, I wanted to do something that could serve as a beacon of hope and support.”

By early 2021, Ventura and other members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board (DEIB) of Butler’s Student Government Association had organized for #BlackLivesMatter co-creator Alicia Garza to speak with the campus community during the University's Founder's Week. Ventura helped moderate the conversation on February 9, along with Butler senior and DEIB Director Roua Daas. Co-sponsors for the virtual event included the Black Student Union, the Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement, Bust The B.U.B.B.L.E., the Efroymson Diversity Center, and the Department of Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

In addition to helping launch #BlackLivesMatter, Garza founded the Black Futures Lab to help Black communities be more powerful in politics. She is the Strategy & Partnerships Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the co-founder of Supermajority, and author of the book The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart—which was available free for Butler students leading up to the event.

During the discussion, Garza focused on her desire for more people to believe in their own power to create change, especially if they work together.

“The story that is told so often about #BlackLivesMatter is that we took a hashtag and turned it into a global movement,” she said. “But that’s not at all how change happens. Movements don’t originate from hashtags. They come from people who are sick and tired of being sick and tired—as [civil rights activist] Fannie Lou Hamer was known to say—and they join together to create a force that is bigger than themselves as individuals so that we can all access the world that we deserve.”

Organizing is powerful, Garza explained, but there can also be things that stand in the way of success. She said social movements can be messy because the people who build them are messy, complicated individuals. Even within the same organization, members come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. That’s why in building a movement, Garza said, it’s crucial to take an intersectional approach that doesn’t leave anyone behind.

“I love how Alicia tells her story and situates her own world view in an ever-shifting political and economic U.S. context, where there has been a constant backlash to any hard-fought progress that Black people gained decade after decade,” said Dr. Terri Jett, Professor of Political Science and Faculty Director of the Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement. “Her never-ending passion for staying in the midst of the struggle, and yet carving out a space for centering intersectional voices, has been remarkable because it allows for leaders to emerge who would have otherwise been silenced.”

Click here to view a recording of this event.

Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza Talks with Students on the Power of Working Together for Change

The #BlackLivesMatter co-creator spoke with the Butler community during a student-organized event on February 9

Butler University

Butler University and Ivy Tech Community College Announce Statewide Transfer Agreement


PUBLISHED ON Feb 05 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Ivy Tech Community College and Butler University have partnered to create their first transfer agreement, making a seamless process for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. This agreement also seeks to address Indiana’s teacher shortage by providing an affordable pathway.

Under the agreement, any Ivy Tech student that completes an Associate of Science in Elementary Education degree can directly transfer to Butler University’s Elementary Education program with junior standing.

“Ivy Tech is elated to announce this new partnership with Butler University, not only to create an affordable and seamless transfer experience, but to address the critical shortage of educators in our state,” said Dr. Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech.

Eligibility will require a 3.0 or higher cumulative grade point average and course grades of “C” or better. Additionally, students must also complete Butler University’s transfer application. Upon meeting these requirements, students may apply a minimum of 57 credit hours from their Ivy Tech associate degree toward requirements for Butler University’s Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

“Butler University is excited to open this door to a community and statewide partnership that not only will help address the teacher shortage, but will also increase access to Butler University and attainment of bachelor’s degrees in our state,” Dr. Brooke Kandel-Cisco, Dean of Butler’s College of Education, said. “We look forward to this being the first of many agreements with Ivy Tech Community College.”

Ivy Tech students interested in this opportunity can work with their academic advisor to confirm their academic plan meets all the requirements.

To maximize savings, students can take advantage of scholarship and grant opportunities at both institutions.

The agreement, which became effective December 10, 2020, remains in effect for two years. After two years, the institutions will review the agreement for renewal.

For more information about Ivy Tech’s education program, visit For information about Butler University, visit


About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degree and short-term certificate programs, and trainings that align to the needs of the community. The College also offers courses and associate degree programs that seamlessly transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a Bachelor’s degree.

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.


Media Contacts:

Mark Apple
Butler University Interim Director of Strategic Communications

Tracey Allen
Ivy Tech Executive Director of Marketing and Communications                                         

Butler University

Butler University and Ivy Tech Community College Announce Statewide Transfer Agreement

Institutions partner to create seamless Elementary Education pathway to reduce teacher shortage

Feb 05 2021 Read more
Butler University

Butler University to Freeze Tuition for 2021-2022 Academic Year


PUBLISHED ON Jan 28 2021

(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.)—Butler University will not raise tuition during the 2021-2022 academic year, President James M. Danko announced today. The tuition freeze, as approved by Butler’s Board of Trustees, ensures that current and incoming students will remain at the tuition rate established for the current 2020-2021 academic year.

“Many of our current and incoming students and their families have been impacted financially by the pandemic, and it is my hope that, by freezing tuition, we can help ease their burden,” Danko said. “I am pleased that we can provide some stability to our students and their families during this very uncertain period.”

Raiidi Kaldani Thompson, mother of first-year Butler student Michael Thompson, sent an email to University administration when she learned about the tuition freeze.

“Receiving the news about Butler University’s tuition freeze made my morning! I'm speechless and utterly filled with gratitude,” Kaldani Thompson said. “I want to thank President Danko and the Board of Trustees for extending this generous gift to all of your students and their families! It truly embodies the caring spirit, and the sense of a close community that drew my son to join the Butler family.”

“The tuition freeze is so important as students and their families continue to face unimaginable hardships,” Maya Patel, a junior majoring in Strategic Communication, said. “We can take solace in the much needed economic stability for the next academic year, allowing us to focus on our academics and finding our new normal.”

Danko stated that Butler instituted significant budget adjustments when the pandemic started last March, and that those adjustments have proven beneficial in maintaining the University’s financial stability.

“The decision to freeze tuition for students and families is indicative of the confidence I have in Butler’s current position and long-term future,” Danko said. “I am deeply appreciative of our faculty and staff in particular, for their extraordinary work and personal sacrifices to carry out the University’s mission and support our students.”  

Butler started the spring 2021 semester on January 25, with the vast majority of students choosing to live on campus and receive instruction in the classroom. The University has invested heavily in improving health and safety efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus and upgrading academic technology to further enhance the learning environment.

For more information about Butler University, please visit


Media Contact:
Mark Apple
Director of Strategic Communications

Butler University

Butler University to Freeze Tuition for 2021-2022 Academic Year

Butler's Board of Trustees approved the tuition freeze to help ease the financial burden many students and families have faced during the pandemic

Jan 28 2021 Read more

The Butler Way: Now More Than Ever

James M. Danko


from Winter 2021

President DankoOn my evening campus walks with Daisy throughout the fall semester, I heard remarkably consistent perspectives from our students. I certainly heard concerns and opinions about the challenges we face as a nation—including our shared imperative to reckon with centuries of racial and social injustice—and the ways the pandemic has disrupted college life and society as a whole. Just as frequently, however, they expressed their optimism for the successful healing of our nation’s wounds; gratitude for the opportunity to be on campus; and appreciation for the extraordinary efforts of our faculty and staff to provide them with the support and resources they needed.

Although this semester was worrisome, to say the least, for all of us in university leadership roles, these conversations affirmed that Butler’s decision to offer in-person learning this fall was the right one. The efforts of our faculty and staff to ensure the safety of our students, while offering the most vibrant academic and extracurricular experiences possible, were indeed worthwhile.

I have been incredibly proud of the Butler University community’s resilience throughout this difficult year. You’ll see for yourself in the pages of this issue some of the ways our people have met the challenges of teaching and learning during a global pandemic with compassion, cooperation, and a great deal of creativity. You’ll read about the ways our students are preparing for the leadership roles they will hold in their careers, communities, and families. And you’ll learn more about the tangible and concrete progress we have made on a number of important strategic initiatives since the public launch of our Butler Beyond strategy and comprehensive fundraising campaign in October 2019.

Butler’s momentum—even in the midst of crisis and loss—gives me hope. The good in our society is reflected on our campus. When I look at Butler students, I see future leaders who will direct discourse and shape policy for the next generation. With guidance from our faculty and staff, and the generous support of our dedicated alumni and friends, I am confident that Butler students will continue to exemplify The Butler Way—now more than ever. 

Bethanie and I wish you a new year filled with health, happiness, and Bulldog pride.


The Butler Way: Now More Than Ever

A letter from President James M. Danko

by James M. Danko

from Winter 2021

Read more
Butler University marching band

A Campus Challenged

Marc D. Allan, MFA ’18

from Winter 2021

Butler was founded in the struggle against slavery and through 166 years has survived during backdrops that included the Civil War, two world wars, two pandemics, the Great Depression and Great Recession, presidential assassinations, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, Watergate, presidential impeachments, 9/11, and so much more. Every generation has faced seemingly insurmountable turbulence and, so far, every generation has lived, learned, and come through wiser.

As our graduates from the 1960s and early ’70s will tell you, that’s a lesson worth remembering when times get rocky, as they have been this past year.

Butler Magazine spoke to three alumni and a professor emeritus about what we can learn from the toughest of times.



Jean Smith
Jean Smith ’65, in center

Jean Smith ’65 came to Butler in 1961 and knew all of the other undergraduate students of color personally. She recalls there were 10.

In 1964, Smith remembers, George Wallace, the Alabama governor known for his racist and segregationist views, received a rousing reception in a packed lecture hall.

“That told me everything I needed to know about what Butler was at that time,” she says. 

A small counterpoint occurred later that year when Smith earned her own ovation when she spoke in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in her public speaking class. A larger counterpoint occurred 16 years after graduation, with Smith in the midst of a career that took her from journalism to the ministry, when Butler President Jack Johnson asked if she would serve as a trustee.

That “was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had,” she says. “It allowed me to see that the Butler I had gone to as a student was capable of change.”

This was reinforced just a few years ago when Smith attended a dinner for underrepresented students in the Fairview Community Room. “The room was filled. I felt that the changes that were happening at Butler were real.”

The lesson learned? For that, Smith paraphrases former President Barack Obama: “We’re never going to make things perfect, but we have to keep doing our part to make things better. And better is what you build upon.”



Terry Curry
Terry Curry ’71

Terry Curry ’71 arrived in 1967 to a Butler University that was transitioning from what he describes as a stereotypical 1950s, early ’60s college to a school where the political and cultural revolutions were taking hold. By early 1968, he found himself immersed in Eugene McCarthy’s candidacy for president and participated in anti-war marches that took place in Indianapolis and elsewhere. (Protests on Butler’s campus at the time, however, were focused on the 10:00 PM curfew for women.)

Curry, who became an attorney and, ultimately, Marion County prosecutor, says he’s “absolutely” glad he went through the ’60s. Despite the fear and tension of the times, positive developments came out of that era, including civil rights, advancements of the rights of women, and ending the war in Vietnam.

“In spite of the fact that it didn’t feel like it at the time, there was positive evolution of the country,” he says.

Curry says the current atmosphere feels like the ’60s. “Today we talk about the urban-rural divide. It was kind of the same thing—it was the adults and middle class vs. the young people, and neither side was willing to even acknowledge or get the other. There was a lot of animosity, a lot of tension. I don’t know how we get past it, but historically we always have.”

And we will, he says. “Everything now has been exacerbated by the pandemic. So as we literally start to heal, we can heal as a nation also.”



Patty Wachel
Patty Wachel ’73

Patty Wachel ’73 remembers a host of pressing issues during her four years at Butler: women’s liberation, Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, racial injustice, peace, the draft process, and the emerging drug culture. 

“We did see some activism in all of these areas on campus, but it was respectful and without reckless behavior. It was a thoughtful environment among chaos at many other universities.”

At the time, Wachel was involved in Angel Flight, a women’s auxiliary for the Air Force ROTC program, eventually becoming a commander. The Angel Flight members wore a uniform that was similar to what ROTC members wore.

“And while this was a symbol of the war, and comments were made, I never felt threatened,” says Wachel, who went on to a long career in human resources. “No one burned down the ROTC building like on other campuses. Butler students may have been opposed to the war and critical of the ROTC program, but we coexisted in a respectful environment. Perhaps this was the early seeds of the Butler Way.

“Times were trying, change was happening at a record pace, and the country was being torn apart by an unpopular war, but Butler students were able to show strong character and respect for the diversity of ideas not supported by them.”



George Geib
George Geib

Butler History Professor Emeritus George Geib, who retired in 2014 after 49 years, says the generational divide that existed in the 1960s was due to the conflict between administrators who had grown up in the midst of the Great Depression and World War II and students who had known peace and affluence for most of their lives.

In trying to bridge that gap, the most important thing all of us do in growing up “is to try to bring others into the world we inhabit and try to create changes and improvements from it.”

At the time, Indianapolis leaders decided that one of the essentials for a strong community was a large, central college campus. Butler leaders declined to take on that role, but they recognized the need for what came to be called “the Butler Advantage.”

“You needed to reach out in a rapidly changing demographic and offer a campus advantage,” Geib says. “That is what sets Butler apart—particular professional programs, particular campus experiences, particular memories that you carry of the way the University helped you.”

And that, Geib says, is the lesson Butler learned from the ’60s.

Butler University marching band

A Campus Challenged

Butler Magazine spoke to three alumni and a professor emeritus about what we can learn from the toughest of times

by Marc D. Allan, MFA ’18

from Winter 2021

Read more
Blue's Views

Blue’s Views

from Winter 2021

Around this time a year ago during my #BlueDebut and big arrival on campus, I was an eager pup ready to get started. I was riding high on a wave of fanfare to take my place in a line of Bulldogs that have collectively become one of the country’s most recognizable and beloved live mascots.

First on my list was a trip to the Big Apple for the BIG EAST Tournament, to be followed by the NCAA Tournament, then Commencement, and a host of official appearances and appointments in between.

But my plans were stopped in their tracks before they could even get started. A global pandemic, of all things, left me to find my place as a new mascot in a new virtual environment. At that point, I contemplated curling up in a cozy dog bed until this COVID-19 thing was behind me. Then I remembered that backing down in the face of adversity just isn’t what Butler Bulldogs do. The proof of that can be found in the very pages of this magazine.

So, being the Butler Bulldog that I am, I focused on the one thing that drives our breed: purpose (and treats, of course). Circumstances change, challenges come and go, but our purpose remains. And mine as mascot is to energize our community’s spirit while symbolizing Butler’s core values. So that’s what I’ve been up to. And what I have discovered is that my purpose has never been so important.

I still want nothing more than to be visible on campus, making appearances around town, and hitting the road to surprise unsuspecting prospective students (you will still see me around in safe environments, though). For now, I’m right where I need to be—rallying fellow Bulldogs working on their own purposes and hopefully bringing a smile or two. Because good things happen—even in down times—when a Butler Bulldog is unleashed.







Blue's Views

Blue’s Views

Backing down in the face of adversity just isn’t what Butler Bulldogs do

from Winter 2021

Read more
Butler University 2020

Year in Review: Top Stories of 2020

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Dec 16 2020

When everything changed 10 months ago, Butler University adapted. Our students, faculty, and staff found ways to replace vanished opportunities with new ones, continue caring for one another, and focus on the things that matter most—all while making sacrifices to keep our campus safe.

This year, Bulldogs also committed to helping others. From the Pharmacy students who made hand sanitizer for hospitals and other Indianapolis organizations; to the faculty member who helped parents and educators provide emotional support for children; to the graduate whose art helped people across the nation understand an invisible virus; we demonstrated the Butler Way.

And still, we celebrated. We kicked off 2020 by meeting Butler Blue IV, whose puppy photos have filled our social media feeds and invited us to smile even in some of this year’s hardest moments. We named new deans, launched our Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement, and welcomed our third-largest class of first-year students. Through a difficult season that may continue for months to come, we have found ways to be joyful together.

Here’s a look back at Butler’s top stories of 2020.



Butler Faculty Put Students First in Switch to Online Learning
When the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of in-person classes last spring, faculty made the best of a difficult situation.

With Summer Internships Canceled, Business School Finds New Opportunities for Students
Butler's Lacy School of Business created about 20 last-minute internship positions built on remote, project-based work.

In Switch to eLearning, Butler Student-Teacher Finds What Matters Most
Patrick Conway developed new online content for seventh-graders at Zionsville West Middle School.

Butler Offers Free Online Course About COVID-19 to Incoming Students
The class helped students connect with the Butler community while reflecting on the effects of a global crisis.

Caring for Mental Health During COVID-19
Three Butler experts explain the pandemic’s psychological impacts and offer advice for staying well.

What Does an Online Music Class Look Like?
Dr. Brian Weidner of Butler's Jordan College of the Arts explains how he met the challenge of holding remote music education courses.

Pool Noodles Provide Social Distancing Guide for Physical Education Classes
The College of Education’s Dr. Fritz Ettl found ways to keep teaching hands-on, sport-specific skills this fall.

Butler Team Preserves, Improves Access to Artifacts through 3D Digital Replicas
While this grant-funded project began well before the pandemic, the researchers found low-cost ways to scan and share physical artworks in an online world—a method that’s especially useful when viewing art in-person isn’t possible.


How to Care for Children’s Minds During COVID-19
The College of Education's Dr. Lori Desautels offers guidance for educators and parents as the pandemic causes uncertainty, isolation, and restraint. To learn more about how Desautels teaches students about their brains, check out our pre-pandemic story How Neuroscience Helps Kids Heal From Trauma.

Butler, Old National Partner to Support Businesses Owned by Underrepresented Groups
The Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence—a partnership between Butler University and Old National Bank—is waiving membership fees for companies owned by people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

Butler Pharmacy Prof Receives $1.39M NIH Grant to Support Cancer Research
Dr. Chioniso Patience Masamha is studying an oncogene commonly linked to Mantle Cell Lymphoma and other types of cancer.

Pharmacy Students to Fill Indy’s Prescription for Hand Sanitizer
A trio of graduate students made 50 liters of sanitizer for donation to community programs and facilities.

Butler Theatre Gives Health Professionals SWAG
Theatre faculty and staff joined the Indy-based Safer With a Gown project, using their skills to help produce gowns for healthcare workers.

Grad Students from Butler's College of Education Create Guide to Help Schools Reopen
Cohort members from the Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals (EPPSP) released Blueprint 2020: A Guidebook for School Leaders Moving Forward.

Butler Grad Helps Americans See Coronavirus Up Close
At the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Austin Athman ’09 is part of a team that captures images of microscopic diseases.

This Team of Alumni Helped Butler Go Remote
Four grads in the Center for Academic Technology knew that strong relationships would be key to online learning.



Butler Blue IV, next live mascot for Butler, revealed, ready to report to work
In January, the 12-week-old English Bulldog was set to take the reins as Butler’s fourth live mascot. Butler Blue III (AKA Trip) retired in May.

Butler Ranked No.1 in Midwest for Third Straight Year by U.S. News & World Report
The University also ranked among top universities in three national categories.

Butler Welcomes Third-Largest Class Ever Despite COVID-19 Challenges
More than 1,125 first-year students logged on for their first day of classes on August 24.

Butler University Launches a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement
With leadership from Dr. Terri Jett as Faculty Director, the Hub will serve as an institutional command center to address systemic racism and Black oppression.

Butler Receives $2.5 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to Fund New Butler Beyond Transformation Lab
The Transformation Lab will serve as a hub of resources, expertise, and activity to accelerate the development of future-oriented education models.

Kandel-Cisco Named New College of Education Dean
Dr. Brooke Kandel-Cisco was Interim Dean since May 2019 before filling the position permanently this past March.

Hilary Buttrick Named Interim Dean of the Lacy School of Business
Dr. Buttrick served as an Associate Dean in the Lacy School of Business (LSB) before being named Interim Dean on June 9.

Loyal Donors and New Strategic Direction Help Butler Thrive Through Unprecedented Year
Total giving during the 2019-2020 fiscal year included $16.6 million toward scholarships and $28.5 million toward the Butler Beyond campaign.


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager

Butler University 2020

Year in Review: Top Stories of 2020

In 2020, Butler adapted to new challenges, helped our community, and found ways to celebrate

Dec 16 2020 Read more

Q&A with Frank Felice, Music Prof and Classical Composer

By Katie Grieze

Last year, Butler University Associate Professor of Music Frank Felice decided it was time he put together a new CD. The composer had written several songs for both string instruments and voice, accumulating a diverse array of one-off chamber music pieces. After writing just a few more new compositions, the CD’s track list was ready to go.

By the summer, Felice had teamed up with local musicians to make recordings for each of the songs. By the fall, he was working on post-production. The finished album, Reflections and Whimsies: Chamber Music for Strings and Voice, hit the market in February 2020.

We all know what happened next. The COVID-19 pandemic struck two weeks later, closing event stages and delaying shipments all across the nation. Like many others in the music world, Felice had to cancel performances and just stay home. Still, he’s finding ways to move on to new projects and stay creative in a difficult year.

We touched base with Felice to learn more about his recent album, his experience as a musician during COVID-19, and why he became a composer in the first place.

How does this CD compare to your previous work?
This is actually a good representative slice of my music. It’s eclectic: everything from something that’s humorous or tongue in cheek and might be a little theatrical or bizarre, up to something very straightforward. Some of the music on here is sacred, and some of it is very secular. Some of it is something you could very easily hear on an elevator, and some of it will make you go, “What did I just listen to? That sounded like a weird acid jazz piece from a 1950s nightclub.”

How did you decide which musicians would perform the recordings of these compositions?
One of the pieces I wrote for my wife, so I wanted to have her sing it. A couple other pieces are also performed by the people I originally wrote them for, like one for Butler’s own David Murray. The other musicians were people I knew and admired. For example, I was very happy to get The Indianapolis Quartet on this disc.

How did COVID-19 affect the release of your CD?
Everything just stopped. People could still stream the music through platforms like Spotify, but the physical disc was difficult to purchase for a while due to COVID-related delays. Now, it’s sold out on Amazon, and they won’t get new ones in very quickly just because of COVID. There were also five or six performances of these pieces that had to be canceled. That’s just been the story for classical musicians during the pandemic.

Do you have any alternative plans moving forward?
I haven’t made new plans for the album myself, but I’ve had a few people request to perform the music virtually.

I’ve been at kind of a loss since COVID happened. So much of what I like about this kind of classical music is the interaction and socialization, where you can make music with friends and colleagues and for an audience. That has been very tough to lose. I’ve been playing some jazz on back porches, but that will go away soon with the weather changing.

So, I’ve been moving to a couple different projects. One of those is electronic-based, where I can do a recording and put that out virtually. I’ve also done some research in recent months about possibly writing some brass quintets, or doing a really ultra-difficult virtuosic piano solo. In some ways, I’ve just been nesting in my studio, saying, “Alright, I have to make music for me and just put it out.” I can’t rely on going and doing this with a group, or for a particular audience.

You mentioned you prefer working with smaller groups of musicians. Why?
I love the intimacy of it. I love the fact that you can put four singers together and perform that in a recital hall, but you can also do that in someone’s living room. That collaborative intimacy is a marvelous thing. And as a composer, I can really get to know the performers I’m working with. That’s tougher to do with a large ensemble or a symphony.

Why did you first get involved with composing?
I first started composing in high school for the rock band I was part of. While we loved getting together and playing music we all knew and loved, we also liked just sitting and playing. Pretty soon, we started coming up with new melodies and lyrics, and then putting them all together. That process became really quite fun.

When I went off to college, I was attracted to classical music through soundtracks by composers like John Williams. In music classes, I found myself loving the interaction of how music is all put together. During my practice times, I grew to like writing music as much as I liked practicing my instrument.

I love to create. I love to cook, write poetry, and paint. Tomorrow when I rake my leaves, I’ll probably make shapes instead of going in straight lines. I think all humans have that creativity in us to one extent or another, and I think I just got a double dose.

Frank Felice, Butler University

Q&A with Frank Felice, Music Prof and Classical Composer

After releasing a new CD two weeks before pandemic shutdowns hit Indiana, Felice is finding new ways to stay creative

A Chat with Dr. Fait Muedini

By Maddy Kline ’21

The newest published work to come from Butler University Director of International Studies Fait Muedini, Idolatry of the Translated Forms, is a clear departure from Muedini’s traditional written research—the 99 poems weave together to form the first book of poetry he has ever published.

“A lot of my work is research, of course—a lot of work related to human rights, LGBTI rights, child education rights—but I've always had a passion for writing poetry, as well,” Muedini says. “I just keep writing, keep writing, putting it aside, and really not thinking much of it. And there came a point when I said, ‘well, maybe I should focus on poetry as an outlet for publishing, as well.’ I'm happy I did it. I probably should have done it earlier.”

The book is deeply rooted in Sufi poetry and ideas, most of which are encapsulated by notions of beauty and love. Like his passion for poetry, Sufism has been a theme in Muedini’s life for a number of years. His ties to the subject matter of the book make it both a personal and striking read.

“The poems clarified a lot of how I view the world,” Muedini says. “And the best way to describe it, it's really this idea of non-duality, just kind of thinking about the world as a unity of everything—this manifestation of nothing, but what is understood as beauty and love—again, a very Sufi idea. All of the poems in some way center around the idea of elevating this idea of love in everyday beauty.”

But why stop at 99 poems?

Muedini explained the significance of the number in Islamic theology. Within that faith, he says, there exist 99 names or attributes of God known to the human mind.

“My idea of the book is idolatry of the translated forms, which essentially means all our conceptions of God are lacking—we can't ever understand, with language, what the ultimate power of God is,” Muedini says. “In Islam and Sufism, there's this idea that God has a 100th name, but that it's not revealed to anybody. And so, it's essentially silent. That's exactly what I was going for.”

Apart from publishing a new book, what else has Muedini been up to lately? Below, we chat with him about favorite meals, must-read books, and go-to films—spoiler: he loves slapstick comedy.

Are there any television shows or series that you're watching and enjoying right now?
To be honest, I don't get too much into series. It's not that I don't like TV, it's that once you get into a series, you feel like you have to watch all of it. And that takes a lot of time. I'll have some soccer games on in the background when I'm doing work, things like that.

In the vein of less time commitment, then: What about films? Do you have a favorite film?
I do tend to watch more films. I like a lot of introspective foreign films, or outright slapstick comedy type films—it's really that dichotomy.

Do you have a go-to for each of those categories?
There's a film in my course that a student actually recommended called Mustang about social gender issues in Turkey. It is a story about these five sisters who have various social pressures on them to marry, and then human rights abuses against women. I also thought Roma was very powerful. Films that I think really get people to reflect on topics and themes that again, bring about the human condition, I would say, are where there's a lot of interest.

Friends who've known me forever will know that Dumb and Dumber is by far the funniest I've ever seen. I've watched it countless times and I still laugh uncontrollably at so many of the parts.

What books should everyone read in their lifetime?
I just would tell people just to keep reading. The more you read, the more ideas you're exposed to. Really, it depends on the genre of what you're looking for. So, in the spirituality genre, for example, there's a book called The Upanishads. It's an ancient Hindu text—that was really one of the most influential books in my life.

For something like financial advice, there's a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, which I think everyone should read. For something about monetary policy, there's a book I really think everyone should read called The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous. But again, it really depends on the category of literature because there's just so much in every field.

What is your favorite meal to either cook or eat?
I don't cook. I've never even tried cooking. So, there's that. Thankfully, my wife loves to cook, and so she'll learn recipes and try a variety of dishes. I am very fortunate about that. My palate is pretty American-based—fried chicken, cheeseburgers—things like this. Although, I'm realizing as I get older, I should eat much less of it.

What three historical figures would you most want to have dinner with?
The ones that just immediately come to mind for me, I would say the Sufi poet Rumi, absolutely. Albert Camus, my favorite overall writer, would come to mind. There was a poet who died not too long ago. Her name was Mary Oliver, and she was an American poet. Those would be the three who would come to mind for me, initially, that I would have that dinner with.

What do you consider to be the most interesting thing that you've done in your lifetime?
For me, what has brought by far the most joy throughout my life—and continues to—is really to be married to the person I'm married to, whom I love very much. We have two children together. And with them, just seeing the wonder in their eyes every day, to me is interesting; seeing how they're going through life, and how they are developing their characters and personalities. So just having a family is, I think, the most interesting. I mean, I could quote where I've traveled, what I've written, but to me, it just pales in comparison to having this core nucleus of my family.

Where is your favorite place to be?
It doesn't matter anymore. I think this poetry really kind of brought that out: I really have tried in the past years just to be present in any spot I'm in. Being around my family—if I take kind of a non-physical location—being around my family as much as I can, is always where I'm happiest. There's just beauty in every space, every place, if we just pay attention to it. And so, I actually don't like sometimes when people say, ‘I must go here, I must go there,’ because I think you forget the wonder of where you're at now in that present moment.

What has been your favorite part of being a professor at Butler?
That’s an easy one. Just the inquisitive minds of my students. I mean, being alert, having conversations with them, having them just ask such detailed questions—really wanting to learn about the world, wanting to learn about human rights issues, and being so committed to their education. It makes work just such a joy because students are just excellent and have been excellent since I've arrived here.


A Chat with Dr. Fait Muedini

Butler's Director of International Studies typically works on research, but he recently explored a different passion: poetry


A Chat with Dr. Fait Muedini

By Maddy Kline ’21

A Day in the Life of Blue IV

By Nicki Clark ’22



Nicki Clark is a student in Butler’s Class of 2022, majoring in Journalism and minoring in Digital Media Production.


Perhaps the most famous face around Butler’s campus is Blue IV. After having Trip’s collar passed down in February 2020, Blue has been hard at work to keep his predecessor’s legacy strong. Being Butler’s live mascot is a serious gig, and Blue takes his job very seriously. He spends his days interacting with students, greeting visitors, and practicing to make sure he is the best mascot he can be. His schedule varies from day to day, but I was able to spend a morning with Blue to see what it’s like to spend a day in his paws.

9:30 AM
Blue IV went to the bookstore to see students, but he also had to take care of some business. He took a photo with the winning submissions from the AT HOMEcoming Coloring Contest. He also took photos to promote a Butler graduate’s new book. He got to say hello to many students, which resulted in pets, boops on the nose, and even a few treats.

Butler Blue IV


10:00 AM
Blue headed over to Robertson Hall to greet prospective students who were visiting Butler for a tour. The visitors’ faces lit up at the sight of Blue trotting up to say hello. It’s hard to say no to his fist bumps and wrinkly little face!

Butler Blue IV

Butler Blue IV


10:30 AM
Blue put on his Butler jersey and headed to Hinkle Fieldhouse to take a picture with two students. They were even nice enough to bring Blue some treats, which he could not wait to get his paws on. Although he had to save some of the treats for later, he did get to enjoy half of a doggy cupcake on the sidewalk outside Hinkle before heading off to his next adventure of the day.

Butler Blue IV


11:00 AM
Blue headed inside Hinkle Fieldhouse to get some Live Mascot practice. He had to work on getting comfortable walking up the ramps and up the stairs. He worked on his entrance run for basketball games—executing it perfectly. He made sure to drink lots of water to keep hydrated during his practice. He even got to sit at the very top of Hinkle and look down at all the empty seats that will someday be filled to cheer on the Dawgs.

Butler Blue IV

Butler Blue IV


12:00 PM
After a successful practice, Blue wanted to film a TikTok. He started off at Hinkle Fieldhouse and ventured all around campus to showcase the beautiful fall weather. Of course, he had to stop for some pictures with students along the way, but he always loves meeting all the Butler students and fans.

Butler Blue IV

Butler Blue IV


1:00 PM
After a long morning of strutting around campus, Blue was ready to head home for a well-deserved nap. While he can’t wait to get back to running out of the tunnel with the basketball team, he’s very much enjoying his walks around campus and other activities until sports start back up again. To keep up with Blue IV, you can follow him on his social media accounts: InstagramTwitterTikTok, and Facebook.

Butler Blue IV


Butler Blue IV

A Day in the Life of Blue IV

Butler's live bulldog mascot spends his days interacting with students, greeting visitors, and practicing to make sure he is the best mascot he can be

Butler Blue IV

A Day in the Life of Blue IV

By Nicki Clark ’22