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State of the University
Butler BeyondCampus

Danko sees Butler as ‘stronger than ever,’ but ready for change

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Oct 14 2019

The state of Butler University is stronger than ever—from the accomplishments of students and faculty, to important changes in the campus environment, to record enrollments—but the University is ready for the challenges ahead, President James M. Danko told members of the campus community on Friday.

“Overall, the state of our University is extremely strong,” Danko said during the State of the University Address. “Our student outcomes, such as placement rates and future career and life success, are excellent, and our community is making a positive impact in the world—both locally and globally. But the complex challenges ahead for private institutions like Butler—from shifting demographics to a nationwide focus on the cost of higher education—are greater than ever.”

On Friday, October 11, Butler faculty and staff gathered in the Schrott Center for the Arts to celebrate achievements from the past year while discussing ways to grow and overcome challenges moving forward.

Danko went on to explain that Butler is confronting those challenges with innovative goals through Butler Beyond, the University’s largest ever comprehensive fundraising campaign and new strategic direction. The strategy focuses on helping Butler embrace the inclusivity at its foundation while expanding educational opportunities for all kinds of learners, making a quality Butler education more accessible to everyone.

Also at the Friday afternoon event, Board of Trustees Chair Jay Sandhu announced that the contract of Danko has been extended through August 2024.

After highlighting several successes from students, faculty, and staff, Danko announced that this year’s University-wide budget surpluses will allow Butler to reinvest in the campus community, including changes such as the recently approved raise pool of 2 percent, the reduction of some health insurance premium rates, and the decision to waive Health & Recreation Complex membership fees for all full-time employees.

“Our progress is encouraging, but we can, and will, do even better as we make diversity, equity, and inclusion a deliberate and central aspect of our work across all areas of the University,” Danko said. “From the accomplishments of our students and faculty to the significant progress being made on our campus environment; from the strength of the Butler brand and enrollments to our sound fiscal management, I hope you can see the clear evidence—as I do—that the state of Butler University is stronger than ever.”

But that doesn’t mean it’s time to rest, Danko said. The University must remain nimble and open to change, which is why Butler Beyond is not a strict outline of specific projects for the next few years. Instead, it’s a flexible plan with room to breathe, Danko says—“a clear vision that ensures we’re pointed in the right direction when it comes to educational quality, expectations, and outcomes.”

To conclude the event, six Butler staff members were honored with Difference Maker Awards. These annual awards celebrate the talent, dedication, and care for students that staff members bring to Butler every day.

 

2019 Difference Makers:

  • Bonnie Danison, Senior Gift and Records Specialist
  • Priscilla Cobb, Assistant to the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Mary Hinds, Senior Instructional Designer
  • Margie Zentz, Administrative Specialist
  • Courtney Rousseau, Career Advisor
  • Tracey Mills, Teaching Lab Coordinator

 

NEXT STEPS

What: Strategy Discussion

When: Monday, October 14, 1:30–3:30 PM

Where: Business Building, Room 234

Who: Join Provost Kate Morris, President Danko, VP of Strategy and Innovation Melissa Beckwith

If you missed the State of the University, be sure to check out the full video here

 

Media Contact:

Katie Grieze

News Content Manager

kgrieze@butler.edu

260-307-3403 (cell)

State of the University
Butler BeyondCampus

Danko sees Butler as ‘stronger than ever,’ but ready for change

At the 2019 State of the University Address, faculty and staff celebrated achievements and discussed ways to grow.

Oct 14 2019 Read more
Butler Beyond
Butler BeyondCommunityGiving

Butler Announces New Strategic Direction, Historic $250 Million Campaign

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 05 2019

 

INDIANAPOLIS—Butler University today unveiled its new strategic direction and largest ever comprehensive fundraising campaign. Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University seeks to raise $250 million by May 2022 to deliver transformative change to the University, region, and the world.

To date, the campaign has raised more than $171 million from more than 27,000 donors.

“Our strategy for Butler Beyond acknowledges the reality that the higher education landscape is changing, and we must change with it,” President James Danko says. “We intend to hold firmly to the traditions and values that have always defined a Butler education, while evolving to meet the changing needs and expectations of learners, employers, and society in the 21st century. Philanthropic support will be absolutely essential to achieving this vision.”

Combining tradition with innovation, the new strategic direction will build upon Butler’s strengths in delivering an exceptional undergraduate residential education, while expanding to offer opportunities for lifelong learning and new educational pathways that are more affordable and flexible.

These new opportunities include growth in customized corporate education programs, non-degree certificates and credentials, and community-focused talent development programs. Butler’s founding mission that everyone deserves access to a high-quality education regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status will be the guiding light for Butler Beyond as the University aims to reimagine a Butler education that is accessible to all learners.

The Butler Beyond campaign is organized around three pillars aimed to fuel this new strategic direction: student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.

“These Butler Beyond campaign pillars represent areas for philanthropic investment that will fuel our vision for the future,” Vice President for University Advancement Jonathan Purvis says. “These priorities were developed with input from donors, alumni, faculty, staff, and community partners who helped to identify the areas where Butler University is uniquely positioned to ignite positive change. Support for these strategic initiatives will propel our vision of transforming lives through education at Butler and beyond.”

Campaign funds will empower students by expanding donor funded scholarship support and other resources needed to ensure student success, elevate learning by further investing in high-impact practices and faculty development, and engage communities through innovative partnerships and collaborative programs.

 

Student Access and Success

As Butler works to solve the problem of higher education affordability, growing the University’s financial aid program through donor funded scholarships will be essential. And, welcoming students of all ages, life stages, and backgrounds will require robust student support services.

In 2018-2019, the University provided more than $78 million in scholarships to students. Of that total, only $3.2 million was funded through scholarship endowment or other philanthropic support. Closing this nearly $75 million gap in annual scholarship costs is essential to removing financial barriers for all students.

To address the challenge of affordability, growing the scholarship endowment and the annual Butler Fund for Student Scholarship will be key funding priorities during the campaign.

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

Recruiting, developing, and retaining the nation’s top educators and scholars is another chief goal of the campaign. State-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research, as well as funding to support ongoing training and development, are crucial for recruiting and keeping top talent.

Among the key funding priorities in the category of innovations in teaching and learning are the growth of Faculty Opportunity Funds, the Sciences Expansion and Renovation Project, and the new building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business.

“The work our faculty do with students on a daily basis—teaching, mentoring, and student-faculty collaborative research—makes up the very foundation of a Butler education,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kate Morris says. “One of the most effective ways to support Butler students is to invest in the ongoing development of our faculty.”

 

Community Partnerships

Strengthening community partnerships is a particular point of emphasis in the new strategic direction. Increasing Butler’s engagement with businesses, community organizations, educational providers, and government entities will lead to new academic programs, ventures, and experiences for Butler students. These mutually beneficial partnerships will enable faculty, students, and community partners to work together in tackling complex issues facing the region.

These collaborations will also provide experiential learning opportunities for Butler students, while responding to the educational needs of our communities and corporations through the co-creation of new education and talent solutions.

To this end, a key funding priority for community partnerships is the newly established Transformation Fund, which is aimed at fueling the development of new educational models and advancing projects that contribute to the long-term vision of the University. The Transformation Fund will also provide a means to invest in new ventures supporting Butler’s desire to think differently about the future of higher education.

“Great universities have great responsibility for positively impacting the communities in which they reside,” Vice President of Strategy and Innovation Melissa Beckwith says. “Butler is committed to developing talent that meets workforce needs, offering programs and experiences that contribute to the city’s vibrant culture, and encouraging creativity in solving some of our community’s most pressing challenges.”

 

Unprecedented Philanthropic Support

Butler has been the recipient of unprecedented levels of philanthropic support during the campaign’s quiet phase, which started June 1, 2015.

“Investing in Butler’s future at this pivotal moment will result in lives changed in our community and around the world through expanded access to a Butler education and through the meaningful work Butler graduates will go on to do with their lives,” says campaign co-chair Tina Burks.

“We are convinced that every gift to this campaign will have ripple effects beyond our imagination for years to come,” added Campaign Co-Chair Keith Burks MBA ’90. “We are thankful for the many generous donors who have already made a lasting impact through support of Butler Beyond.”

Many noteworthy gifts have been previously announced during the campaign quiet phase, including the following:

 

  • In 2016, Butler received its largest gift ever from an individual or family—the $25 million commitment from Andre B. Lacy and his wife, Julia, resulted in the College of Business becoming the Andre B. Lacy School of Business. The Lacy gift inspired 11 additional families to give $1 million or more toward construction of a new building for the School, which opened in August.

 

  • With lead gifts of $13 million from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, $5 million from alumnus Frank Levinson ’75, $2 million from emeritus trustee chair Craig Fenneman ’71, and $9.5 million collectively from other alumni and friends, the Butler Board of Trustees approved a $100 million investment in the renovation and expansion of the University’s sciences facilities. To date, more than $29.5 million has been raised toward a total philanthropic goal of $42 million for the project.

 

  • Restoration of Hinkle Fieldhouse was another key infrastructure project of the past decade at Butler, costing a total of $46.5 million over two phases. With help from the Efroymson family’s leadership contributions totaling $2 million, more than $32 million in philanthropic support has been raised to date for the effort, which has enhanced the student-athlete and fan experience.

 

  • The Hershel B. ’52 and Ethel L. Whitney Chair in Biochemistry was established through a $2 million gift from the estate of Hershel B. ’52 and Ethel L. Whitney, making it the first new endowed chair established during the Butler Beyond era. Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. R. Jeremy Johnson was selected as the first to hold the endowed position, which provides support for critical research he is conducting alongside undergraduate students into halting the spread of tuberculosis.

 

  • In 2017, Butler announced a $5 million commitment from Old National Bank to create the Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business, which provides privately owned businesses throughout Indiana with training, education, mentoring, and networking opportunities to help them succeed. The Center, located in Butler’s Andre B. Lacy School of Business, places special emphasis on serving the unique needs of this core segment of the Indiana economy, which employs more than 2.5 million people.

 

Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign with a goal of $250 million. The campaign will conclude May 31, 2022.

 

Media Contact:

Rachel Stern

Director of Strategic Communications

914-815-5656

rstern@butler.edu

Butler Beyond
Butler BeyondCommunityGiving

Butler Announces New Strategic Direction, Historic $250 Million Campaign

Butler Beyond seeks to raise $250 million by May 2022 to deliver transformative change.

Oct 05 2019 Read more
Sciences Groundbreaking
Butler BeyondCampusCommunity

Butler Holds Official Groundbreaking for Historic $100 Million Sciences Renovation and Expansion

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Oct 05 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—Butler University is set to hold the official groundbreaking for a new, state-of-the-art science complex.

The $100 million renovation and expansion is the largest capital project in the University’s history. Consistent with the University’s new strategic direction, which is set to be unveiled at a historic celebration at Clowes Memorial Hall Oct. 5, the new complex will promote learning by doing through new high-tech classrooms, will feature labs that mimic top research companies, and will encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration through work spaces. The facility will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of science, and eliminate labs designed for a single purpose. Classroom spaces will allow faculty to step away from a podium, and move among students in a more hands-on approach to instruction.

Phases I and II of the project are underway, with a predicted 18-month timeline. To date, $29.5 million has been raised for the project. The goal is to raise $42 million of the $100 million total cost through philanthropic support.

Butler Chair of the Board of Trustees Jay Sandhu will preside over an official groundbreaking ceremony on the Gallahue Hall Academic Quad. Here are the details:

Who: President James Danko; Chair of the Board of Trustees Jay Sandhu; Provost Kate Morris; President & CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation Claire Fiddian-Green; College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean Jay Howard; Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Sean Berthrong; Sophomore Biochemistry Major Madison Unger

What: Official groundbreaking for the $100 million sciences renovation and expansion project

When: Thursday, October 3 at 4:45 PM

Where: Butler University campus on the Gallahue Hall Academic Quad (please call Rachel Stern at 914-815-5656 if you have any trouble finding the location)

Why: Though work has already started on this project, Butler is holding an official groundbreaking to celebrate this historic renovation and expansion

The project starts with the creation of a connector building—linking Gallahue Hall and the Holcomb Building—that will house classrooms, study areas, and research labs dedicated to Chemistry, Astronomy, Physics, Engineering, and Psychology. Phase I will add nearly 44,000 square feet, as well as a nearly 13,200 square-foot atrium. This additional space will create a science corridor to house all of Butler’s undergraduate science programs in a central complex.

Phase II of the project will include renovating and repurposing the Holcomb Building. Phase III will involve a complete renovation of Gallahue Hall, which currently houses several science departments and has not been renovated since its construction in 1973.

Sean Berthrong, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, says the new sciences complex will change the way he teaches. He will be able to do more innovative projects with his students in the classroom because there will no longer be physical barriers separating classrooms and lab spaces. That will enable him to literally bring his research into his classes.

“We will quite literally and metaphorically break down the walls between disciplines, between classwork and research, and between discovery and teaching,” Berthrong says. “It will be amazing to have a building that is as ambitious and as interdisciplinary as our students and faculty.”

Madison Unger, a sophomore Biochemistry major, says everyone at the University will benefit from this project, not just science majors like herself.

“This building will be a place where everyone will come to study, collaborate, hang out, and work together,” says Unger, who plans to go to medical school after graduation. “There is so much excitement around this project because everyone knows it will give students the best chance to flourish.”

 

Media Contact:

Rachel Stern

Director of Strategic Communications

rstern@butler.edu

914-815-5656 (cell)

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Students walking on campus

Butler Beyond2020

from Fall 2019

Last spring, Butler University President James Danko shared a personal story with a group of alumni and friends about a visit to Rochester, New York, he had made on a bitterly cold day in January 1993. He had just begun his very first higher education job, which entailed arranging 60 action learning projects per year for MBA students at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

Two of the most successful companies in the world—Eastman Kodak and Xerox—were headquartered in Rochester (in 1993, Kodak was No. 19 on the Fortune 500 list, and Xerox No. 21). By the end of his visit, Danko had secured learning opportunities for students at both. While it was an exciting trip for that accomplishment, a much deeper impression was made on Danko by the preventable downfall of each company in the ensuing years.

Each company clung too tightly to tradition and ignored revolutionary inventions by their own people. Kodak failed to embrace the invention of the digital camera by one of its young engineers in 1975—insisting that print photos were the future. Thirty-seven years later, Kodak filed for bankruptcy.

Xerox, meanwhile, failed to embrace the potential of the personal computers developed by its own researchers in 1970. Nine years later, Steve Jobs struck a deal with Xerox to bring those innovators aboard his fledgling company—Apple. Today, Xerox is No. 318 on the Fortune 500 list, while Apple is No. 3.

These served as powerful cautionary tales for Danko as he advanced in his own academic leadership career. He believes that saying yes to smart new ideas and embracing innovation—even though it may present some risk—is fundamental to organizational success. Complacency is dangerous. And consistently defaulting to “what’s always worked before” is a recipe for disaster.

Continuing to study organizational leadership over the years, Danko has been equally inspired by stories of success. For instance, when National Geographic, long known for its iconic yellow-bound magazines featuring stunning color photographs, noticed a decline in subscriptions in the 1990s as cable television and the internet grew in popularity, the organization quickly reimagined itself for a new era. In 2001, it launched the National Geographic channel and found new online platforms for sharing the time-honored art of nature photography with a new generation.

Butler aims to forge a similar path—respecting the time-honored traditions and the particular strengths that have always defined a Butler education, while imagining new ways to deliver that education in a rapidly-changing landscape.

To help spur new ideas, Butler sought the guidance of experts, including Blair Sheppard, Dean Emeritus of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and current Global Strategy Lead with PwC, and Matthew Pellish, Managing Director of Strategic Research and Education for the Education Advisory Board.

Both were blunt about how college has grown too expensive, takes too long to finish, and hasn’t kept pace with cutting-edge workplace needs. These hard realities have forced several schools nationwide to close their doors.

“There will be winners and losers,” Pellish says. “No one is going to win by saying, ‘We’ve always done it this way so let’s continue.’”

Universities that survive will be inventive, flexible, responsive, and thoughtful, Pellish asserts, adding that Butler is all of those things. “Butler was founded on innovation,” he says. “Unleash these smart, dedicated, innovative people on these challenges, and they will find solutions.”

Butler is doing just that. The Butler Beyond strategic vision is comprised of multiple paths that, together, respect tradition yet embrace innovation. Butler aims to preserve and build upon the quality and strength of its long-time success in traditional, residential undergraduate programs, while innovating for the new realities of the world. At the core of each path is the question: What must Butler do to prepare the next generation of learners for what lies beyond today? The graphic below illustrates the paths of our strategic vision.

Pursuing these paths will not be easy, but Butler is up for the challenge. The University is engaging the brightest in the field, learning from others in the midst of transformation, and seeking those “radically different” ideas from its own creative faculty, staff, students, alumni, and partners—who will together move Butler beyond its current model.

We have no plans to abandon Butler’s character or the things we do best,” Danko says. “But future expectations of academic institutions will be very different. We have to incorporate new approaches to education that add value—not only for our students, but for our society.”

Students walking on campus
Butler Beyond

Butler Beyond2020

Butler will forge a new path—respecting traditions while innovating a new path.  

from Fall 2019

Read more
Jim Danko, Brad Stevens, and Adam Grant

Three successful leaders who are well known to the Butler community recently gathered with Butler’s Vice President for Strategy and Innovation, Melissa Beckwith ’00, to discuss innovation, leadership, and staying nimble in a constantly changing world. They explored what it means to be innovative, how to foster a culture that fuels creativity, and why Butler is uniquely positioned to navigate the higher education challenges ahead. The questions and answers have been edited for clarity and length.

James Danko, Butler University President, 2011–Present

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics Head Coach, 2013–Present (Butler Men’s Basketball Head Coach, 2007–2013)

Adam Grant, Organizational Psychologist, Wharton Professor, New York Times Bestselling Author, “WorkLife” Podcaster, and fan of The Butler Way (Butler Guest Speaker in 2017)

 

Q: We live in a time when many industries, including higher education, and organizations are experiencing significant change. We often hear there is a need to innovate or transform in order to survive. What do the words innovation and transformation mean to you?

Brad Stevens: Innovation and transformation mean that you are always a bit uncomfortable, in a good way. You recognize that if things aren’t going well there are changes that need to be made to get moving in the right direction, and if things are going well, the dip is right around the corner. You have to stay not only at pace with your competitors, but stay ahead in a lot of ways and be malleable, adjust on the fly, and have a foundation that you can lean on.

Adam Grant: Innovation is implementing ideas that are new and improved from the status quo. Transformation is making innovation routine, making it the norm, making it widespread, and preventing it from just happening in one pocket of your organization.

James Danko: Innovation is a way to move beyond the complacency inherent in many organizations. In higher education—where tradition is so highly valued and respected—there’s an inclination to depend upon the way things have always been done. Innovation allows people to consider possibilities, beyond past and current practices, and adapt to a shifting landscape while positioning their school for future success. Transformation is the outcome of innovation.

Q: Innovation is easy to talk about but can be difficult to achieve. How do you innovate?

Brad: I am more of a thief than an innovator. I try to keep up with best practices in the game around me. I work and study not only what is going on in the NBA and college game, but also internationally, and then try to fit those best practices to the strengths of the individuals on our team. There may be bits and pieces that I take from across the globe. To me that is not necessarily innovation as much as just studying and piecing a puzzle together, but I think that is the way I would view what I try to do. I don’t see it as rewriting a chapter or changing the narrative of things; itis applying small tweaks to what I’ve seen as best practices and putting it to best use for my team.

Adam: Brad is the most honest thief out there.

Jim: When we think of innovation, we often think there is a “eureka” moment that occurs and a new idea results. But innovation is often underpinned by hard work—research, assessment, perhaps benchmarking against different types of entities. While some people may get concerned that they are not creative or innovative enough, from my experience, I don’t see creativity as necessarily inherent. I believe you can nurture and encourage innovation through focused effort and perseverance.

Adam: My favorite way of capturing what it means to be creative is how Karl Weick describes it. Karl always said creativity is putting old things in new combinations, and new things in old combinations. In a way, that is what Brad just described. You go and borrow ideas from lots of different worlds, but it is all about the tailoring of those ideas. I think those re-combinations are fundamentally innovative acts. It is very much like being a chef. It takes ingenuity to use all the same ingredients that other people have access to, but maybe you apply them in a different way to create a different dish, and that sequencing, or repackaging, to me is what the innovation process might look like.

Q: An innovation process is important but having the right culture is crucial. What type of environment nurtures innovation?

Jim: The leadership team at Butler is very deliberate about fostering an environment that encourages innovation. From the Board of Trustees down, there is an atmosphere of open-mindedness and creativity about the way Butler moves ahead. We recognize that changes to higher education are occurring rapidly and will continue to do so—from student demographics, to learning styles, to wellness needs. Across all areas of campus, we have to embrace innovation if we’re going to make Butler stronger for future generations.

Brad: You are only going to be innovative if you are encouraged to be innovative. If you are working in a place that is stuck doing things the way things have always been done, it’s going to be hard to feel comfortable thinking outside of the box. It is important to be able to appropriately challenge the status quo on occasion, and say “How can we make this a lot better?”

Adam: I like to look at the exceptions. If you are not in an environment or culture that makes that easy, what can you do? There is a paper that I really love in my field on creative deviance, or looking at how sometimes people directly violate norms in order to get their ideas advanced. For example, the Pontiac Fiero was designed after a designer violated three separate orders from management to stop working on a prototype. Even The Godfather involved a filmmaker who basically violated every directive from Paramount Pictures about what the plot was supposed to be, who should be cast in it, what the budget should be, and where it should be filmed. So I think there is something to be learned from those examples. If you don’t create the psychological safety for people to take risks on new ideas, and if you don’t give them the freedom and resources to actually test them out and learn from them, you’re usually not going to get very far.

Q: Innovation requires change. Each of you have played a role in leading teams through change. What are the keys to successfully doing so?

Adam: A lot of the keys to success are about avoiding the systematic mistakes that a lot of us have made. The first mistake that I see too many leaders make is that they fail to create a sense of urgency for change. That happens because when you are leading a transformation or when you have an innovative idea, it is abundantly clear to you why that makes sense, and it is hard for you to imagine somebody not getting it. You tend to forget that most people are excited about the status quo, or at least they are attached to the status quo, because it is familiar and comfortable. To be effective, you can’t just convey all the good things that will happen with change; you have to make clear all the bad things that will happen without change. Then the status quo becomes a bit destabilized and people are more open to trying something new and different. The other big mistake that drives me crazy is when people run in with solutions before they have really carefully diagnosed the problem.

Brad: You are never as good as you think you are, you are never as bad as you think you are, and you are never far from either. At the end of the day, it is about knowing foundationally what works, the things that are critical to your team’s performance and to your organizational health, and prioritizing those things. The magic is in the work. Put your head down and work.

Jim: It’s important to both make a case for change, which often requires presenting the harsh reality of a situation, while also presenting the opportunities inherent within a challenging situation. In the case of higher education, there are clear signs of a difficult future, whether it’s seeing universities close at an accelerated pace or the national student debt exceeding 1.5 trillion dollars—situations that should worry everyone. But those challenges also present an opportunity to adapt and take the lead on new educational approaches. I am confident that at Butler, if we’re innovative and open ourselves to new opportunities, we will continue to benefit our students well into the future.

Q: Adam mentioned the need to carefully diagnose the problem before developing ideas. President Danko shared the staggering amount of national student debt and the recent closure of several universities. In light of this, what is the problem higher education needs to solve?

Adam: Higher education is the most important force for learning and teaching in the world. No one gets better at anything without being a dedicated learner and also without having and being a great teacher. The first threat is that there are more vehicles for both teaching and learning that now exist outside of higher education that didn’t exist in the past. It’s easier to learn online now, it’s easier to take non-degree courses, and in many ways, it’s like we have gone back half a millennium and it’s easier to apprentice yourself in your craft and to learn things on YouTube.

I think there is also a growing case to be made that the kinds of jobs that previously needed a college degree are no longer going to require an advanced education. So I think it is possible that a small subset of schools will gain more of a monopoly on higher education, and all the other schools will be struggling to recruit students. The last threat is the feasibility of distance learning. I think so much of the value added by a university is getting people together so they can have experiential learning, they can have extended debate, they can really challenge each other’s thinking. As it gets easier and easier for people to learn from a distance, it gets harder to draw them into a campus, and that makes the unique value of an institution of higher education harder to convey and harder to deliver.

Jim: In the past, many of our students had to physically go to a library to find information. Now information that was well beyond the capacity of a library is immediately available to students on their phones. A key role of universities is to transfer knowledge. In our technologically advancing world, it’s imperative that we make the case for the Butler approach to education, and the value inherent when people gather in person and learn from faculty and one another. I expect that approach to continue to be core.

But to be successful moving forward, we’ll need to be multidimensional in the way we transfer knowledge.

Of course, the challenges extend beyond the approach to education. Over the past 20 years, the average net tuition, room, and fees at private universities have risen by 23 percent while median household incomes have grown by only 3 percent. Between 2017 and 2029, experts predict there will be an 11 percent decline in demand for a regional private education due, in part, to the significant contraction in the number of 18-year-olds in the United States. Universities must face the reality that there will be fewer students attending college, and even fewer still that can afford the traditional, residential undergraduate model.

Q: What makes you feel confident Butler will successfully navigate the challenges ahead?

Brad: The same thing that has allowed Butler to navigate the challenges of the past and continue to progress and move forward and keep adding, is the people—leadership, faculty, staff, and students. My 13 years at Butler were some of the most influential years to help me learn, grow, and get better at what I ultimately wanted to pursue. It was such an empowering environment. I feel very confident that if a challenge presents itself, the people at Butler will figure it out.

Adam: It is hard to top that. But for my part, you have a couple of things going for you. You have a president who is an entrepreneur at heart and a doer. A lot of universities have great thinkers at the top who don’t get anything done. I also think that there is an advantage to your small size. You are a lot more nimble; it’s easier to make changes, as opposed to being stuck in a giant bureaucracy. Then there is the culture. When I think of The Butler Way, I think of the humility. There is a norm at Butler that gets set on the basketball court, but pervades the University. Everyone is excited to figure out what they don’t know and keep learning. I think that is kind of the wellspring of innovation. And then also, the generosity. Butler is a school of givers. You have a group of people who are drawn to the school because they are excited to try and figure out how they can help others and contribute to a meaningful mission. I have some data suggesting that when people are focused on solving problems, not just for themselves, but for others, they end up generating more innovative ideas because they do a lot more perspective-taking, they think about what different kinds of solutions might look like for different kinds of people, and that is all good for generating ideas that turn out to be novel and useful.

Jim Danko, Brad Stevens, and Adam Grant
Butler Beyond

A Conversation—Innovation and Leadership in Changing Times

James M. Danko, Brad Stevens, and Adam Grant discuss innovation.

from Fall 2019

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Bulldog statue and the sky

Looking Beyond

James M. Danko

President

from Fall 2019

President James M. DankoAs the namesake year for our strategic plan is just a few weeks away, and our vision for the future evolves beyond, I have found myself reflecting upon my early months as President and the many conversations I had with alumni, students, faculty, and staff as I learned about this great University. Not only did I meet many wonderful people, but the active engagement led to a collective and exciting vision that became known as Butler 2020.

With our planning complete and attention turned toward achieving our vision, I was surprised one day by the reaction of a student who approached me in Starbucks. “Our new plan sounds great,” she said wistfully. “But I will graduate long before 2020, and I won’t benefit from the improvements.”

It never fails to amaze me—as a parent or as a president—that even in the midst of painstaking planning, meticulous research, and preparation for all manner of contingencies, a young-adult mind can hone in on a blindingly obvious insight that I had somehow managed to overlook.

Besides prompting me to make a mental note to never name a strategy after a future year, this student’s remark motivated me to do a better job of conveying to our students that today’s investments in our University do two important things. First, they ensure that our campus is continuously—and proactively—evolving to meet the needs of every incoming class. Second, they elevate the value of a Butler degree for all alumni—past, present, and future.

As you’ll read about in this special edition of Butler Magazine, we’ve gained unprecedented momentum through the successful implementation of Butler 2020. We have advanced Butler’s reputation for overall excellence, teaching, and innovation; enriched our academic, research, residential, performance, and athletic resources; and made a positive impact on global, regional, and local communities. Over the summer, the Lacy School of Business moved into its new 110,000-square-foot home. And earlier this month, we broke ground on a $100 million renovation and expansion for Butler’s new sciences complex.

The benefits of these improvements are not limited to those who live in a new residence hall or take classes in a new building today, however. They are part of an overarching cycle. They strengthen our brand as a University with great academics and great people. This, in turn, attracts the most talented students, faculty, and staff to Butler. This ultimately increases the value of a Butler degree. And like the generations of Bulldogs who came before us—those who enacted Butler’s commitment to inclusivity, who established outstanding academic and athletic programs, and who built beautiful campus buildings and gardens—we have assumed the mantle of good stewardship. This means that just as the Butler we enjoy today was built upon the shoulders of those who preceded us, we have a responsibility to make Butler better for the generations that will come after us.

As we look to these future generations, we will be guided by a new roadmap: Butler Beyond. Within these pages, you’ll learn more about the complex challenges within the higher education landscape that Butler Beyond will help us successfully navigate in the coming years, including changing student needs and demographic shifts. This new strategic vision includes the University’s commitments to make a Butler education more financially accessible to students and families; to offer students more efficient ways to learn and sharpen skills at all stages of life; to reach beyond our traditional-aged students and beyond our campus to pursue new markets, partners, and models of learning; and to complete the largest ever comprehensive fundraising campaign in the University’s history.

Thanks to alumni and friends like you, Butler is stronger than ever. We have built upon the hard work of past Bulldogs to benefit current students. We are deeply grateful for your support and we’re counting on you to be a part of our next bold leap forward. Thank you for joining us as we look beyond and dream big.

Bulldog statue and the sky
Butler Beyond

Looking Beyond

What's Beyond Butler2020? A letter from James M. Danko. 

by James M. Danko

from Fall 2019

Read more
The space designed to inspire collaboration between LSB and the business community is now open.
Butler BeyondCampusCommunity

New Building for Lacy School of Business Ready to Serve Butler and Indy Community

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 14 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — The new building for Butler University’s Andre B. Lacy School of Business (LSB) is officially open.

After nearly two years of construction, the 110,000-square-foot building is now ready to serve a student population on the rise, along with the local, regional, and national business community.

The building is central to Butler’s 2020 strategic vision to make the University a leader in business, innovation, technology, and student-centered experiences that prepare graduates to pursue fulfilling careers and make a positive impact.

“It is a physical manifestation of a culture in which faculty and staff work in true partnerships with business leaders for the benefit of our students,” says LSB Dean Steve Standifird.

 

 

With a curriculum steeped in hands-on experience, adaptability, and student-faculty engagement, LSB has grown its enrollment by 60 percent in the last five years. As a result, the new building is about six times larger than the business school’s previous home in the Holcomb Building. LSB will serve 1,150 undergraduate business students this year.

The building will also be home to Butler’s Career and Professional Success office, which serves the entire Butler student body and includes the FirstPerson Interview Suite, featuring private interview rooms, work space, and a lounge for recruiters.

The $50 million building is complete, but fundraising efforts are ongoing as the University seeks to name the building. Support for the project has come from both the Butler community and beyond. Four of the top donors to date are not Butler graduates, but they invested due to their belief that LSB is making a strong impact on the Indianapolis business community. 

The Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business, for example, connects local businesses with resources and advisors. And the Butler Business Consulting Group works directly with companies to solve business challenges.

The building will allow such partnerships to expand and will foster new program offerings, new centers, and new relationships with employers and business leaders. The Innovation Commons space, for example, was modeled after The Speak Easy spaces in Indianapolis and designed to facilitate collaborations between LSB and business community members. The new building’s cafe was added to encourage visitors to stay.

“Our goal was to create a space where there is no line between where the classroom ends and the business community begins,” Standifird says.

“Andre and Julia Lacy had an incredible philanthropic vision,” said Butler President James Danko. “They wanted to enrich learning experiences for young people; support experiential curricula that emphasize family-run businesses, innovation, and leading with integrity; and to invest in our city and state. We are honored to carry out the legacy they intended. I only wish they were here to see their vision come to fruition and to see how excited Butler students are about learning in this extraordinary new building.”

 

Media Contact:

Rachel Stern

Director of Strategic Communications

Butler University

rstern@butler.edu

914-815-5656

 

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

 

The space designed to inspire collaboration between LSB and the business community is now open.
Butler BeyondCampusCommunity

New Building for Lacy School of Business Ready to Serve Butler and Indy Community

The space designed to inspire collaboration between LSB and the business community is now open.

Aug 14 2019 Read more
$41.4 million raised in fiscal year 2019
Butler BeyondCommunityGiving

Generous Donors Drive a Banner Fundraising Year for Butler

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jul 19 2019

Fiscal year 2019 was a banner year for philanthropy at Butler University, with 15,823 generous graduates and friends contributing $41.4 million, representing the second highest fundraising total in the past 10 years. The gifts will bolster academic programs, enhance student life initiatives, and support Butler Athletics, cementing Butler’s status as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, a distinction made this year in U.S. News & World Report’s Best College Rankings.

The new building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business (LSB) was one of the fiscal year’s landmark achievements. Twelve Founders Circle donor families each made $1 million gifts to lead the fundraising effort, which has totaled more than $21 million to support construction of the building. The atrium of the new building will be named in honor of these donors’ visionary investment in Butler’s future and the lives of future business students.

On June 7, the University marked another milestone as the Board of Trustees approved a $100 million renovation and expansion of Butler’s sciences complex. With the help of generous lead donors, more than $27 million has already been raised toward the total $42 million fundraising goal. Butler will hold a formal groundbreaking ceremony for the project this fall, but work is beginning immediately.

In another major infrastructure project this year, Butler announced a second phase of renovations to Hinkle Fieldhouse estimated to cost $10.5 million. To date, $10.1 million of that total has been raised through generous philanthropic support. The renovations began in May and will include enhancements to the Efroymson Family Gym and the men’s soccer locker room. The installation of an HVAC system will provide air conditioning for the main court, the concourses, and the Efroymson Family Gym.

Butler’s most dedicated donors also were recognized during the fiscal year. In September, the University celebrated the launch of the inaugural Carillon Society, which honors individuals who have made cumulative gifts of $100,000. The celebration inducted 248 honorees into the Carillon Society—representing more than $73 million in philanthropic support that has impacted nearly every corner of the University. Additionally, eight new plaques were unveiled on Cornerstone Plaza, recognizing the generosity of those whose cumulative giving has reached $1 million or more.

“This level of generosity demonstrates the incredible loyalty of our alumni, faculty, staff, and community, and the commitment we share to advancing Butler’s mission of providing the highest quality liberal arts education,” says Butler President James Danko. “Philanthropic support helps us to more effectively advance integrated learning in business, science, innovation, and technology. We are grateful for the many partners who have placed their trust in Butler and invested in the lives of our students with their gifts.”

Butler employees showed significant generosity this year, providing gifts totaling $1,042,196 from 599 faculty and staff donors, up from 424 faculty and staff donors in FY18 and 349 in FY17. This total indicates 59 percent of full-time Butler employees made a gift to the University in FY19 in a powerful demonstration of support for the institution’s mission and vision.

Butler’s annual Day of Giving marked its fourth year in record-setting fashion. The University raised $311,183—a 159 percent increase from its inaugural year in FY16. Of special note, this year’s Day of Giving raised $21,899 for the Butler Emergency Assistance Fund, which provides gift assistance to students with short-term, unforeseen financial hardships that might impact their academic success at the University. The Fund was a new initiative in FY19 that has already provided assistance to 16 students thanks to donor support.

“Exciting things are happening at Butler, and we’re grateful to the donors and community partners who have come alongside us this year with their support and enthusiasm,” says Jonathan Purvis, Vice President for University Advancement. “Philanthropic partners are making a difference in the lives of our students every day by establishing scholarships, providing resources for our outstanding faculty, investing in state-of-the-art facilities, and supporting community partnerships that enrich student learning. Butler donors are absolutely integral to our students’ success and the impact we make in the community.”

A rendering of the new Sciences Complex.
Butler BeyondCampusGiving

Former Board Chair Commits $5 Million to Butler

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Jun 25 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – Craig Fenneman ’71 and Mary Stover-Fenneman have made a $5 million commitment to Butler University. The gift will provide support for the expansion and renovation of the University’s sciences complex, construction of the new building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business (LSB), the Craig Fenneman Endowed Scholarship, and future University priorities.

Fenneman earned his Butler undergraduate degree in Economics in 1971, and has served as a member of the Board of Trustees, including serving as Board Chair from 2011-2014.  

“Butler University is a school on the rise and we are proud to support the incredible work happening on campus,” Fenneman says. “My own life has been shaped by my Butler experience, and Mary and I are pleased to help ensure Butler remains a premier institution for future generations of students.”

The gift will help enhance the University’s sciences facilities, which has been a top priority under the Butler 2020 strategic plan. In recognition of their gift, the couple will be honored, along with other lead donors to the sciences expansion and renovation project, in the new atrium of the sciences complex.

Fenneman established the Craig Fenneman Endowed Scholarship in 2003 to benefit students pursuing an economics degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Endowed scholarship support is among Butler’s current chief funding priorities as the University seeks to ensure the long-term sustainability of its financial aid program. Butler annually invests more than $78 million in student scholarship support.

The couple’s support for the new building for the LSB places them with 11 other families in the Founders Circle, a group of lead donors who have committed $1 million or more to the project since 2016. The new building will open for classes in fall.

“Butler students in each of our six colleges have directly benefitted from Craig and Mary’s generosity throughout the years,” says Provost Kate Morris. “Their gifts are improving the quality of our teaching facilities, increasing student access through scholarships, and strengthening our ability to partner with the local community in providing experiential learning opportunities for our students.”

Fenneman and Stover-Fenneman are honorees of Butler’s premier philanthropic giving community, the Carillon Society, and recognized on Cornerstone Plaza for their generous lifetime giving to Butler. Their previous philanthropic support has benefitted the Butler Fund, the Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Butler Rising Campaign, and the Butler Business Consulting Group.

“We are deeply grateful to Craig and Mary for their significant investment in the lives of our students,” says Butler President James Danko. “Butler University is experiencing an exciting era of growth, and this transformational commitment will fuel our vision for the future.”


About Butler University

An influx of philanthropic support has aided Butler University’s dramatic growth in recent years. Pursuant to the Butler 2020 Strategic Plan, the University and donor partners have invested in new campus facilities, academic programs, and co-curricular offerings. In the past five years, Butler has built the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, the Sunset Avenue parking garage including a streetscape beautification project and renovated Hinkle Fieldhouse. In addition, the University partnered with American Campus Communities to build the Fairview House and Irvington House residential communities. The Andre B. Lacy School of Business will open the doors to its new 110,000 square foot home in the fall of 2019, and fundraising is underway to complete a $93 million Science Complex expansion and renovation.

Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,500 undergraduate and 541 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 46 states and 39 countries. Ninety-five percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, student teaching, clinical rotation, research, or service learning by the time they graduate. Butler students have had significant success after graduation as demonstrated by the University’s 97% placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

A rendering of the new Sciences Complex.
Butler BeyondCampusGiving

Former Board Chair Commits $5 Million to Butler

Craig Fenneman ’71 and Mary Stover-Fenneman have made a $5 million commitment to Butler University.

Jun 25 2019 Read more
Rendering of New Sciences Building
AcademicsButler BeyondCampus

Butler Board of Trustees Approves $100 Million Sciences Upgrade, Largest Investment in Butler’s Future

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Jun 13 2019

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS-- A new sciences complex is set to take shape on Butler University’s campus, as the Board of Trustees approved the project during their June meeting.

The $100 million renovation and expansion is the largest investment ever by the Trustees in Butler’s future. The project includes new high-tech classrooms designed to promote learning by doing, labs that mimic the set-up at top research companies, and work spaces meant to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration. The facility will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of science, and eliminate labs designed for a single purpose. Classroom spaces will enable faculty to step away from the podium and move among students in a more hands-on approach to instruction.

“We have outstanding faculty, we have outstanding students, we have outstanding programs, and this project will allow us to take all of that to another level,” says Jay Howard, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who was also part of the project’s original planning committee in 2011. “Science is an ever-changing discipline, and now we will have the flexible facilities to lead the field into the future.”

Phases I and II of the project are expected to start very soon, with a predicted 18-month timeline. To date, $27.5 million has been raised for the project. The goal is to raise $42 million of the $100 million total cost through philanthropic support.

Thus far, major donations have come from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Frank Levinson ’75, Craig Fenneman ’71 and Mary Stover-Fenneman, Lynne Zydowsky ’81, Josh Smiley, Katie and Len Betley, Lou and Laura Glazer, Jane and Robert Wildman, and Dick and Billie Lou Wood.

The project will start with the creation of a connector building--linking Gallahue Hall and the Holcomb Building--that will house classrooms, study areas, and research labs dedicated to Chemistry, Astronomy, Physics, Engineering, and Psychology. The Phase I expansion will add nearly 44,000 square feet, as well as a nearly 13,200 square-foot atrium. This additional space will create a sciences corridor to house all of Butler’s undergraduate sciences programs in a central complex.

“This is a significant and historic step forward as Butler continues to transform education for the needs of students and employers in the 21st century,” President Jim Danko says.

“Our investment in the sciences, coupled with our new business school facility, provides our campus with the world-class infrastructure necessary to support critical skill development integrating business, science, innovation, and technology. These investments are also part of Butler’s commitment to the Central Indiana region as we strive to attract, retain, and develop the talent necessary for our community’s collective success.”

 

A net importer

The vast majority of Butler science graduates choose to stay in Indiana after graduation. In 2016, for example, 63 percent of science graduates remained in Indiana.

“Butler is a net importer of scientific talent,” Howard says. “Rather than be a part of the brain drain problem, we are actually importing talent to Indiana.”

Butler has also long been a leader in preparing women for STEM careers. For many years, the majority of Butler’s science majors have been women. Butler also has more Lilly Scholars than most institutions of a similar size, which speaks to the quality of its programs.

With new facilities, Butler’s ability to prepare homegrown talent for STEM careers in the region will only grow.

“We are honored to support the continued growth of the sciences program at Butler, which is a legacy grantee of our foundation and an institution that our founder, Richard M. Fairbanks, strongly supported,” says Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “Among our foundation’s focus areas is supporting Indianapolis’ thriving life sciences sector and the STEM workforce to support it. Fueling a robust pipeline of science students at Butler helps to advance those goals.”

To prepare students for careers in a discipline that is evolving all the time, the new sciences complex needed a design that could change with new discoveries and new educational approaches.

Lab spaces will be flexible, students and faculty will work side-by-side, and areas of research will be grouped together to maximize collaboration. In addition to visiting other universities’ facilities for ideas, the planning team visited Eli Lilly, Roche, and Corteva to get an idea of what labs at cutting-edge research companies look like.

“Scientific inquiry demands collaboration,” Provost Kate Morris says. “Exciting work is happening at the intersection of multiple disciplines.  The design of the new facility encourages this work by creating space that breaks down the traditional barriers between areas of study.”

 

Endless possibilities

Phase II of the project will include renovating and repurposing the Holcomb Building, which will be vacated by the Lacy School of Business as it moves into its new building opening this fall. Phase III will involve a complete renovation of Gallahue Hall, which currently houses several science departments and has not been renovated since its construction in 1973.

Over the last 10 years, enrollment in the sciences at Butler has flourished, growing more than 70 percent. In addition, every student at Butler takes a science course because of the core curriculum.

With new facilities will come a plethora of new opportunities. New programs are being explored, such as Neuroscience and Data Science. Butler is already home of the country’s largest Undergraduate Research Conference, and now, the cross-disciplinary lab spaces will inevitably lead to new research projects. 

“I think it is hard to overstate the importance of this project, as it will prepare Butler students for the future and position us as a premiere undergraduate institution for the sciences,” says Morris.

 

Media contact:

Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656 (cell)

  

Rendering of New Sciences Building
AcademicsButler BeyondCampus

Butler Board of Trustees Approves $100 Million Sciences Upgrade, Largest Investment in Butler’s Future

Phases I and II of the project are expected to start very soon, with a predicted 18-month timeline.

Jun 13 2019 Read more
Generous gift brings Butler closer to $10.5 million fundraising goal for Hinkle renovations
AthleticsButler BeyondGiving

Hinkle Fieldhouse Strength And Conditioning Room Named by Lawton Family

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 05 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – Dr. Dennis ’71 and Nancy Lawton have made a generous commitment to the Athletics Capital Improvement Fund for the second phase of renovations to Hinkle Fieldhouse, moving Butler University closer to its $10.5 million fundraising goal for the project. To date, more than $10.1 million has been raised toward the effort. In recognition of the gift, the Strength and Conditioning Room in Hinkle Fieldhouse will be named for the family.

“The passionate generosity of Nancy and Denny has significantly and directly impacted the student-athletes in our men’s basketball program,” says Barry Collier, Vice President and Director of Athletics. “We greatly appreciate their many gifts to Butler Athletics and Butler Basketball.”

The second phase of renovations are currently being completed and will be unveiled this fall. Thanks to overwhelming donor support for the original Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse, the first phase of renovations were completed in 2014. The second phase enhancements include a complete renovation of the Efroymson Family Gym, air conditioning for all public areas of the Fieldhouse, and extensive work to the men’s soccer locker room.

The Lawtons have been longtime supporters of Butler Athletics and the Men’s Basketball program in particular. In 2014, the couple established the Lawton Family Scholarship for Men’s Basketball, which is awarded annually to a scholarship student-athlete. The family has also provided significant support to the team’s travel fund, which helped to cover the costs of the team’s 2017 foreign tour in Spain.

As longtime men’s basketball season ticket holders, the Lawtons have extended their support of the program far beyond attendance at games and financial gifts. The Lawtons consistently reach out to members of the basketball coaching staff and their families, taking special care to make sure everyone feels included in the Butler community.

“Nancy and Denny have generously supported Butler and our program in many ways,” says Men’s Basketball Head Coach LaVall Jordan. “Their impact is undoubtedly felt by our student-athletes through major initiatives like foreign trips and team travel. They have also gone out of their way to embrace the families of our staff in many ways. Their relationship continues to mean so much to my family, and the families of the staff and players. They truly are Butler family.”

The Lawtons have a long family history at Butler, beginning with Nancy’s mother Doris who was a 1941 graduate. In her honor, the couple established the Doris Huesing Barrett and Dennis and Nancy H. Lawton Endowed Fund for Men’s Basketball in 2010. The fund provides support for the team’s area of greatest need as determined by the head coach.

“As a child, my parents, Homer and Doris Huesing, instilled in me the wonder and value of a Butler education,” says Nancy Lawton. “The amazing Butler culture provided not only my parents, but my husband, Denny, our son Ben, and a very long list of other family members a stellar education. The friendships we have developed with alumni, staff, and their spouses have greatly enhanced our lives.”


About Butler University

An influx of philanthropic support has aided Butler University’s dramatic growth in recent years. Pursuant to the Butler 2020 Strategic Plan, the University and donor partners have invested in new campus facilities, academic programs, and co-curricular offerings. In the past five years, Butler has built the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, the Sunset Avenue parking garage including a streetscape beautification project and renovated Hinkle Fieldhouse. In addition, the University partnered with American Campus Communities to build the Fairview House and Irvington House residential communities. The Andre B. Lacy School of Business recently moved into its new 110,000-square-foot building, and fundraising is underway to complete a $100 million Science Complex expansion and renovation.

Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,800 undergraduate and 600 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 48 states and 35 countries. Ninety-five percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, student teaching, clinical rotation, research, or service learning by the time they graduate. Butler students have had significant success after graduation as demonstrated by the University’s 98% placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

Generous gift brings Butler closer to $10.5 million fundraising goal for Hinkle renovations
AthleticsButler BeyondGiving

Hinkle Fieldhouse Strength And Conditioning Room Named by Lawton Family

Generous gift brings Butler closer to $10.5 million fundraising goal for Hinkle renovations

Jun 05 2019 Read more
Butler University Trustee Bryan Brenner ’95 and his wife Elaine ’94
Butler BeyondGivingPeople

FirstPerson Interview Suite Enhances Butler Career Services

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Jun 05 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – Butler University Trustee Bryan Brenner ’95 and his wife Elaine ’94 have donated $250,000 toward construction of the new building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business, which will officially open in August. In recognition of the gift, the Career Development Interview Suite in the new building will be named the FirstPerson Interview Suite in honor of FirstPerson, Inc., the Indianapolis-based benefits and compensation consulting company founded and run by Brenner.  

FirstPerson, Inc. has a long history of hiring Butler students as interns, many of whom have gone on to full-time careers at FirstPerson after graduation. The company is committed to people development, including philanthropic work in the community through the PEEP Project—Personally Enriching and Embracing People. Recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana in 2019, FirstPerson’s passion for personal and professional development made the gift to name the career interview suite a perfect fit for Brenner.

“Elaine and I have a deep connection with Butler and consider our alma mater a foundational part of our larger life in Indianapolis,” Brenner says. “The University’s community focus and forward thinking has been a platform for growing FirstPerson and stepping into initiatives Elaine and I have launched to invest in the health and vitality of central Indiana.”

Annually, Brenner hosts a Dinner With 10 Bulldogs, a Butler program designed to give students a chance to meet successful graduates and explore opportunities that may be available to them after Butler.  Each year, Brenner and other Butler graduates from FirstPerson welcome 10 Butler students to the FirstPerson headquarters to socialize, network, and build relationships. Brenner has hired a number of students he has met through the dinner parties as FirstPerson interns.

“FirstPerson is genuinely committed to the personal and professional development of their employees and our students," says Steve Standifird, Dean of the Lacy School of Business. "Bryan and Elaine have been generous and thoughtful partners in seeking innovative ways to provide opportunities for our students to learn and grow, both through their own personal contributions and through FirstPerson.”

Among the many enhanced opportunities made possible by the new Lacy School of Business building is the ability to bring all of the University’s career development services into the same space on campus. Previously, career services for students studying in the Lacy School of Business was housed separately from the University’s central Internship and Career Services team.

The new comprehensive career development suite will provide a more streamlined experience both for companies looking to recruit Butler students and for Butler students seeking career opportunities to match their diverse skill sets. Located on the first floor of the new building near the entrance of Butler’s campus, the FirstPerson Interview Suite includes seven interview rooms, a recruiting lounge, and a conference room.

“The Brenners have been incredibly generous to Butler through their gifts of time and resources,” says Butler President James Danko. “We are pleased to recognize FirstPerson’s significant partnership in preparing our students for meaningful careers through the FirstPerson Interview Suite.”

In addition to Butler, the Brenners support Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indy Chamber, The Oaks Academy, University High School, and agencies of the United Way, in addition to establishing the MBA Board Fellow program for nonprofit management at Lacy School of Business.            


About Butler University

An influx of philanthropic support has aided Butler University’s dramatic growth in recent years. Pursuant to the Butler 2020 Strategic Plan, the University and donor partners have invested in new campus facilities, academic programs, and co-curricular offerings. In the past five years, Butler has built the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, the Sunset Avenue parking garage including a streetscape beautification project and renovated Hinkle Fieldhouse. In addition, the University partnered with American Campus Communities to build the Fairview House and Irvington House residential communities. The Andre B. Lacy School of Business will open the doors to its new 110,000 square foot home in the fall of 2019, and fundraising is underway to complete a $93 million Science Complex expansion and renovation.

Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,500 undergraduate and 541 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 46 states and 39 countries. Ninety-five percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, student teaching, clinical rotation, research, or service learning by the time they graduate. Butler students have had significant success after graduation as demonstrated by the University’s 97% placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

Butler University Trustee Bryan Brenner ’95 and his wife Elaine ’94
Butler BeyondGivingPeople

FirstPerson Interview Suite Enhances Butler Career Services

Trustee Bryan Brenner ’95 and wife Elaine ’94 give $250,000 for the Lacy School of Business building.

Jun 05 2019 Read more

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