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Getting Into the Swing With Orangutans, COE Style


PUBLISHED ON May 25 2014

In the coming years, elementary-school classes from all over Indiana will take field trips to the Indianapolis Zoo to see the orangutans in the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, which opened May 24.

IMG_1063And when they head home, they’ll leave with lesson plans and activities created by Butler University College of Education students to further their knowledge and enjoyment of the experience.

They might study about deforestation and how it affects the apes. Or simulate living like an orangutan. Or play a game of Orangutan Twister.

“The lesson plans cover math, language arts, science, social studies, art, and lots of kinesthetic movement,” said Associate Professor Catherine Pangan, whose class of junior-year elementary education majors devised the activities. "This is all about students at the center of the learning and hands-on experiences, and that mirrors the philosophy in the College of Education—to get kids excited and curious and doing things that have a real-life impact. Their knowledge goes so much deeper, and they’ll want to know more later. It really promotes lifelong learning.”

Butler began to get involved with the orangutan exhibit in late 2013, when Michele Schilten, the Director of Education at Indianapolis Zoological Society, talked to Pangan about a potential collaboration. In April, Pangan’s students went to the zoo for an information session about orangutans. They researched background information about the apes and went through training with one of the zoo’s experts.

“They told us what they were thinking about and looking for,” Pangan said, “and our students designed lesson plans that are hands-on activities for the classroom that teachers can take back to the classroom either before or after they visit the exhibit.”

The Butler students broke into groups of two or three, and designed a dozen lessons suitable for elementary school students. A typical plan includes a week’s worth of activities, as well as spelling out learning objectives and explaining how the activities fit into Indiana’s academic standards. Students will be taught related vocabulary and do readings and assignments.

The zoo describes the new permanent exhibit, which is home to eight orangutans, as a place that serves as a vital education, research, and conservation center where dedicated staff and community members can work together to create a positive future for critically endangered orangutans in the wild.

For Butler’s elementary education students, it’s been a chance to show their creativity in making a visit to the zoo not only fun but educational.

“We are modeling ways that museums and schools can work together to debunk the concept of a one-shot experience field trip and instead do something with greater purpose and intention over time,” Pangan said. “It is a win-win for both the school community and community resource.”




Media contact:
Marc Allan



Lisa Brooks Named New Chair of the School of Music


PUBLISHED ON May 23 2014

Professor of Violin Lisa Brooks, a Butler University faculty member since 1994, has been appointed Chair of the Butler University School of Music.

lisabrooks13In addition to Brooks’s work teaching violin at Butler, she is the principal second violinist of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. She is a regular substitute violinist and violist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and was a founding member of the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. Prior to coming to Butler, she taught at Baylor University, the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, Messiah College, and Dickinson College.

Brooks received both a bachelor's and master's degree in violin performance in four years from West Virginia University, where she was a student of Donald Portnoy. While completing her doctorate in violin performance from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, she studied with Joyce Robbins, and as a member of the Stony Brook graduate piano trio, coached extensively with Julius Levine and Gilbert Kalish.

As an orchestral musician, she was associate concertmaster of the Waco Symphony and performed with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Harrisburg and Reading Symphony Orchestras. She also has toured nationally with the Pennsylvania Ballet Company. She was an artist-fellow at the 1984 and 1985 Bach Aria festivals, and was a finalist in the 1981 A.S.T.A. National Solo Competition.

Dr. Brooks presents the pre-concert lectures for the Ensemble Music Society and is a member of the steering committee for the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. In 2001, she was awarded a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and in May 2013, she received the inaugural Distinguished Faculty Award for Service and Leadership from Butler.

She takes over for Dan Bolin, who had served as School of Music Chair since 2009.


Media contact:
Marc Allan



COE Professor Suneeta Kercood Selected for Fulbright Award


PUBLISHED ON May 22 2014

Professor of Special Education Suneeta Kercood has been selected for the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award. She will conduct research in India this summer and next under the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

Kercood, a Butler faculty member since 2001, said her research topic is “A Study of the Health Behaviors of Children and Adults with Disabilities, and the Sociocultural Factors That Influence Their Healthy Lifestyles.”

The purpose of her visit to India as a Fulbright scholar will be:

-To utilize surveys and interviews with parents and caregivers of individuals with disabilities and identify health behaviors, health challenges, and areas of health promotion interest. 

-To identify and analyze case studies of individuals with disabilities who consistently practice healthy behaviors, in spite of having disabilities, socio-economic, or environmental challenges. Healthy behaviors Kercood will study include practicing a nutritional diet, regular exercise, and routine health care evaluations.

-To develop components of a plan for creating ecologically based intervention programs for individuals with disabilities in consultation with stakeholders such as parents, caregivers, educators, and health professionals who work directly with individuals with disabilities.

India is the site of the largest Fulbright U.S. Scholar program worldwide, with more than 70 grants available each year.

In recommending Kercood for the Fulbright, Ena Shelley, Dean of the College of Education, wrote:

“Dr. Kercood’s proposal  … merges her research efforts of special education and public health. She has proposed to do her work in her homeland of India, which certainly aligns with the Butler University goal of being positive global citizens. I believe her research will have significance in both fields and will spur further research in the United States as well as abroad. As we see an increase in the population of developmental disabilities, we must further understand the relationship to nutrition and health behaviors.  Her research should be fertile ground for publications and presentations that bridge special education and health education.”

Kercood is the second College of Education Fulbright recipient for the 2013-2014 school year. Earlier this year, Emily Seibert ’14 received a Fulbright to teach English and American culture in Greece.


Media contact:
Marc Allan



2013-2014: The School Year in Review


PUBLISHED ON May 08 2014



During the 2013-2014 school year, Butler celebrated the creation of the Desmond Tutu Center, the 50th anniversaries of Clowes Hall and the Irwin Library, and more than $17 million in gifts to refurbish Hinkle Fieldhouse. Three students and one faculty member received prestigious Fulbright awards to study overseas. We said goodbye to two distinguished professors, George Geib and Robert Grechesky, who taught at Butler for 49 and 41 years, respectively. And we mourned longtime loyal mascot Blue II.

Here’s a look back.


Image 5-Butler welcomed 1,025 freshmen on move-in day Saturday, August 24. Butler’s class of 2017 continued the University’s track record of attracting high-quality, academically prepared students. The class included 16 Lilly Scholars and five National Merit/National Achievement Scholars. Students came from 32 states and 22 countries. Forty-three percent were from Indiana, and 57 percent were from out of state, the highest percentage of out-of-state students in Butler history.

-President James M. Danko introduced the Butler 2020 Vision, a bold and strategic course for the future of Butler designed to distinguish Butler as a school of choice for exceptional students and guide the institution to increased national prominence by the year 2020. The Vision document states:  Butler University will be an innovative leader in the creation and delivery of transformative student-centered learning experiences that prepare graduates to make a meaningful impact in the world.


-Mark Minner ’12 was selected as the radio play-by-play announcer for Butler men’s basketball.

-Butler University awarded $100,000 in Innovation Fund grants to faculty members and a student to support their ideas for creative, collaborative academic programs. A student-produced jazz CD, a video series on making financial decisions, and new Butler curricula focused on professional writing and critical listening were some of the projects to receive grants that ranged from $6,000 to $25,000.

-Some 557 students fanned out across Indianapolis to do volunteer work as part of Bulldogs Into the Streets. It was the biggest turnout in the program’s 19-year history.

Blue-II-Butler Blue II, the male English bulldog who served as Butler University’s live mascot from 2004–2013, died on August 31, due to complications from congestive heart failure. He was 9 years old.



Archbishop Desmond Tutu event at Clowes Memorial Hall September 12, 2013-Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary announced that they joined together to create The Desmond Tutu Center. The Center will focus on leadership development in social justice and reconciliation, international relationships, and interreligious and community bridge-building. The news was announced just prior to Archbishop Emeritus Tutu taking the stage at Clowes Memorial Hall to a full house of more than 2,100. South African cleric and anti-apartheid activist Allan Aubrey Boesak, a longtime friend of Archbishop Emeritus Tutu’s, was appointed as the Center’s first director. Boesak serves as the Desmond Tutu Chair for Peace, Global Justice, and Reconciliation Studies at Butler and CTS.

-Butler was granted reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Commission reviewers affirmed that Butler provides a high-quality education through faculty who are committed teachers focused on student-centered learning and through staff who provide support services that enable students to succeed.

-Butler astronomy faculty and students, who already have remote access to telescopes in Chile and Arizona, found out they would be able to view the stars from a telescope off the Canary Islands beginning in 2015. The Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy, of which Butler is a member, will add the telescope located near the coast of Morocco once it is fitted for remote access.

-The Irwin Library celebrated its 50th birthday with cake, a 1963 fashion show, and a photo exhibit.

-For the fourth consecutive year, Butler University was ranked the No. 1 “Up and Coming” school in the Midwest in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges. This ranking recognizes Butler’s efforts to make “the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus, or facilities.” Butler also ranked No. 2 overall among Midwest Regional Universities, marking its fifth year in this position and 25th year in the top 10 for this category.

-Professor Emeritus Jackson Wiley, the beloved longtime conductor of the Butler Symphony Orchestra, died September 3. He was 92. Wiley, who taught at Butler and conducted the Butler Symphony Orchestra from 1969 to 1991, had an enormous impact on music both at Butler and in Indianapolis. He founded and directed the Greater Indianapolis Youth Symphony, was Conductor and Music Director of the Indiana Opera Theater and Indianapolis Opera Company, was Music Director for Indianapolis Ballet Theatre, served as Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis and the Athenaeum Orchestra, and was Guest Conductor for the Symphonic Praise Choir.

-The Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University was awarded a four-year, $2.9 million National Science Foundation grant to create sites along six Indianapolis waterways where arts and science will be used to educate the public about Indianapolis’s water system.

023-The University unveiled a Peace Pole—a 7-foot, octagonal, red cedar pole containing the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in 16 languages—in the grassy plaza between Starbucks and Jordan Hall.

-The College of Business (COB) secured the 47th position in the 2013 Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranking of 124 U.S. undergraduate business programs. Since its debut on the list three years ago, the College has climbed 16 spots (63rd in 2010, 58th in 2011, and 48th in 2012). The COB remains the only Indianapolis business school on the list.

-Butler University's part-time MBA program ranked 69th in U.S. News and World Report's Best Graduate Schools, 2013 Edition. This is the second consecutive year Butler has been on the list. Last year the school placed 105th.

-Butler University received two grants from the Indianapolis Foundation, a Central Indiana Community Foundation affiliate—$100,000 to support The Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse and $20,000 for the Butler Community Arts School. The money for the fieldhouse will be used to preserve and maintain the building’s historic structure inside and out, and make improvements that will benefit Butler student-athletes and spectators. The Butler Community Arts Schools provides free and low-cost music lessons and arts instruction to hundreds of Indianapolis schoolchildren each year. The majority of its grant funds will go to need-based scholarships for underserved youths.

-Poet and actress Maya Angelou returned to campus to speak as part of the Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series. She was the series’ inaugural speaker in 1988.


clowesfullhouse0113 001-Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University celebrated its 50th birthday with a week of special programming that included the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra returning to Clowes, its longtime home, for a concert.

-For the third consecutive year, the College of Business was included in U.S. News and World Report’s list of Best Business Schools. The College placed 141 out of 342 schools. The U.S. News Best Business Schools list is significant because rankings are based solely on peer assessments.

-Butler’s MBA program was one of 295 programs featured in the 2014 edition of The Princeton Review's "Best Business Schools” guidebook. This was the ninth year the program has been included in the book. This annual guide of top graduate business programs is based on data provided by the school and surveys of 20,300 business school students from the best AACSB-accredited MBA programs in the world.

-Bestselling author John Green headlined Butler University’s first Writers’ Harvest, a benefit for Second Helpings, in Clowes Memorial Hall.

-Butler University made Kiplinger Personal Finance’s list of the Best Values in Private Colleges for 2014. The list included 100 private universities from across the country. Butler ranked 61st overall—second in Indiana behind the University of Notre Dame.

-Butler University’s new 450-seat performance hall, the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, received LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environment Design) gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The facility uses 55 percent less water and 22 percent less energy than a typical building its size because of construction measures.

-Butler University was named one of the Top 100 Social Media Colleges in the nation, according to the website In ranking Butler 35th overall, the website wrote: “Butler's English bulldog mascots Butler Blue II and III rose to celebrity status through a social media campaign that gathered 13,000 followers! The cute, wrinkly faces of Bulldog nation toured the country along with the Final Four basketball team.”

-The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation Inc. awarded $600,000 to Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University for electrical infrastructure upgrades. The grant came on the heels of a $2 million gift from the Foundation that was used in summer 2013 to restore the inside of the hall. That work included adding all new seats and carpeting in the auditorium, acoustical enhancements, paint, and a new roof for the 2,200-seat hall.


Butler’s Center for Urban Ecology, the Indy Hunger Network, and the Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative received a $50,000 Indiana State Department of Agriculture grant that will double the buying power of food-stamp recipients who shop at farmers markets and simultaneously help small farmers. The program enabled anyone who receives food stamps to use “Fresh Bucks” to purchase items such as broccoli, sweet corn, green beans—most anything you’d find at a farmers market.

-A $120,000 grant received by The Indiana Partnership for Young Writers will help Butler’s College of Education create teacher training for early childhood education programs and develop additional programs that could benefit up to 1,500 local preschool and elementary students. The grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust will also support new initiatives to mentor entry-level minority teachers, develop online literacy curricula, and showcase student writing, including work by IPS/Butler Laboratory School students.


0-Butler University conferred an honorary degree on Nadja Halilbegovich ’02 during the December 22 winter 2013 Commencement ceremony, recognizing her activism on behalf of children caught in the violence of war. About 150 students received their degrees.

-Butler University announced that it was joining fellow universities and leading Hoosier businesses in opposition to House Joint Resolution 6 and a proposed amendment to the Indiana State Constitution strictly defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

-The College of Education became the first college of education  in Indiana—and only the 22nd in the world—authorized to offer teacher certification courses in International Baccalaureate education for Primary Years (ages 3-12) and Middle Years (ages 11-16). COE will begin offering a sequence of four IB certificate courses in summer 2014, as an option for practicing teachers interested in IB-focused professional development.

-Butler University received a $999,952 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to create Butler Advance, a program focused on helping students—especially those in the liberal arts—further cultivate key attributes needed for professional success and the transition to careers in Indiana. The program will include collaborations with the Central Indiana business, non-profit, and higher education communities. It will involve summer and academic year components promoting integrated academic and career advising, exploration, experiential learning, and career preparation by emphasizing the applicability of liberal arts skills to employment in business, non-profit, and government environments.

-Butler junior Eshan Pua earned a Fulbright-Hays scholarship to study Chinese for eight months in China beginning in January.

-The Jordan College of the Arts named Professor of Music Eric Stark to the position of Director of Choral Activities. He officially took on the role in January, overseeing administration, planning, and strategy for the four choral groups that are faculty-led: the Butler Chorale; University Choir; Chamber Choir; and Jordan Jazz.

-The Center for Urban Ecology Farm at Butler University unveiled a new addition—a mobile classroom where visiting students can learn about the growing operations and participate in farm activities. The classroom is a former shipping container that was repurposed by Ball State University Professor of Architecture Tim Gray and his third-year students. They equipped the space, which is about the size of a large truck trailer, with movable tables and chairs made from recycled wood, an acrylic canopy for shade, and a rainwater-collection system.


-Donors from across the country honored Bobby Plump, the hero of the 1954 “Milan Miracle,” by announcing a joint $50,000 gift in his name to Butler’s Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler President James M. Danko and Hoosiers screenwriter and producer Angelo Pizzo were on hand for the gift presentation in Hinkle, along with Plump's family, former Indiana Pacers coach Bob "Slick" Leonard, and Maris Valainis, the actor who played Jimmy Chitwood, the character in Hoosiers inspired by Plump.

Butler University's Hinkle Fieldhouse in winter January 3, 2014.-Butler University announced that it had raised more than $17.156 million to preserve and update its landmark arena, Hinkle Fieldhouse. Total gifts and pledges to The Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse surpassed the $16 million public fundraising goal announced at the campaign’s launch in November 2012.

-The College of Business announced that it would offer two new online certificate programs, one for professionals who want to make an immediate impact on their career and the second for experienced and emerging leaders who want to coach their employees to higher performance and engagement.

-Filmmaker Lee Daniels (The Butler, Precious, Monster’s Ball) spoke at Clowes Memorial Hall as part of the Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series.








LauraBushspeech0214 034-Former First Lady Laura Bush spoke at Clowes Memorial Hall as part of the Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series.

-The Martha Graham Dance Company did a residency at Clowes Memorial Hall, performing many educational events for both students and the general public in advance of its performance there.

-The College of Communication announced that it would offer new majors in Sports Media and Interactive Media beginning in the fall. The Sports Media major is designed for students interested in careers in sports information, production, or journalism/media. The Interactive Media program within CCOM’s Creative Media and Entertainment program will offer students an opportunity to learn about interactive media and to create and distribute content using multimedia tools.

-The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra (ICO) and Butler University formalized a partnership designating the ICO as the professional Orchestra-in-Residence at Butler’s new Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts. For Butler students, faculty, and staff, the arrangement will bring a regular association with a professional orchestra. For the ICO, it will provide a performance venue that is suitable in size, acoustics, and location for the 34-member orchestra.


 Steve Standifird-Stephen Standifird, Dean of the Schroeder School of Business at the University of Evansville, was announced as the new Dean of the College of Business, beginning June 1.

-Butler University's part-time MBA program ranked 72nd in U.S. News and World Report's Best Graduate Schools, 2015 Edition. This was the third consecutive year Butler has been on the list of the nation’s top 125 part-time MBA programs.

-Emily Seibert ’14 was chosen for a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to live and work in Athens, Greece, for 10 months.


-College of Education Associate Dean Debra Lecklider, Clowes Memorial Hall Executive Director Elise Kushigian, and senior chemistry/Pre-Medicine student Brittany Moore were named Butler University’s 2014 Women of Distinction.

-The College of Business earned reaccreditation from AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. AACSB International is the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees in business and accounting. AACSB Accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education, and has been earned by less than 5 percent of the world's business programs.

-The College of Education announced a new minor in Recreation and Sports Studies that’s designed to prepare Butler students interested in health, physical activity, recreation, and sports to lead programs in and outside of school settings. The minor will be offered beginning in fall semester 2014.

-Butler University’s 26th annual Undergraduate Research Conference was its biggest ever, with nearly 1,000 students and their mentoring faculty from 20 states coming to campus for a daylong event showcasing oral and poster presentations on topics as diverse as molecular biology and 17th-century opera.

Alex Still
Alex Still '14


-Alex Still ’14 will head to France this fall as recipient of the Fulbright French Government Teaching Award, sponsored by the French ministry of education.

-The Butler Collegian won 11 awards at the Indiana Collegiate Press Association's annual conference Saturday at IUPUI, celebrating the best of Indiana's collegiate newspapers, news magazines, literary magazines, yearbooks, online publications, and advertising.

-Butler University partnered with Austin, Texas-based American Campus Communities (ACC) to build a 500-bed dormitory tentatively scheduled to open in 2016. By agreeing to a long-term partnership with ACC, Butler will be able to maintain the financial flexibility needed to invest in new academic buildings.

-Butler announced plans to work with the city of Indianapolis to upgrade the Sunset Avenue streetscape, improving safety and sustainability, and transforming the entrance to the University. The project will include landscaped medians, bike lanes, sidewalk improvements, new street lighting, and signage. The city is funding half of $3 million project.



-Professor of History George Geib retired after 49 years at Butler.

Bob Grechesky

-The Butler University Wind Ensemble paid tribute to retiring Director of Bands Robert Grechesky with a concert at Clowes Memorial Hall. Grechesky spent 41 years teaching music at Butler.

-Suneeta Kercood, Professor of Special Education, received a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award to study in India. Her work will revolve around “A Study of the Health Behaviors of Children and Adults with Disabilities, and the Sociocultural Factors that Influence their Healthy Lifestyles.”

-Rear Admiral Elaine C. Wagner ’76 and former Butler men’s basketball coach Brad Stevens received honorary doctorates at Butler University’s spring commencement ceremony. More than 900 students received their diplomas.

Media contact:
Marc Allan



Collegian, Win Four SPJ Awards


PUBLISHED ON May 05 2014

Colin Likas and Jojo Gentry
Colin Likas and Joellen Gentry

The Butler Collegian and Butler's picked up four awards at the Society of Professional Journalists' "Best of Indiana" awards, presented by SPJ's Indiana Pro chapter.

The Collegian won two first places: Sports writing (Colin Likas '14, Jill McCarter '13 and  Marissa Johnson '13 for "Packing Up and Moving On?") and editorial writing (staff editorial by Kevin Vogel '14, for "The Ins and Outs of the Indiana Lifeline Law)., a news website of the Eugene S. Pulliam School of Journalism that features stories by students in JR212, JR312 and JR412, won second- and third-place awards for non-deadline news reporting (Whitney Simmons, second place, for "What the Death Penalty Means in Indiana," and Joellen Gentry, third place, for "Recent Job Cuts and Hospital Expansions over Past Decade Generate Quality Care Concerns").

The awards banquet, which honored journalists at newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations across the state, was held Friday night at the Marriott North.


Media contact:
Marc Allan



College of Education Students Facilitate a Loooooong Distance Call


PUBLISHED ON Apr 29 2014

Butler junior Rachel Chambers made the long-distance call of a lifetime Tuesday, April 29—a video conference with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Rachel Chambers with astronaut David Wolf, who moderated the question-and-answer session.
Rachel Chambers with astronaut David Wolf, who moderated the question-and-answer session. (Photos by Jennifer Messmer)

The call took place at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, where Chambers and 19 students from Indianapolis middle and elementary schools spoke with Expedition 39 flight engineers Rick Mastracchio, Steve Swanson, and Koichi Wakata as they orbited the Earth at 5 miles per second.

While the students interviewed the astronauts, they and about 500 of their classmates watched the large video screen on which the astronauts—dressed in green polo shirts and khaki pants rather than spacesuits and letting a microphone float from man to man—could be seen answering the questions.

“It was one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve had in my life so far, especially educationally,” said Chambers, a Toledo, Ohio, native who plans to teach elementary school after graduation. “It was so cool to be up there, especially with the kids, and see their excitement, their enthusiasm, and have that chance to actually talk with astronauts live in space.”

Chambers and 27 classmates in Education Professor Catherine Pangan’s “Integrated Science and Social Students Methods for Elementary Students” class helped prepare second- and third-graders from the Indianapolis Public Schools/Butler Lab School to ask questions.

Most of the kids’ questions had to do with things like how the men became astronauts, what kind of foods the astronauts eat in space (pretty much what we eat on Earth, though Wakata said he wished sushi were an option), and how they go to the bathroom in space (fun fact: The oxygen in urine gets reused.)

Chambers asked the astronauts about their greatest experience in space. Mastracchio said his was taking a walk in space and seeing a panoramic view of the Earth.

“It’s something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” he said.IMG_9911

The event was part of Destination Station, NASA’s national awareness campaign to educate the public about space station activities.

Pangan said Butler got involved at the request of The Children’s Museum. Her class does work at the museum throughout the semester, in addition to working with students in the Lab School. To prepare the Lab School students, Pangan’s class spent a class period teaching them about who the astronauts are, what the International Space Station is, and the background of the space program.

The project so excited the Butler students that the mother of one, Mallory Russikoff, made T-shirts with Butler and NASA logos for the class to wear. Pangan was ecstatic, too.

“I had goose bumps almost the whole time,” Pangan said. “Every week our class has done something incredible. This was just icing on the cake.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan



Butler Students Show the Professional Investors How It's Done


PUBLISHED ON Apr 28 2014

Seven years ago, students in Professor of Finance Steve Dolvin’s Applied Portfolio Management classes began investing $1 million from the Butler University endowment.

That million is now $1.4 million.

Butler College of Business Administration professor Steve Dolvin's class in Holcomb 122 September 25, 2007.So the Butler University Board of Trustees has decided that, this fall, Dolvin and his students are getting a second million.

“The College of Business is growing substantially,” Dolvin said. “Enrollments are up, and the finance major is more popular. We want to make sure the class is available to more students, and we also want to offer it to the MBA students as well. Since we’ve done well, we felt that it would be feasible to start a second fund.”

MBA students will get a chance to invest the money in the fall, and undergraduates will have the opportunity in the spring, Dolvin said.

All students who invest the money take a prerequisite investments class that Dolvin teaches in which they learn how to evaluate stocks and build portfolios.

Applied Portfolio Management “is their chance to take that and put it into practice,” he said.

Typically, 12-16 students take the class each semester. They split into four teams, and each is responsible for two segments of the S&P 500. So one group may have consumer staples and industrials; another might have financials and healthcare.

The students provide their classmates with written information about each company, and they’re required to present formal metrics and analysis in the class. Approval by a two-thirds majority of the class is required to place an order to buy.

Students also get the benefit of an eight-person advisory board made up of local investment professionals, many of whom are Butler alumni. Each group gets two advisers for the semester.

Among the students’ best picks has been Express Scripts, a pharmaceutical benefits manager, which has doubled in value, split, and gone up more, Dolvin said. Home Depot also has doubled since they bought the stock.

About 20 fund managers oversee a portion of Butler’s endowment, which is currently valued at around $200 million. Over the past seven years, students in Dolvin’s classes have done about as well as any other manager. One quarter, they were the top performers.

And what have Dolvin and the students learned from that?

“We pay way too much money for people to pick stocks for us,” Dolvin said, “and not enough money for people to help us build portfolios.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan




Musicologist Nicholas Johnson Joins School of Music Faculty


PUBLISHED ON Apr 28 2014

Musicologist Nicholas Johnson, a specialist in the music history of the early-modern period and American popular music, will join the Butler University School of Music faculty.

Johnson headshot 2As an Assistant Professor, he will instruct courses on music ranging from the Medieval through the Classical periods, as well as seminars on a wide range of musical and societal issues.

"Nicholas Johnson just fits Butler's needs as a fine teacher, accessible and yet properly demanding of his students,” said James Briscoe, Butler Professor of Historical Musicology. “He comes to us with excellent experience in teaching and promises much that will engage the full imagination of those in his classes.  It is wonderful to have such a fine cross-over colleague, one who empathizes fully with the need for highest scholarship—liberal and broad learning—and the need to merge that with performance expectations."

Johnson has taught as an adjunct professor at Ohio State University and Wittenberg University, and full time at Butler during the 2013-2014 school year. He has received prestigious research grants from the Fulbright Commission and the Mellon Foundation, and has presented at several national and international conferences, including Princeton University, Oxford University, and the University of Vienna.

He earned his doctorate in musicology at The Ohio State University in 2012 with a dissertation on magic, music, and astronomy at the court of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II in Prague, He also holds a master’s degree in music history from the University of Maryland, and a bachelor’s degree in music from Truman State University.

Johnson has performed extensive archival research at the Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek in Austria, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, and the Biblioteka Uniwersytecka we Wrocławiu in Wrocław, Poland. His primary research area is the interaction between music and philosophy in the period surrounding the Scientific Revolution.


Media contact:
Marc Allan



Dr. Grechesky Goes Out on a High Note


PUBLISHED ON Apr 07 2014

Forty-one years, seven presidents, six deans, countless performances. That’s the line on Bob Grechesky’s career at Butler, which ends this spring when he retires as director of bands.

bobgrechesky11Grechesky joined the faculty in 1973, when Lilly Hall was barely a decade old, and Gallahue Hall and the Holcomb Building had yet to be built. One of his professors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, former Butler Marching Band Director Michael Leckrone, had taught at Butler and told him about the job, which consisted of conducting the marching band and jazz band.

“I didn’t think I’d stay longer than a few years,” said Grechesky, sitting in a Lilly Hall office filled with memories and mementos of his decades at Butler, including probably 100 bobbleheads. “But it’s been a very good place to be.”

Growing up in Salem, New Jersey, near the Delaware border, Grechesky planned to become a lawyer or a psychologist. In high school in the early 1960s, he was a “crappy” trombone player. One summer he went to a summer music camp at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) and found himself relegated to the last chair. “It was embarrassing,” he said.

The next year, the Beatles made their first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and suddenly everyone wanted to be in a rock band—including a friend down the street who played euphonium. Grechesky asked to borrow the horn, which he describes as “a tuba with a thyroid condition.” That next summer, he earned euphonium first chair at the summer camp.

“I wasn’t ready to play that stuff, but there I was,” he said. “So I practiced eight hours a day. The camp was a three-week camp, and, by the time I got done, I was pretty good. I stuck with it. There’s a lot to be said for perseverance. Showing up is the majority of it. Show up, do the work, work hard at it.”

He went on to study at Rutgers University as an undergraduate and earn his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He taught in New Jersey and Wisconsin high schools, and at Madison Area Technical College while in grad school. But Butler was his first—and, it turns out, last—full-time university teaching job.

“I got to a place in my career where this [Butler] was very satisfying,” he said. “And Indianapolis is a great town. We sort of grew up with the town. And this is a great place to raise a family. This is a good school with great students and faculty, and I’ve always been able to fulfill my professional artistic needs here as far as making music and doing music.”

Butler Composer-in-Residence Michael Schelle said Grechesky has been a phenomenal asset for Butler as a professor, performer, and colleague.

“For 40 years, he has been ‘Radio Free Butler’—by far, the most flag-waving chamber of commerce representative for the University I have ever known here, or anywhere else,” Schelle said. “He put his heart and soul into the school and the young musicians, 24/7.”

But now Grechesky and his wife, Adrienne, a music teacher in Indianapolis Public Schools for the past 41 years, will be moving to Marietta, Georgia, to be near their daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters.

Grechesky expects to do a lot of chauffeuring. He also plans to play in the Cobb County Wind Ensemble and work on a critical addition to a composition called “A Chant from the Great Plains,” which won the first National Band Association composition contest in the 1920s but has since been lost through time.

What he’ll miss most about Butler, he said, are the students. He’s proud of the number of students who’ve gone on to successful careers in music, including Bob Wood ’74 (trumpet in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra), Steve Eggleston ’74 (professor of music at Illinois Wesleyan University), and Matt Henry ’96 (colonel and conductor in U.S. Air Force band).

“Some of my best friends are former students,” he said. “Over the years, you establish those relationships. That’s the thing. That’s the bond.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan



26th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference Will Be the Biggest Yet


PUBLISHED ON Mar 31 2014

Butler University’s 26th annual Undergraduate Research Conference will be its biggest ever, with nearly 1,000 students and their mentoring faculty from 20 states coming to campus April 11 for a daylong event showcasing oral and poster presentations on topics as diverse as molecular biology and 17th-century opera.

014Admission is open to the public, although advanced registration is encouraged. For more information, call 317-940-9581.

Rusty Jones, Interim Associate Director of Butler’s Center for High Achievement and Scholarly Engagement, said nearly two-thirds of the students presenting their research will be from outside Butler, with some coming from as far away as Massachusetts, Florida, and California.

This year’s conference is more than 20 percent bigger than any previous year’s—with nearly 600 presentations scheduled. Jones expects the event to continue to grow.

“This is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to show off their work,” he said. “We’re one of the only places doing something like this. The quality is absolutely first rate.

“It’s harder and harder to get into grad school. High-achieving students are doing everything they can to make themselves strong candidates, and participation in this event can really bolster their applications and help prepare them for graduate-level work.”

The Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) is open to all fields of study. This year’s theme is “Cultivating urcregisterIntellectual Growth,” and, in keeping with the theme of “cultivation,” McKenzie Beverage, Butler’s sustainability coordinator, will showcase environmental awareness projects on Butler’s campus. That includes tours of the campus farm and LEED gold-certified Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts and the Pharmacy Building addition, as well as a glimpse of a new initiative to operate campus vehicles using student-produced biodiesel fuel.

Information about the presentations at the URC can be found at


Media contact:
Marc Allan
(317) 940-9822



Stephen Standifird Named New College of Business Dean


PUBLISHED ON Mar 21 2014

Stephen Standifird, Dean of the Schroeder School of Business at the University of Evansville, will become the Dean of Butler University’s College of Business beginning June 1.

Standifird_PhotoAt Butler, he will take over the University’s third-largest college, with approximately 900 undergraduate and 200 graduate students. Butler’s College of Business was ranked 47th in the 2013 Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranking of 124 U.S. undergraduate business programs, and U.S. News and World Report ranked the College 141 out of 342 schools in 2013. Butler University’s part-time MBA program is currently ranked 57th by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and 72nd by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Schools.

"I am impressed by what the Butler College of Business has been able to accomplish in recent years,” said Standifird. “Butler University and the College of Business specifically are leaders in higher education innovation. I am thrilled with the opportunity to lead the ongoing advancements of the College."

At Evansville, Standifird was responsible for all aspects of the Schroeder School of Business, including leading the school’s faculty, assuring continued accreditation, and providing oversight of the school’s Institute for Global Enterprise and Institute for Banking and Finance. Standifird also led the revamping of the school’s assurance of learning program and the introduction of a variety of new international offerings including the “Global Virtual Classroom.”

He created a $1.2 million endowment for career services, with commitments to bring the endowment to $2 million. Under his watch, student placement and their starting salaries increased by 24 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Standifird also led the creation of a $100,000 microfinance fund for minority- and women-owned businesses, which is operated by students and in partnership with Old National Bank.

Prior to his time at the University of Evansville, Standifird held positions at the University of San Diego’s School of Business. As Associate Dean from 2009–2011, he helped increase enrollment of the school’s six master of science programs by roughly 34 percent over a two-year period. During his time as Director of Undergraduate Programs from 2006–2009, he created a comprehensive assurance of learning program and positioned the program for its first-ever ranking by Bloomberg BusinessWeek in 2009.

Standifird earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University, his MBA from Northwestern University, and his doctorate in organizational studies from the University of Oregon.

“Steve has the precise combination of experience and expertise to become the next leader of the Butler College of Business,” Provost Kathryn Morris said. “I am very pleased that he will be joining the leadership team at Butler.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan
(317) 940-9822


AcademicsStudent Life

Jackson Aldridge Tries to Make Fans Comfortable


PUBLISHED ON Jan 16 2014

When he’s not making a name for himself playing basketball, Butler guard Jackson Aldridge is working on his career as a businessman/entrepreneur. As part of his Real Business Experience course, the sophomore economics major from Sydney, Australia, has created Stadium Sidekick, an inflatable drink holder that doubles as a seat cushion.

The Stadium Sidekick

Stadium Sidekick, which sells for $4, is designed to be customized with school and team logos, and marketed with this slogan: “Support your team with a full beer and a comfortable rear.”

“The long term goals of my business are to establish a reliable, comfortable, and unique product to both professional and collegiate sporting venues for fans to enjoy,” Aldridge said.

Product development began in Butler’s Real Business Experience (RBE) class, where students team up and devise an idea to produce and market a product or service. Then they produce and sell the product.

Aldridge and his team in the RBE class established a connection with a supplier in China to manufacture the product, and towards the end of the semester he made bulk sales totaling 200 units in just two weeks of sales.

If the business concept is approved by an outside funding review board, students can take a second class where they actually run their business marketing their product, and the College of Business will loan the team up to $5,000 to get up and running.

Aldridge is taking the second class and will be selling the Stadium Sidekick during the spring semester. After he pays back the money, he can keep the profits.



Media contact:
Marc Allan
(317) 940-9822