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Faculty Focus: Hala Fadda

Krisy Force

from Spring 2017

Although Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Hala Fadda did not start working at Butler University until 2011, she entered the University with a passion for learning, research, and collaboration. All qualities that embody what it means to be a Butler Bulldog. 

“I knew Butler was a great school with an excellent pharmacy program,” Fadda said. “I came here for the interview and was impressed with the dedication and passion of the students. I thought to myself, ‘I would like to be a part of this—part of educating the next generation of pharmacy students at Butler.” 

Upon starting at Butler, Fadda immediately reached out to gastroenterologist Dr. Monika Fischer at the IU School of Medicine to begin a variety of research projects to understand drug absorption in health and disease. 

The ongoing research focuses on drug absorption, transit times, and motility patterns of our gastrointestinal tract in different patient populations, utilizing tools such as a Capsule endoscopy (camera capsule). Capsule endoscopy is a powerful tool for imaging the gut which is used in the investigation of gastrointestinal disorders. 

“We came up with the idea to look at how this camera capsule transits through the gut—to see the path and examine how fast, or how slow it goes through. We are particularly interested in the small intestine as this is the part of our gut where most drug absorption takes place,” Fadda said. 

From these studies, Fadda and her collaborators were able to determine that transit times of tablets are highly variable between patients. 

“Transit times can range from 50 to 460 minutes. That is a huge variability,” Fadda said. “It was previously thought that small intestinal transit is uniform across patients. We also showed that patients with ulcerative colitis and active Crohn’s disease have longer small intestinal transit times compared to non-inflammatory bowel disease patients. This helps us understand the differences in drug absorption between different patient populations.” 

Fadda and her team of PharmD and graduate research students at Butler have utilized this new knowledge to set up a bench-top model in one of the labs at Butler to simulate the stomach and small intestine. 

“In this model we are mimicking pH transitions and fluid flow in our gut to understand how medicines behave in our body. All this research will help improve the testing and design of new medicines with improved therapeutic efficacy and reduced side effects,” Fadda said. “Ultimately, the goal is to develop better medicines for our patients.” 

Working with a multi-disciplinary research team comprised of both researchers and students, is enriching and allows one to gain new perspectives and ideas and share the latest research findings in the classroom. 

“I’m able to tell my students that there is no such thing as the average individual, and there is no such thing as the average patient. It is important for students to appreciate the variability between different patient populations. Eventually, they are going to apply this knowledge to enhance patient’s lives and make a difference.”


Faculty Focus: Hala Fadda

“I thought to myself, ‘I would like to be a part of this—part of educating the next generation of pharmacy students at Butler.’” 

by Krisy Force

from Spring 2017

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The Reflective Practitioner

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2017

When Robert Soltis ’87 returned to Butler in 2016 to serve as Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, he came in with a goal to deliver on the College’s mission of developing graduates who serve society as dedicated, competent health professionals and community leaders.

At the 2016 White Coat Ceremony, Soltis said the Pharmacy and Physician Assistant programs are committed to integrating the liberal arts with professional preparation. He described this in terms of creating graduates who are “reflective practitioners”—competent PAs and pharmacists who “think deeply about their professional responsibilities and their patients.” 

“They are, in the end, dedicated and caring individuals who work for the good of others,” he said.

To illustrate the point, Soltis told the story of an Indianapolis woman named Eileen, a diabetic. Eileen’s husband lost his job and subsequently their health insurance. With limited money for insulin, test supplies, and her other medications, Eileen stopped taking most of her drugs and cut her insulin doses in half to stretch her budget. She also cut back on food, thinking she could control her disease by eating less.

Eileen became malnourished, anemic, and experienced diabetic ketoacidosis. At that point, she had to be rushed to the ER and spent several days in the hospital. “I truly did not think I was putting my life in danger,” she said at the time.

In this case, Soltis said, a reflective practitioner would have considered several questions, including: How did Eileen’s situation come to be? Was there no one to help her understand her disease? Why did she not realize the consequences of her actions? 

Most importantly, a reflective practitioner would reflect inward and ask: Could there be an Eileen among my patients? And, do I treat my patients in a way that they know they are deserving of, and are entitled to, the best care possible?

Eileen became malnourished, anemic, and experienced diabetic ketoacidosis. At that point, she had to be rushed to the ER and spent several days in the hospital. “I truly did not think I was putting my life in danger,” she said at the time.

In this case, Soltis said, a reflective practitioner would have considered several questions, including: How did Eileen’s situation come to be? Was there no one to help her understand her disease? Why did she not realize the consequences of her actions? 

Most importantly, a reflective practitioner would reflect inward and ask: Could there be an Eileen among my patients? And, do I treat my patients in a way that they know they are deserving of, and are entitled to, the best care possible?

To be a reflective practitioner requires knowing the right questions to ask and being committed to your patients’ well-being, Soltis said.

“I ask that from now on, every time our students put their white coat on, that they think about how they are preparing for a life of professional service,” he said. “And they should know that it involves not just caring for patients but caring about them as people.”


The Reflective Practitioner

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2017

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From the President

James Danko

from Spring 2017

When North Western Christian University—later to be renamed Butler University—opened its doors in 1855 with only two professors, natural science was a foundational part of the curriculum. As courses of study evolved in later years, the science track was in high demand among students. And in the mid-1940s, as Eli Lilly and Company was achieving success with the production and distribution of penicillin, Butler took over the Indianapolis College of Pharmacy, becoming one of only two colleges in Indiana to confer pharmacy degrees.

Now, as then, Butler University is dedicated to providing world-class academic programs in pharmacy and in life, physical, and health sciences. Demand among students and employers for these programs, as well as for Butler’s engineering and technology programs, is high, and many—including the Science, Technology, and Environmental Studies program featured in this magazine— prepare students for medical school and other graduate programs. Butler is dedicated to all these programs not only because they are central to its academic mission, but because the University has an important role in supporting economic development in the Hoosier state.

Over the past decade, Butler’s undergraduate enrollment in the sciences within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has increased by over 56 percent. As applications to the University reached an all-time high last year, 10 percent of those applications were for Biology. Applications to the Computer Science and Software Engineering major have jumped 67 percent over the past two years alone. Because science and technology are integral to economic and social progress locally and worldwide, they are central to Butler’s educational mission. As Butler prepares a diverse, socially responsible generation of students to excel in these fields, I hope you will join me in celebrating the success stories highlighted in this edition of Butler Magazine.


From the President

Butler University is dedicated to providing world-class academic programs in pharmacy and in life, physical, and health sciences.

by James Danko

from Spring 2017

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A Flexible Foundation

Stuart Glennan

from Spring 2017

One Friday afternoon a month, you’ll find Butler faculty members from across the disciplines at the Bent Rail Brewery, discussing—often loudly, sometimes with a beer in hand—topics as varied as the “new conservation” movement and the biological and social causes of mental illness. We call this STS School, short for Science, Technology, and Society. It’s a place where scientists and non-scientists learn from each other about new developments at the intersections of our disciplines, and talk about how to bring these ideas into our classrooms. 

Our students learn about the state of the art, but our focus is on knowing how—how to observe; how to experiment; how to find and absorb new research; how to collaborate both within and beyond their disciplines to create and apply new knowledge. 

This know-how is important for our graduates who pursue professions in scientific research, but it is equally important for those in the many professions that rely upon and support scientific exploration and technological innovation. The flexible foundation our students get can take them in many directions. 

Science education at Butler starts in our core curriculum, where every student must take a course that includes a lab. This might mean anything from a neuroscience of music class, which gets non-science majors involved in research on how music affects dementia patients, to a course that uses the case of “HeLa” cells used in cancer research to explore genetics and molecular biology while examining questions about the commercialization of science and the ethics of research. 

Over 40 percent of Butler students study traditional STEM disciplines like physics, biology, mathematics and engineering that are located in our College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as do all students in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS) and our interdisciplinary and cross-college majors in Science, Technology and Society, Environmental Studies, and Healthcare and Business. We also have students with a primary major in a non-STEM discipline who pursue pre-med or other pre-health courses in the sciences, and we have education majors who either pick up secondary STEM majors or do required course work to support their licenses. 

These programs have been led by scientists and non-scientists, and have drawn faculty from the sciences, social sciences, humanities and from Butler's professional schools. We talk together and teach together.

As a philosopher of science, I was welcomed by Butler’s scientists when I came here 25 years ago, and in my time I have collaborated with them in the founding of three popular interdisciplinary programs—the science, technology, and society major, the neuroscience minor, and most recently, our environmental studies major. These programs have been led by scientists and non-scientists, and have drawn faculty from the sciences, social sciences, humanities and from Butler’s professional schools. We talk together and teach together. 

The world is a big place, and none of us can know but the smallest bit of it. But we—faculty and students—can cultivate the skills and attitudes that will help us learn new things and do new things that will make a difference for ourselves and the world around us. And, if we have to argue with our colleagues over beer to do it properly, well, that’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make. 

The keystone of our science education is getting students to apply science through undergraduate research.

  • The Chemistry and Mathematics programs have developed “research boot camps”—intensive week-long summer experiences where students learn the tools of the trade. 
  • Most students in Psychology choose to join a faculty-led research group. Over their career, it is not uncommon for Psychology students to present their research not only at Butler’s and other undergraduate research conferences, but also at national meetings where most presenters are graduate students, post-docs, and faculty. 
  • Astronomy students take advantage of a consortium that allows access to telescopes around the world to explore the stars. Students present their discoveries at national professional meetings and publish their work in scientific journals. 
  • While most student research is done at Butler, some of it is done afar—like the tropical field biology course in Belize or internships at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. (Visit for a related story.) 

Another feature of butler’s STEM education is the push to take science education beyond the walls of science buildings—to have students learn from, and give back to, the communities to which we all belong. 

  • Computer Science and Software Engineering majors take a required Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) course, where the class collaborates on a software project in support of the mission of a non-profit organization. 
  • Students in Biology, STS, and Environmental Studies often enroll in the Environmental Practicum, where they take on a sustainability project in support of the Indianapolis community. 
  • Students from a number of STEM fields get true hands-on experience working on Butler’s farm—managing crops that are served on campus and in local restaurants while engaging in NSF funded research. 
  • The Chemistry department has begun a series of successful short-term study abroad trips in which students have traveled to Europe, integrating scientific and cultural learning as they explore the chemistry of sustainable energy production, food, and art. 
  • Students from a range of fields intern at local hospitals and research facilities, tech firms, museums, governmental agencies, and non-profits. There are the clinical rotations that are central to the training of health care professionals in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

A Flexible Foundation

These programs have been led by scientists and non-scientists, and have drawn faculty from the sciences, social sciences, humanities and from Butler's professional schools.

by Stuart Glennan

from Spring 2017

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Technology is Shaping the Way PA Students are Learning

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

A virtual cadaver table, ultrasound systems, and fresh-tissue labs are just some of the new ways that Butler Physician Assistant (PA) students are learning their craft and gaining experience in the workings of the human body.

 “All three of these are really innovations in our curriculum and will help shape our understanding of the human body,” said College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Professor Jennifer Snyder, who runs the PA program.

The cadaver table, called an Anatomage, came to Butler thanks to a grant written by the University’s Information Technology department and co-funded by Dean Robert Soltis and the College. The Anatomage—think of a 7-foot-long iPad—allows users to explore 3D images of the human body, inside and out.

You can wipe away layers of skin. Remove muscle or take bone. Stand up the table or lay it flat.

“The students can see in a different dimension what they can’t get with models or a skeleton hanging on a post,” Snyder said. “It’s bringing technology to the classroom and professors can create lectures around the table to enhance learning.”

Previously, professors used plastic models to illustrate their points. “Never in the past have we been able to isolate individual systems within the body,” she said. “We could show every bone, but we couldn’t show bone, muscle, and vascular systems and how they interact together. Now we can peel away skin, peel away bone. They could never get this view from a model. It really makes it alive in a way we haven’t been able to do before.”

Snyder said the Anatomage is going to help students’ understanding of spatial relationships between parts of the body. And the technology suits today’s learners. The tables will be used in the College’s undergraduate and graduate anatomy courses.

“This really meets the students where they are,” she said. “They like technology, and if that’s what they like, they’re going to learn what they need to learn more quickly and easily.”

A standard way for medical students to learn anatomy is to look inside the body by working on cadavers. But working on embalmed, preserved bodies is different from working on fresh tissue. PA students at Butler University now go to the Medical Academic Center at the Indiana Spine Group north of Indianapolis to practice procedures on fresh tissue or cadavers that have not been embalmed.

Procedures such as suturing, lumbar punctures, intubation, and joint injections are performed.

Snyder said students may have an entire body to work on, but they also may have body parts—a back or shoulder, for instance.

“Before the students go out on rotations, before they practice on live people, they’re going to practice on a dead person,” she said. “They so appreciate getting to practice what they’ve learned without it being a live person first. We’re now taking it to where we’re applying what we’ve taught them in laboratory courses and they’re doing these procedures before they’re out suturing on you or me.”

She said this opportunity is uncommon in PA education. “You don’t see this application experience very often until you’re actually doing it for the first time. Experience counts.”

And because experience counts, Snyder said the College also has purchased four ultrasound systems that will be integrated across the PA curriculum in classes such as Anatomy and Physiology, History and Physical Examination, and Imaging.

“This is really cutting edge as far as PA education,” Snyder said. “A lot of people really learn this on the job. It hasn’t been embraced fully in PA programs across the United States. Our graduates will have a familiarity and a comfort level that students in other programs just won’t have.”


Technology is Shaping the Way PA Students are Learning

Innovative additions to the program give students new ways to view the human body.

AcademicsStudent Life

BU Well to Publish Its Third Volume


PUBLISHED ON Apr 09 2018

BU Well, Butler University’s open-access, multimedia, student-run healthcare journal, will publish its third volume on April 20. The volume will feature eight articles on a variety of health-related topics ranging from low-carbohydrate diets to electroconvulsive therapy for mental illnesses to retail therapy and its emotional impact.

BU Well uses three formats to deliver information: print, an informational YouTube video, and an infographic highlighting key aspects of an article or other health topic. The open-access journal will be available on Butler University’s Digital Commons website,

“BU Well is a unique experience that unites students from diverse backgrounds to create a journal that promotes health and wellness to an audience of all ages," said Skyler Walker, a second-year pharmacy student and Editor-in-Chief of BU Well. "Students gain valuable skills through the research, writing, infographic, and video process while learning their leadership style and how to effectively communicate interprofessionally. It's a one-of-a-kind experience that I have been privileged to be a part of these past two years, and I'm very excited to publish Volume 3."

Nearly 25 students from four of the six colleges at Butler University participated in the publication of the journal. Two Assistant Professors of Pharmacy Practice, Dr. Annette McFarland and Dr. Sheel M. Patel, serve as faculty advisors.

The fourth volume will accept submissions beginning in the fall semester. BU Well invites students, faculty, healthcare professionals and others to submit original healthcare-related articles for publishing consideration.

More information is available at BU Well’s Facebook page, and on Twitter and Instagram @BUWellJournal.



Media contact:
Marc Allan


AcademicsStudent Life

BU Well to Publish Its Third Volume

Student-Driven Multimedia Journal on Health, Wellness, and Life Sciences comes out April 20.

Apr 09 2018 Read more

His Approach to Teaching: Learning Starts with Confusion

BY Krisy Force

PUBLISHED ON Apr 09 2018

When Professor of Chemistry Shannon Lieb was in high school, he remembers telling his geometry teacher after class that he didn’t fully understand that day’s lecture. His teacher’s response was, “Learning starts with confusion.”

That statement left an impact on Lieb, so much so that he used it as a foundation for his own teaching for the last 39 years at Butler.

“I’ve always kept that idea in mind, and I’ve added to it as well," said Lieb, who officially retired in December. "Now I tell my students: Learning starts with confusion; those who don’t make mistakes have never tried, and those who keep making mistakes haven’t learned.”

Lieb’s classes, like General Chemistry and Physical Chemistry, are filled with college-level mathematics and science concepts. It is easy to believe students would make mistakes and learn from their confusion. He said it's easy to get confused. For some students, simply turning a table sideways presents a whole new problem if they’ve only been focusing on memorization.

“My primary push is to get students to think about how to approach a problem, not simply fill in the boxes,” he said.

Lieb’s dedication to student learning and understanding has been demonstrated in more ways than just in his classes. He has mentored two Master’s thesis students and 30-plus undergraduate research projects, starting with the origin of the Butler Summer Institute program in the early 1990, and he was the first faculty member in the sciences to incorporate Writing Across the Curriculum in the Physical Chemistry laboratory.

“I found that students who don’t know how to write, their way of expressing mathematics isn’t all that great," he said. "I remember one of my first-year students said to me, ‘Well, sciences aren’t creative.’ She was thinking of writing music, writing plays, etc. But science is the same way. There’s obviously some place at which the path splits, but fundamentally it’s a creative process, whether it’s sciences, mathematics, English literature, or performance.”

Although he's officially retired, Lieb is still hard at work teaching two physics labs and working with a student doing research during the spring 2018 semester.

Lieb said he considers his greatest achievement to be the impact he's had on the education of many students during his years at Butler.

“I am most proud of the successes of students that I have had in class,” he said. “I’ve had the privilege of witnessing students succeed who had all odds stacked against them, and I’ve seen some truly remarkable stories.”

He shared a note from Annie Search ’95, one of his former students, who wrote: “Thanks so much for your never-ending patience, kindness, and sense of humor. I could not have gotten through college without you.” 

Lieb isn’t sure what he’ll do when the semester ends in April when he’s fully retired. Perhaps he’ll work on an old Volkswagen that he drove for a number of years. He's already rebuilt the engine twice. He’ll definitely watch movies with his wife, Sue, work on his carpentry, and continue to volunteer with animal rescue.

Being the continuous learner he is, he’ll find something to keep himself occupied. For now, Lieb is following Snoopy’s advice, which is also the signature line on his emails: “Learn from yesterday. Live for today. Look to tomorrow. Rest this afternoon.”





His Approach to Teaching: Learning Starts with Confusion

Chemistry Professor Shannon Lieb officially retires.

Apr 09 2018 Read more

It’s Spring—Batter Up! Madi Christiansen ’18 Softball Player

Hannah Hartzell ’18

If Madi Christiansen ’20 is on the softball field, chances are: Her Mom and Dad are in the stands. The student athlete from Etters, Pennsylvania said her parents have watched nearly every softball game she’s played for the Bulldogs.

“My dad is a huge Butler fan,” she said. “Initially, he and my mom worried about me being so far from home. But now they see how much I really do love it here.”

As a first-year student and athlete at Butler, Christiansen became very tight-knit with her new softball teammates as they made their way to the BIG EAST semifinals. “I’ve made so many friends through softball and through my classes,” she said. “That’s something I wanted when I came here.”

As an Entrepreneurship major with a 3.9 GPA, one of Christiansen’s favorite classes was the first-year real business experience last year, where she worked with a group to develop an imaginary product and business plan.  “It was great because we were actually doing something that will help us out in the future,” she said. “Plus, it helped me meet people.”

“I definitely like the small class sizes as well,” she said. “All my professors know my name and they’re very accommodating with the softball schedule.”

During the spring season, the softball team is gone every Thursday and Friday. But that doesn’t mean Christiansen is idle on the other days. “We have 6:00 AM practice four times a week,” she said. “The set schedule is helpful, but I have to make sure I go to bed early.”

Still, she said the whole Butler experience is worth it.

Whether it’s a trip to Smoothie King; a winning game; or a weekend movie night, Christiansen said she enjoys spending time with her Butler family.

“Last year, I was excited to go home for fall break,” she said. “But after four days, I realized that I really wanted to come back to Butler. This feels like home now.”

AcademicsStudent Life

David Brooks to Deliver Spring Commencement Address


PUBLISHED ON Apr 06 2018

David Brooks, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and a commentator on The PBS Newshour, NPR’s All Things Considered, and NBC’s Meet the Press, will deliver Butler University's 162nd Commencement address on Saturday, May 12, at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Brooks will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters. In addition, Butler will honor the legacy of the late Julia and Andre Lacy by presenting posthumous honorary doctor of humane letters degrees in their memory. Nearly 900 students are expected to receive their diplomas. Commencement will start at 10:00 AM.

“Butler has made a concerted effort to celebrate civil discourse this year, both inside and outside the classroom,” President James Danko said. “Our campus has welcomed thought leaders who demonstrate humility and respect for diverse opinions—including Senator Richard Lugar, Congressman Lee Hamilton, Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin—and now author, columnist, and commentator David Brooks. They each bring to life the greater good that can be achieved through intellectual and civic engagement.”

Brooks has been a columnist at The New York Times since 2003, weighing in on the most pressing issues of our time. He has also written four books, the most recent of which was a New York Times bestseller.

In his most recent book, The Road to Character, Brooks writes that we live in a culture that encourages us to think about how to be wealthy and successful, but many of us are left inarticulate about how to cultivate the deepest inner life. He suggests we should confront our own weaknesses and grow in response.

Brooks earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Chicago and, from there, became a police reporter for the City News Bureau, a news service owned by the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times. He then worked at The Washington Times and The Wall Street Journal for nine years, serving as op-ed editor at The Journal.

Brooks has covered Russia, the Middle East, South Africa and European affairs. While at The Journal, he also served as movie critic and editor of the book review section.

Recognized as champions of business and education throughout Central Indiana, the Lacy Family offered their time, talent, and philanthropy to causes that improved communities and the well-being of others. Their most notable act of generosity came in 2016, when they made the largest gift ever given by an individual or family to Butler, $25 million, renaming the School of Business the Andre B. Lacy School of Business.

Butler's selection of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients is a result of a nomination process, the feedback received from Butler community members, and the formal approval of the Board of Trustees.

More about Spring 2018 Commencement activities is available at


Media contact:
Rachel Stern




AcademicsStudent Life

David Brooks to Deliver Spring Commencement Address

The op-ed columnist for The New York Times will deliver Butler University's 162nd Commencement address on Saturday, May 12, at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Apr 06 2018 Read more

After 37 Years of Service, Owen Schaub Retires

Marc D. Allan

from Fall 2017

“Having been at Butler has been a very warm, rewarding and humane experience,” he says.

Owen Schaub accumulated a raft of memories during his 37 years as a Butler professor, but this one, from around 1990, stands out: After speaking at a luncheon for new students and their parents, a father plunked himself down next to Schaub and said, “You said you like being at Butler. What do you like about it?”

“I said,” Schaub recalled, “and I still think this is true, that at Butler, you’re allowed to try new things, to explore things for yourself, and people won’t make judgments about you because you’re going to do something that seems different from your discipline or your orientation. And that’s welcome.”

Owen Schaub has taught at Butler for half his life. Schaub, 75, said that’s one of the many things he’ll miss about Butler when he retires at the end of this academic year.

He will also miss the students (“We’ve always attracted very nice young people who come from good family backgrounds and are sensible 18- to 22-year-olds”), his colleagues (“Everyone is very talented and qualified in the areas they work in, so we have a coherent and, I think, successful approach to theatre”), and the classes he’s taught in both theatre and the core curriculum.

He’s seen a lot of changes in personnel—five presidents, five deans in the College of Fine Arts, and five department chairs in the Theatre Department—and to the campus, and he’s especially thankful for the addition of the Schrott Center for the Arts. “We have needed a middle-sized, well-equipped theatre for a very long time. It is a joy that that’s here.”

In the Theatre Department, the soft-spoken Schaub is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of theatre history.

“One of us on faculty or a visiting guest artist will hear about some intricate detail from theatre history and share it with the group,” Theatre Chair Diane Timmerman said. “Invariably, Owen will launch into a richly nuanced description of the topic because he knows all about this time in theatre history. Whenever a guest lecturer says, ‘You probably will not have heard of this…,’ I always respond, ‘Well, one of us has.’ And I am always right about that.”

*Schaub grew up in Massapequa, New York, son of a construction-equipment operator and licensed practical nurse, in a house where he could hear the Atlantic Ocean and was in proximity to New York City. He “stumbled” into theatre almost literally, when he saw a high school friend moving a lighting rig through the halls. Schaub helped him carry the lights and soon was involved in a production.

He went to Hofstra College (now Hofstra University) for his bachelor’s degree in theatre, graduating in 1963, and spent 2½ years in active duty in the Army, mostly in Germany. There, he met Heidi, the woman who would become his first wife. They had their first daughter there, then moved to Bloomington, Indiana, where Schaub earned his M.A. in Theatre.

He started his teaching career at the University of Hawaii (and Heidi gave birth to their second daughter in Honolulu), then moved on to Dalhousie University, Kent State—where he earned his doctorate in theatre—and Newberry College in South Carolina.

Wherefore Art Thou Juliet Blue?

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

Chemists in Verona, Italy, found out recently what’s been happening in a Butler University Chemistry lab, and they’re very grateful. 

Butler University Junior Ben Dawson, working with Chemistry Professor Anne Wilson during the summer of 2017, has replicated a pigment that matched a color called Juliet blue that the Italian chemists had discovered on historical artifacts. 

“I think they’ll be excited that somebody’s actually making these,” Wilson said. “People have been talking about these pigments but not making them.” 

The Italian scientists’ discovery of Juliet blue goes back to 2010. They laid out the problem in a paper they published: Their museum had placed several ancient flints, used for making arrowheads, in storage. They had put the flints in a drawer, on rubber mats to keep them from breaking. When they opened the drawer, they found that a chemical reaction had occurred. The flints, which were gray, had turned blue—a color the chemists would later call Juliet blue. 

The chemists thought the color on the flints was derived from a volatile organic component that was coming from the rubber mats, and that the culprit was a stabilizer that’s added to keep the rubber from falling apart over time. 

Dr. Greg Smith, the Otto N. Frenzel III Senior Conservation Scientist at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, read the Italians’ paper and gave a copy to Wilson, asking if she thought someone at Butler might want to try to figure out a synthesis for Juliet blue. She thought that would be a great summer project for a student, so she had Dawson try to make the pigment. She paid him with an annual grant the Chemistry Department receives from Eli Lilly and Company to do synthetic chemistry work. 

“Initially, we were not having a lot of success” trying to re-create the chemical reaction that caused the discoloration, Wilson said. “Then Ben left out some things over the weekend, and some of his indicator plates had turned blue.” Anne Wilson

To be specific: Juliet blue. 

“It was a very happy accident,” Wilson said. 

Dawson confirmed that the way this blue pigment occurred on the surface of the flints was probably due to a combination of air oxidation, coupled with contamination from the compound in the rubber mats. And he was able to make additional quantities of the pigment. 

“It’s a beautiful blue,” Wilson said. “It looks very Disney. It’s beautiful. It’s a great blue. It’s a lot of fun to be doing this and to see these great colors.” 

Although reproducing Juliet blue is essentially an academic exercise, Wilson said, it could have practical applications. Butler Chemistry professors and students have done several projects with the Indianapolis Museum of Art on artworks that have faded over the centuries. Perhaps, Wilson said, this summer’s finding could be a step in figuring out how to treat, and possibly restore, artifacts that have been damaged. 

“It’s exciting when you get scientists from different areas together and they start talking and trading ideas,” she said. “I think we’re very fortunate to be this close to the lab at the IMA. I think we’re very fortunate to be able to try things.” 


Wherefore Art Thou Juliet Blue?

A “happy accident” leads to a scientific discovery.

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

Read more

From Tel Aviv to Indianapolis

Jackson Borman ’20

from Spring 2018

Butler University tennis player Aviv Ben Shabat ’19 transferred from the University of North Carolina Wilmington to Butler after one semester. 

That was a comparatively minor transition in his life. 

Ben Shabat grew up in Israel, playing tennis all through his childhood, with plans to play at a higher level. When he was 18, he was required, under the Israeli Defense Service Law, to serve in the military. 

“I got special service because when I started mandatory service I was ranked No. 1 in Israel for the under-18 age group,” Ben Shabat said. “They say that you don’t have to go to the combat field because they don’t want to ruin you and the 15 years that you have already invested in tennis. They want you to still represent Israel.” 

Ben Shabat worked in a kitchen cooking and serving meals to soldiers for six hours a day in Tel Aviv. The base was close to where he trained, so after work he could stay focused on tennis. 

“It wasn’t the best time of my life, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and every other Israeli has to do it too, no exceptions, so that’s the reality,” he said. 

When Ben Shabat finished his military service, he moved to North Carolina but struggled in Wilmington. He decided to transfer to Butler because of the tennis program and the small classes. 

“I came here and everyone was super nice and very welcoming and everybody wants to help,” he said. “For me especially, small classes are super important because in bigger classes you are just getting lost, and the professor doesn’t even know what your name is.” 

Ben Shabat is studying Management Information Systems and has been excelling, contributing to the men’s tennis team’s 3.376 cumulative GPA, which ranked second among Butler’s men’s sports teams. He decided on MIS because it would be useful in Indianapolis as well as in Tel Aviv. 

“Israel is a big startup nation, so I want to keep the option open to get a job in the tech field if I go back to Israel,” he said. “I had to pick a major that could combine the two worlds of Israel and the United States.” 

He’s also excelling at tennis. Ben Shabat said his best memory came on the court last year when the Butler men’s tennis team took home the BIG EAST Championship after finishing last the previous year. 

“It’s kind of a Cinderella story because we were in the bottom of the conference and no one expected Butler to win the title and then we ended up winning every match,” he said. “It was a great experience because I was the last point in the final, so everyone came to watch my match. It was a great moment, maybe one of the best moments of my life.” 


From Tel Aviv to Indianapolis

Ben Shabat worked in a kitchen cooking and serving meals to soldiers for six hours a day in Tel Aviv.

by Jackson Borman ’20

from Spring 2018

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