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Thanks

A Season for Gratitude and Hope

by Jonathan Purvis

Jonathan Purvis, Vice President for University Advancement, with Blue III.
Jonathan Purvis with Blue III

The holiday season has always been a special time of year for me and one rich with memories. As a young kid I could barely contain the feeling of excitement for what presents I might receive. The year I was old enough to stay up late and watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve was a much anticipated rite of passage. As I grew into young adulthood, I remember the feeling of trepidation the first time I brought a girlfriend home for Thanksgiving lunch. And, somewhere along the way, I slowly became aware of the special time with family that the holidays afford.

I’m married now with three kids, and the holidays have become a time of both nostalgia and of making new memories. I find myself simultaneously reflecting on the past with my parents and adult siblings and seeing the world anew through the eyes of my children. For everyone, I think the holidays serve as a wonderful nexus between what has been and the promise of what is yet to be.

“Through philanthropy, donors powerfully express gratitude for what they have received while investing in their highest hopes for what the future will be.”

Through that lens, it seems only natural that most of us also view the holiday season as a time of giving. This annual convergence of past and future perfectly encapsulates the two conditions necessary for generosity – gratitude and hope. Through philanthropy, donors powerfully express gratitude for what they have received while investing in their highest hopes for what the future will be.

As Vice President for University Advancement, it’s a tremendous privilege to help donors express their feelings of gratitude and hope through giving to Butler. In my role, donors share with me stories of how their life was transformed thanks to their Butler experience. They also share their excitement for how Butler is preparing the next generation for the future opportunities and challenges that await them. And through giving, they put those feelings of gratitude and hope into action.

It’s for this reason that I’m proud Butler has joined the Giving Tuesday movement which harnesses the power of social media and the generosity of people from around the world. Since 2012, millions of donors from more than 150 countries have banded together to make gifts on Giving Tuesday to affect change in causes that matter to them. For me and my family, the transformative impact Butler makes in the lives of our students and in our community is that cause. So, on this Giving Tuesday, I invite you to join my family in putting gratitude and hope into action through a gift to Butler University. 

ThanksGiving

A Season for Gratitude and Hope

Through philanthropy, donors express gratitude for what they have while investing in their hopes for the future.

Giving Thanks: Student Reflections

Sam VarieIn reflecting on the pieces of my life I am thankful for, I am drawn to the relationships I have formed with members of the Butler family.   

I am thankful for friends like Alex Kassan who teaches me something every time I am with her. She challenges the way I think, pushes me to work harder and sets an example of how each of us holds a commitment to choose love over hate.

I am thankful for staff members like Caroline Huck-Watson who empowers me to be a student-leader. Her dedication to the student experience has changed my, and many others, time at Butler for the better.

I am thankful for faculty members like Dr. Levenshus who have kept me passionate about learning in the classroom. She shows me what it means to love learning and invest wholeheartedly in education.

I am thankful for administrators like Dr. Ross who puts student well-being at the forefront of his decisions. He shows me and my peers compassion in the face of hardship and guidance in the face of adversity.

What each of these people have in common is their commitment to their fellow Butler family member. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for each of them, and the community I get to be a part of.

Sam Varie
Class of 2020

 


This year I am extremely thankful for my family, for my little sister especially, and the innocence that youth can bring. I am thankful for diversity and inclusion board and my role in SGA that affords me the honor of fighting every day injustices in whatever way I am able, of creating spaces for people that didn’t previously exist, and celebrating the cultures—and the folks that inhabit those cultures—that don’t get the love they deserve. I am thankful for black women. I am thankful for my friends, the people that I work with in every capacity, and thankful for the kindness of those around me.

Alex Kassan 
Class of 2020

 


Kelly StoneThanksgiving is such a wonderful time of year and I think it is important that we do not overlook the reason for the holiday: to be grateful. This year, as I reflect on what I am grateful for, my heart is overjoyed because there are so many people and experiences that have broadened my views and changed my life for the better. I find myself mostly thinking about people when I think of what I’m thankful for. From family and friends, to people I have never met, I feel lucky that I am surrounded by amazing humans who make me a better me.

Since moving to Indy and attending Butler, I am grateful for the incredible people that have opened their arms and welcomed me on campus. I am grateful to be surrounded by a “Community of Care” and a whole campus of students and staff who love and support each other. I am grateful for the warm smiles and genuine conversations with both friends and strangers on campus. I am grateful for the people who have guided me, encouraged me, welcomed me, challenged me, and accepted me, since I arrived in August. I could not imagine myself at another school and most importantly I am so grateful to be a Bulldog!!


Kelly Stone
Class of 2022

 


IBen Martella am most thankful for the valuable time I get to spend with my family during the holidays. Me, my brother and sister are all out of state which makes it hard to see each and my parents during the school year. Luckily, I have an amazing community at Butler to help me feel at home. Even with most of my family over 1,000 miles away, I still feel welcomed and loved at Butler. I am endlessly grateful for my friends, professors and coworkers at Butler that are always there for me.

Ben Martella
Class of 2020

 

 


Jaylah DeGoutI am thankful for the people that Butler has introduced me to. Whether that was through my first-year seminar class, my Resident Assistant staff, or my engineering classes, the people I have met continue to make a positive impact on my life every single day. They constantly inspire and motivate me to become a better version of myself, and to make a positive impact on our community. Without these people in my life, I would not be the person I am today. They make Butler feel like home away from home. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jaylah DeGout
Class of 2020

 


Natalie OstoicLooking back on my four years at Butler, I am forever grateful for all of the opportunities that I have been given. Butler has introduced me to the most influential and incredible people that I have ever met. I am grateful for each person I have come into contact with at during my time here and am not looking forward to saying goodbye in the Spring. I have found friends that will last me a lifetime, faculty and staff who have allowed me the opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally, and alumni who become the best mentors I could have asked for. If you would have told me that I would be living with my first-year roommate for my third year, as a senior, I would not have believed you. This goes to show that the relationships I have built will last me not just one year, but many and many to come. I am not only grateful for the people, but the way that this University has shaped me for the future, allowing me to feel confident and excited for life after Butler.

In my final year, I know that Butler will never leave my heart, will always be my home, and will continue to impact those who walk its campus for years to come. I am grateful for the community that Butler creates and the people that have supported me during my lows and encouraged me during my highs, always allowing me to do my best. Thank you, Butler, for being a community I will forever be grateful for… and Go Dawgs!

Natalie Ostoic
Class of 2019

 

ThanksPeopleCampus

Giving Thanks: Student Reflections

  As we celebrate the holiday, six students tell us all the reasons they have to be thankful. 

ThanksGiving

Impact of Philanthropy | Dr. Jeremy Johnson

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 19 2018

Jeremy Johnson
AcademicsThanksPeople

Butler Professor Receives NSF Grant to Study Class of Enzymes Linked with Cancer Growth

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Aug 14 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – It happened by accident.

Jeremy Johnson, Butler University Associate Professor of Chemistry, was looking at images of acyl protein thioesterases, or APTs. Because proteins are smaller than the wavelength of light, they cannot be seen by eye, or even with a microscope. So, proteins are crystalized, and then static images are taken, revealing what they look like at one point in time.

But, when Johnson looked at the APT images closely, he saw something he had never seen before, and something, he says, that is quite rare – the protein in multiple states.

“Our image showed the APT in open and closed states or active and inactive,” Johnson says. “Normally, we think of proteins as static, or as staying in one position, and only recently have we started to appreciate the idea of natural movements of proteins.”

With an $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Johnson will be researching why we should appreciate that very idea. Seeing the image of the APT in a dynamic state enabled Johnson to hypothesize a whole new set of ideas about what this protein could potentially impact – cancer progression, neural deterioration, and immune functions, he says.

“Once we had this image and saw it was dynamic, we were able to start to hypothesize how this protein could be important within a cell,” he says. “All of a sudden new possibilities emerged that we knew we wanted to research more. Once we knew the structure, new alleys for research questions opened.”

APTs are a class of enzymes that are linked with cancer growth, neural degeneration, and bacterial infections. But, this photo revealed they are also dynamic – something that was not previously known.

Now, Johnson says, he is set to dive into what this dynamic function actually means, and how it could impact those important links. Some questions his lab will focus on include looking at how the dynamic nature of this protein could impact APTs as a future drug target, and how it might relate to cancer and immune functions.

After seeing the image, Johnson says his team will start to look into how that movement is related to the regulation of the protein and how that can impact the biological functions of APTs.

“You always hope there is relation to the big picture,” Johnson says. “We are going to be looking at the dynamic movement and if that movement is essential to biological function. You hope that movement is related to the big picture things that we know this protein is already involved in.”

Also, as part of the NSF grant, research occurring in Johnson’s lab will be integrated into undergraduate classroom laboratories, giving a wide range of students the chance to participate in the research. There will also be a new molecular biophysics laboratory added to the biochemistry major at Butler.

All of this, Johnson says, because of an accident.

 

Media contact:
Rachel Stern
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656

Jeremy Johnson
AcademicsThanksPeople

Butler Professor Receives NSF Grant to Study Class of Enzymes Linked with Cancer Growth

Butler Chemistry Professor Jeremy Johnson discovered something in his research that no one had seen before.

Aug 14 2018 Read more
ThanksGivingPeople

Honor My Father: Jay Sandhu and his Gift to Butler

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Aug 01 2018

Jay Sandhu '87 wanted to honor his father, Chain. So when the opportunity arose to name the garden terrace in Butler's new Lacy School of Business building for his father, he and his wife, Roop, said yes.

"The reason I am where I am is in no small part due to his hard work and guidance," said Sandhu, chair of Butler's Board of Trustees and CEO of NYX, an automotive supplier his father purchased in 1989, which has grown from 30 employees and $2 million in sales to 2,400 employees in four countries and nearly $600 million in sales. "He allowed me to come to Butler even after I said I wasn't going to be a doctor. He was my boss, mentor, father, and his hard work since the family emigrated from India is reason we live the life we do. He loves gardens, he loves business, so the garden terrace space seemed like a beautiful spot."

Sandhu, a Biology and Physics major at Butler, got his first look at the new building during a tour in June. He found himself "totally blown away" by what he saw—from the majestic atrium to the serenity of the view from the top-floor garden terrace. He expects the finished product, which is scheduled to open in fall 2019, to be transformative for business education at Butler, and he hopes to inspire others to contribute.

"It's not so much the number," he said. "As a trustee and chairman, obviously I'd like the number to be as big as possible, but I think it's more about having that connection with Butler, supporting Butler, to the extent that feels good. I know supporting Butler in this way has given me more happiness than I can describe. It feels good to support the school that I think so much of."

ThanksGivingPeople

Honor My Father: Jay Sandhu and his Gift to Butler

Jay Sandhu, and his wife, Roop, wanted to honor Jay’s father through a gift to the Lacy School of Business.

Aug 01 2018 Read more
Life Lessons

Life Lessons Found in Philanthropy

Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

With less than a decade of professional work experience under his belt, Matt Lally ’10 has ventured into territory many might postpone until closer to retirement. He’s the Founder of a nonprofit dedicated to bettering educational outcomes for at-risk youngsters; in addition, he’s funded a global effort to create a sustainable food source. Yet it’s clear his youthful enthusiasm is paying off for those individuals and communities in the crosshairs of his altruistic dreams.Matt Lally ’10

While he is optimistic about his efforts, he is also in touch with the realities of running a not-for-profit and a start-up business.

As Nielsen’s Associate Director of Growth and Strategy, Lally refers to himself as a market research consultant by day and nonprofit volunteer evenings and weekends. “Philanthropic work has always been important—it’s a value instilled from an early age,” he said. “My father ran his own charity for a decade (saving outcast dormitory furniture from landfills and delivering to Appalachia, the Caribbean, and Central America). I’ve always had exposure and interest in philanthropic activities.”

Networking led to meeting other young professionals with similar aspirations. One such acquaintance was exploring how he could have an impact on educational systems. The two were shocked at the statistic that one out of every eight students misses a month of school per school year. In 2012, when Chicago was the focus of national attention with high school graduation rates hovering around 50 percent, the duo began researching the issue—speaking with educators, administrators, and those with experience with existing programs and their shortcomings. “I believe education is the foundation and background for a successful life,” he said. “It was an area in which I wanted influence.”

Ugandan ParticipantsThrough research, they narrowed their focus to an approach that had little or no attention: A partnership geared toward elementary school parents that they named, “Goods for Grades.” In 2014, they attained their 501c3 and launched the inaugural program in 2015 with one school on Chicago’s southside. There, regular attendance (and later they added good behavior) results in rewards to the parents of actual goods or open-ended opportunities like a gift card to a restaurant or for purchasing clothes.

As happens through altruistic efforts, he’s learned more than he’s given over the course of three years. What he found was that the lackluster attendance of children was not because it was inconvenient to get them to school or that parents didn’t believe school was important.

“For some of them, it’s a matter of ‘I have to be at work at 6:00 a.m., so I rely on an older child to get them to school.’ We have to take into account all the different circumstances and then what would it take to place importance on overcoming that barrier,” he said. “We have learned a lot—most importantly, understanding the problem from their perspective. No one wants someone from the outside telling them how to raise their kids.”

As if one such effort wasn’t enough, Lally more recently became an investor in a sustainable chicken farm in Uganda. The relationship formed as he sat on the Chicago board of Accumen, “a global community dedicated to changing the way the world tackles poverty” by employing business practice and models and changing the traditional charity approach to something more sustainable. A business plan, cost analysis, and proforma led to Lally providing them with capital. 

Chicken Coup“The chicken farm is a supply/demand opportunity for eggs. At the beginning of 2015, five families were selected to participate to be the caregivers and owners of the project,” he said. “It’s been a tremendous success. They’ve followed their revenue forecast and already payed back the loan. Structuring it as a loan—versus a charitable donation—brings a greater sense of responsibility.”

These sorts of bold endeavors take a little chutzpah, and Lally credits his days at Butler with building that trait. “Something that has always stuck with me that I learned at Butler: It never hurts to ask. That can play out in a lot of different ways, but it’s a mentality. If there’s something that you want, the worst that can happen is you get a ‘no.’ Being vocal about what you want is going to have a positive impact. Also, if you have a real passion, you need to share that with as many people as you can.” 

 

To learn more about these respective projects and how to support them, visit GoodsForGrades.org or gofundme.com/emmy039s-empathy.

Life Lessons
ThanksPeopleCampus

Life Lessons Found in Philanthropy

Market research consultant by day—nonprofit volunteer by night. 

by Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

Read more
ThanksCampus

Would You Give a Kidney to a Facebook Friend? She Did.

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 23 2017

Laura Coker Blandford ’97 posted an urgent message on Facebook on August 27, 2016: Unless a kidney donor stepped forward soon, she would die a slow death.
Kidney donor Tracy Pabst got a visit from Trip.

“I want to see my son graduate high school, college,” she wrote. “I want to be a grandmother and spoil his children rotten and I truly feel like I have so much life left in me that I want to live!”

Tracy Tyndall Pabst ’98 read the note, “and it just got me.”

Pabst knew Blandford as a Delta Gamma sorority sister and Facebook friend. While “we weren’t super-duper close,” Pabst looked at Blandford and saw a daughter, a wife, a mother of an 11-year-old boy, a woman whose kidneys were failing due to complications related to Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other ailments.

Letting her die was unthinkable.

Then Blandford posted again, this time mentioning that her blood type is O-positive. Pabst thought that might be her blood type too. She gave blood and yes, she and Blandford matched.

“So that was my first sign,” Pabst said.

A few weeks later, Pabst talked to her husband, Sean. “She sat me down on the couch one Sunday evening before dinner,” he recalled. “She said, ‘Hey, I need to talk to you about something.’ It’s never good when your spouse starts a sentence that way. But she told me and I said, ‘I know you well enough that you wouldn’t verbalize this if you hadn’t already made up your mind.’ So I was in full support.”
Ty, Brayden, and Laura Blandford

Pabst talked to her father and mother, a doctor and nurse, respectively, and “they were totally on board with it.”

In September, Pabst and Blandford began the process to make sure they were a match.

On December 6, they found out they were. “I just broke out in tears,” Blandford said.

And on January 19, Blandford received Pabst’s left kidney in an operation at a hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, about an hour from her home in Louisville.

The day after, Blandford posted a video on Facebook: “Everything went well. Just want to let you know you now have a friend who has three kidneys. So I’m extra awesome now.” She’s faced some complications since, but is back home now.

And Pabst, a pharmacist, was cleared to go back to work after three weeks.

Pabst said the response to her remarkably selfless act has been overwhelming. A table in the sunroom of her Indianapolis home is covered in cards and gifts—some from people she doesn’t know who heard about what she did.
Family, friends, and even people she doesn't know showered Tracy Pabst with gifts.

No one, of course, was more grateful than the Blandford family.

“I want to give the biggest hug, thanks, and love in the world to Tracy Tyndall Pabst for her amazing gift to our family,” Blandford’s husband, TJ, posted on Facebook. “I will never be able to express my gratitude to her.”

Laura said simply: “Tracy gave me life. She gave me life back.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

ThanksCampus

Would You Give a Kidney to a Facebook Friend? She Did.

Unless a kidney donor stepped forward soon, she would die a slow death.

Feb 23 2017 Read more