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How Professor Clark Made Kurt Vonnegut's Play Sing

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 30 2016

When Indianapolis Opera presents the world premiere of Happy Birthday, Wanda June—libretto by Kurt Vonnegut, music by Butler Professor of Music Richard Auldon Clark—it will be the culmination of a project that began in the early 1990s, came to an abrupt halt with Vonnegut’s death in 2007, and concluded on Valentine’s Day this year.

What happened in between was a collaboration that Clark said he will cherish forever.
Kurt Vonnegut with Richard Auldon Clark

“Kurt,” he said, “would leave me a message on my answering machine: ‘I think Col. Looseleaf Harper needs to be a bass. I think Harold Ryan should be a baritone. All the decent characters need to be in the high range, so Dr. Woodley must be a tenor.’ It was always on his mind. But he was always so casual about it, and I never thought we would lose him so early, in such a stupid, horrible manner.”

The end result of Clark’s work with Vonnegut can be seen September 16-18 at Butler’s Schrott Center for the Arts. (Tickets at www.indyopera.org.)

Clark said the production runs a little more than two hours. He’s especially proud that the music he wrote expresses exactly what’s being said and where the characters are.

“You just hear a couple of themes and you’ll understand Penelope,” he said. “You just need to hear that opening line Harold Ryan has and get it right away. You know: This guy is a narcissist, he’s a sexist and a racist and an egomaniac. The music conveys the characters so they don’t have to overact or be cartoonish. The music carries them.”

Here’s more of what he said.

Q: How did you know Kurt Vonnegut?

A: I knew him for about the last 15 years of his life. He met a composer on jury duty, and he asked that composer to write the music for the Requiem Mass, which Kurt rewrote. He didn’t like the text. As a humanist, he found it very offensive. This composer set it, but no groups were interested. A friend of mine was working for RCA/BMG, and the score came across her desk, and she knew what a Vonnegut fanatic I was. She called me and said, “Would you consider doing it with your group?” I jumped on it. She said, “Just so you know, every group has turned it down.” I said, “If I get to meet Vonnegut, I’m doing it.”

I got to meet Vonnegut. We had dinner, and he came to the performance—and, indeed, it was a bad performance—but the first half of the concert I did all American music by David Amram. Vonnegut had a previous association with Amram and was quite a fan of his. A few days after the concert, Kurt talked to me and said, “If I’d only heard the Requiem, I would have thought that you weren’t up to the task or your group was bad. But I heard how great the first half of the concert was, so I know something else is going on. Tell me.” I said, “I’m going to give it to you straight: I think it’s a terrible piece.”

He invited me to meet him at his brownstone—he lived a few blocks from the United Nations—and I became a frequent visitor there. We just hit it off. I brought composers to him to create projects. We did Breakfast of Champions, Mother Night, Ice-9 Ballads” from Cat’s Cradle. I brought him a composer (Seymour Barab) to redo the Requiem—it’s called the “Cosmos Cantata,” and we’ll be performing that September 10 (5:30 PM in the Basile Opera Center, 4011 North Pennsylvania Street) with Butler University students—and then he gave me his opera.

Q: Did he decide that Happy Birthday, Wanda June should be an opera?

A: It was his idea. I had never even thought about it. I reread the play, and I thought he would want one of the other composers I brought to him. I never pushed myself as a composer with him. But he said, “I think you should turn this into an opera.” I’d never written anything that big. I write chamber music. I said, “Would you help me adapt the play for an opera?” He said, “Absolutely.” He wasn’t going to write a brand new libretto, but he was in the driver’s seat for it and wound up writing a brand new ending. Otherwise, not a word of the play was changed. All we did was cut dialogue so a singer could have an aria.

Q: You knew him before you came to Butler. What did he say when you got the position here?

A: He was very fond of Butler, and he loved Indianapolis. He was thrilled that I was taking it. That’s when he said, “That’s where the opera should have its world premiere in Indianapolis, not in New York. And that blew me away. I never tried to pursue it in Indianapolis. I just always assumed I would do it with my New York group (the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra) and try to get singers and a director. But because of a series of wonderful connections, the stars aligned and it’s happening in Indianapolis—as it should be.

Q: He died in 2007. What happened after that?

A: I felt lost with the project when he died. I didn’t touch it again until 2014. The libretto was done, but not a note of music had been written. Every once in a while I would sing one or two lines of dialogue to him and he’d wheeze and say, “You’re no singer, Bub.” The only thing he really knew of the music was that the opening prologue was going to have a kind of late 1960s/early 1970s popish, light comedy theme like The Odd Couple or The Brady Bunch because I wanted to lure the audience in with the expectation that this is just a funny little story. She sings, “This is a simple-minded story about men who enjoy killing and those who don’t.” I wanted people to feel that this is accessible, familiar music. You’re going to have a nice time. Then musically, I can twist your guts like he does with the story.

I had the opening theme in my head for probably 10 years before I wrote a note of it. I wrote that first note—that G-sharp—January 1, 2014, when I began my sabbatical from Butler. But it had been percolating a long time. I finished it February 14, 2016.

Q: It has to be amazing for you to have something you’ve worked on for so long finally finished and ready to premiere.

A: It’s funny—I wondered how I’d feel when I finally finished the work, and it was such an emotional breakdown. When I wrote the last orchestrated note, I just lost it completely. It was unreal. I had such a connection with this man. He was my idol. I never thought I’d meet him, and then when I met him, we had this collegial relationship. Then it got friendly. And then it was like family. He was a mentor.

What I respected about him the most was here was one of the most famous authors in 20th century American literature talking to some kid. I guess I was 28 at the time. And he accepted me. He really didn’t like to be around people very much—he liked to be solitary—but he let me in because he loved music, and he loved talking about music with me, and he could tell that I loved books, and he loved talking about books.

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

Campus

How Professor Clark Made Kurt Vonnegut's Play Sing

"It was always on his mind. But he was always so casual about it, and I never thought we would lose him so early, in such a stupid, horrible manner.”

Aug 30 2016 Read more
Campus

Hinkle Renovation Receives LEED Gold Certification

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 29 2016

The old pool section of Hinkle Fieldhouse, which has been converted into a weight room, training center, and administration offices, has received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The removal of the pool was part of the $34 million renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse, which took place in 2013-2014. This is Butler’s third LEED Gold project, following the addition to the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building and the construction of the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts.
Butler University's Hinkle Fieldhouse interior renovation July 11, 2014

"Receiving a LEED Gold certification for the renovation of this historic and iconic building illustrates Butler's commitment to be a leader for sustainability in Indianapolis,” said McKenzie Beverage, Butler’s Sustainability Coordinator. “Projects like this are helping Butler makes strides toward its commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050.”

LEED certification was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to provide building owners and operators with a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions.

Among the measures taken to reach gold certification were:

-Adding a new roof with a white cap sheet that reflects, rather than absorbs, sunlight, reducing the urban heat island effect.

-Including bicycle storage and changing rooms, which encourage alternative transportation to Butler University by means other than automobile. It is estimated that at peak times, the project can host up to 162 individuals. To accommodate this number of people, racks that can hold 24 bicycles are located outside the main entry. Inside the building, showers and changing facilities for men and women are accessible to the student and faculty population who have access to the project area.

-Water-efficiency efforts, including low-flow fixtures.

-Heating and cooling efficiencies. The building uses variable volume air systems, which slow the airflow down if the space temperature is satisfied. This saves a significant amount of fan energy throughout the course of a year. The heating and cooling is provided by hot and chilled water piping loops. The heating loop uses low temperature water, which allows a Dedicated Heat Recovery Chiller (DHRC) to be used. This device, a significant energy saver, lowers the temperature of chilled water while simultaneously increasing the temperature of the hot water.

-Signing a two-year contract to purchase at least 35 percent of the building’s electricity from renewable sources.

-Reducing the amount of waste that has to be landfilled by collecting paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastics, and metals for recycling.

-Diverting 97 percent of the construction waste from the project from the landfill.

-Using recycled content in the construction. Nearly 35 percent of the building products are recycled content.

-Purchasing building materials locally, which cut down on energy usage and pollution associated with transportation. Nearly 77 percent of the building products were manufactured regionally.

-Providing additional air ventilation to improve indoor air quality for improved occupant comfort, well-being and productivity.

-Controlling and limiting the sources of chemicals and pollutants being released into the general atmosphere, which was accomplished by: putting down walk-off carpet for the length of at least 10 feet at each entryway to remove soil and other particulates from the soles of shoes; sending exhaust from all rooms that can potentially produce hazardous or irritating air directly to the outside; and equipping all air-handling units with highly efficient filters.

 

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

Campus

Hinkle Renovation Receives LEED Gold Certification

The old pool section of Hinkle Fieldhouse, which has been converted into a weight room, training center, and administration offices, has received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Aug 29 2016 Read more
Campus

Bulldogs Beat the Rain to Give Back to the Community

BY Kailey Eaton '17

PUBLISHED ON Aug 27 2016

First-year student Nick Bantz braved the weather on Saturday morning to give his time to the Indianapolis community as part of Bulldogs Into the Streets, Butler’s annual day of service.
First-year students Nick Bantz and Mason Accetturo prep the walls for paint at the MLK Community Center with senior Kate Eppen.

Bantz and his fellow volunteers were assigned to the MLK Community Center just a few minutes from campus. The center serves youth, families, and seniors in the neighboring community by providing a variety of programming, including homework assistance, leadership development, grief counseling, and job training. The volunteers were busy organizing donated winter coats, painting walls, decorating windows, and taking down a broken book shelf.

Bantz, a chemistry and pre-med major from Muncie, Indiana, wanted to participate in BITS after learning more about Indianapolis during another program he was a part of during Welcome Week.

“I participated in the Ambassadors of Change pre-orientation program and I learned about all of the social issues in the Indianapolis community,” he said. “It really inspired me to give back. I also got to meet a lot of new people.”

Last year was the first time that the program was open to all volunteers, including new and returning students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Butler community. The numbers are already growing from last year, with over 1,200 volunteers giving their time to 50 sites around Indianapolis and the surrounding areas.

Brighid Smith is the Public Relations Director for BITS this year. She has seen the benefits of expanding the program firsthand through her past experience as a volunteer.

“Ever since last year we opened it up to everyone instead of just first-year students and I think it has been a really good opportunity to get to know the Indianapolis community and for first-year students to interact with upperclassmen,” she said. “It’s a really nice conclusion to Welcome Week.”
A group of volunteers paint the walls in the MLK Community Center.

Although a few outdoor activities were canceled due to heavy rain, there was plenty of work to do indoors all around the city. Some groups were busy painting and cutting cardboard for animals at the Indianapolis Zoo. Other groups went to the Ronald McDonald House to help clean and organize their storage space. One group stayed on campus and packaged around 20,000 servings of food for the Million Meal Movement.

Smith said she has enjoyed her participation in BITS both as a volunteer and a leader. She believes it is a great way for first-year students to get involved on campus and in the community.

“Even if you wake up in the morning and it’s not the first thing you want to do, it’s so rewarding,” she said. “I think it’s a great experience for first-year students because it teaches them responsibility and the importance of giving back.”

Campus

Bulldogs Beat the Rain to Give Back to the Community

Over 1,200 volunteers participated in Butler’s annual service program, Bulldogs Into the Streets.

Aug 27 2016 Read more
Campus

With Pre-Orientation, Students Study Abroad, Then Start School

BY Kailey Eaton '17

PUBLISHED ON Aug 26 2016

Instead of packing up for college in the weeks leading up to move-in day, incoming first-year student Stephanie Hannon was busy mastering the London Tube System and navigating the streets of Paris. She and six other incoming first-year students were given the opportunity to explore two European cities through Butler’s first International Travel Pre-Orientation program.

Students in ParisThe 10-day program took place in mid-August and was designed to help incoming first-year students build confidence in traveling abroad at the start of their college career. Hannon said she also got to build friendships with some other new Bulldogs.

“I thought it would be cool to meet new people and I’ve never been to Europe,” she said. “I didn’t know too many people coming here and I spent two weeks with these people and now we’re really close.”

Director of Study Abroad Jill McKinney led the inaugural program in coordination with Butler’s new initiative called Themed Living Communities (TLCs). This program lets students choose a TLC that suits their interests and then places them in their on-campus housing unit with students who share similar interests.

McKinney created a TLC called “Go Global!” for students who want to explore cultures around the world and build interest in international travel. In thinking of thematic programming ideas for the “Go Global!” TLC, she came up with the idea to take some of the students on an abroad experience, and the program was born.

The group of students spent half of their time in London and half in Paris. They visited the University of Westminster and the University of Oxford, two schools that they could potentially study abroad at in the future, and they explored major sites including Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

They also got to meet with Butler alumna Laura Anderson ’15, who was a College of Communication major, studied abroad, and now lives in London. She welcomed the group and spent time advising them on Butler, studying abroad, and post-grad options.
The students pose with cardboard cut-outs of the Royal Family. (L to R): Stephanie Hannon, Maddie Paraskos, Annika Vinje, Julia Pomeroy, Amrit Ahluwalia, McKensie Hagen, Lyssa Dougan

To create the program, McKinney partnered with institutional partner IFSA-Butler, which provides study abroad opportunities for students in multiple countries around the world. The students on the trip were able to meet the IFSA staff in London and learn about the support services the organization provides for American students who are studying abroad.

McKinney believes that the students in the program began to envision themselves in a future study abroad program because of this experience.

“It was most satisfying to hear the students talk about how they now felt more confident to come back to study abroad and even show their own families around London and/or Paris,” McKinney said. “Over the course of 10 days, I watched relatively timid students gain confidence that will inevitably help them navigate this transition to college now as well as study abroad in the future.”

Campus

With Pre-Orientation, Students Study Abroad, Then Start School

Butler’s first International Travel Pre-Orientation program gives students a chance to study abroad before they start school.

Aug 26 2016 Read more
Campus

Bekah Pollard '16 Receives Arts Council Fellowship

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 25 2016

Bekah Pollard ’16, an Art + Design major, has been awarded a 2016 Arts Council of Indianapolis Arts Journalism Fellowship to produce stories for The Indianapolis Star.Bekah Pollard

Pollard and the two other fellows chosen for the fall “will work with IndyStar reporters, editors and photographers to tell stories across different platforms, including digital and print,” the newspaper reported.

The Arts Council of Indianapolis Arts Journalism Fellowship Program awards $2,000 fellowships to three qualified and talented students (undergraduates and post-undergraduates) to research and write engaging articles or create content and videos on artists and arts organizations in music, dance, theatre, literature, media, and/or the visual arts.

The Arts Council administers and helps fund the fellowship program. The Star, which makes all editorial decisions, pays the students per article, as freelance correspondents.

The program is in its second year. The mission is to increase coverage of the people, events, and organizations that contribute to the cultural life of central Indiana while training and supporting the next generation of arts journalists, the paper reported.

Pollard graduated with high honors in Art + Design, English Creative Writing, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Throughout her time at Butler, she worked as a contributor and editor for Butler’s humor magazine Archives, as well as the University’s fine art and literary magazine, Manuscripts.

She has shown her artwork regularly on Butler’s campus and in several galleries throughout Indianapolis in the past few years. She also worked as a contributing editor for the website thelala.com, and most recently writes arts articles for leapreview.com. She is originally from Peoria, Illinois.

 

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

Campus

Bekah Pollard '16 Receives Arts Council Fellowship

The mission is to increase coverage of the people, events, and organizations that contribute to the cultural life of central Indiana while training and supporting the next generation of arts journalists, the paper reported.

Aug 25 2016 Read more
Campus

Butler to Study the Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 22 2016

Butler University has been awarded a $600,000 Indiana State Department of Health grant for a two-year project to determine whether dementia patients’ lives can be improved through the use of personal musical playlists.

In the project, called Music First, faculty and students from across Butler—in Psychology, Music, Pharmacy, Communication Disorders, and other areas—will team up to study 100 residents in the American Village retirement home throughout the 2016-2017 academic year. Additional locations will be added in the spring for the second phase of the study.

Dementia Patient Listening to MusicButler researchers will create playlists of at least 20 songs that the patients enjoyed when they were in their late teens and early 20s. The songs will be put on an iPod Shuffle, and the patients will listen through headphones so they have an intimate experience with the music.

The hope is that the music will calm the patients, reduce the use of black-warning-label medications, and relieve some of the pressure on caregivers.

“Creating a better understanding of ways that dementia patients can be treated and lives can be enhanced in this situation is in the interest of us all,” said Donald Braid, Director of Butler’s Center for Citizenship and Community, who is directing the project. “With a rapidly aging population, if we don’t do something, things are going to get worse in terms of the number of individuals who need care. If we can find a better way to provide care and demonstrate the significance of our results, we can make enormous progress.”

The idea for the project began about five years ago when Music Professor Tim Brimmer, Psychology Professor Tara Lineweaver, and others began discussing the idea of an interdisciplinary project between music and science. “The Neuromusic Group,” as they called themselves, started working with residents of Rosewalk and Harrison Terrace, an all-dementia nursing home.

While they were completing their second study at Harrison Terrace, the Indiana State Department of Health asked if they could expand their research. While designing this larger, renewable study, the Neuromusic Group began offering a course called The Neuromusic Experience, working with Joy’s House Adult Day Service, where they established and improved the protocols from the first two studies.

“ISDH is intensely interested in our outcomes,” Brimmer said, “because they have described the healthcare industry in nursing homes as a crisis. Staffing turnover with the stress and the working environment is extraordinary. If they can improve patient behavior, it will improve staff retention.”

In the beginning of the study, the music will be used in late afternoon and early evening, when dementia patients exhibit signs of “sundowning”—a tendency to become confused or agitated.

Brimmer said the researchers will be looking for a reaction in the patients’ rate of speech, physical movement, and clarity of responses. They also will be looking to see if the patients sing or dance, and how long the effect of the music lasts.

“With the right playlist, they tend to remember where they were,” he said. “They might not remember what they had for breakfast that morning or who their son or daughter are. But they can tell you about the place they were when they heard these songs.”

Although music therapy has been used with dementia patients, this study is different because it uses music specifically targeted for each patient.

Lineweaver said the early work at Rosewalk, Harrison Terrace, and Joy’s House found that music has some calming influence on the patients. But the studies have only been for three months each, which isn’t long enough to be able to document any improvement in medication regimens.

The nine-month study at American Village should yield broader, more substantial results, she said.

Because the Neuromusic Experience course involves students in the Music First research project, it has been approved as satisfying the Natural World component of Butler’s core curriculum—a component that helps non-science majors deepen their understanding of the scientific method through first-hand experience and discovery-based learning.

The course also satisfies the Indianapolis Community Requirement of Butler’s Core curriculum because it immerses students in a learning environment that helps them better understand themselves and their roles as citizens in a diverse and interdependent world.

“What we’re most excited about with this project is getting students involved in science that has such profound applications,” Lineweaver said. “It not only links them to science—it links them to the community.”

 

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

Campus

Butler to Study the Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

“Creating a better understanding of ways that dementia patients can be treated and lives can be enhanced in this situation is in the interest of us all.”

Aug 22 2016 Read more
Campus

Butler and Cornette Family Establish the Joel Cornette Scholarship Fund

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 19 2016

The Butler Family lost one of its favorite Bulldogs with the passing of Joel Cornette. One of the most popular student-athletes in Butler history, he was known for his outgoing personality, quick wit, trademark smile, and toughness that so many identify with Butler teams, especially of his era. He embodied The Butler Way.

Joel CornetteThe outpouring of support from those who knew Joel well and those who appreciated his true love for Butler has been remarkable. In partnership with the Cornette Family and as one of the ways to celebrate Joel's legacy, Butler University has established the Joel Cornette Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarship support for future Butler Bulldogs.

Contributions in Joel's honor may be made online at https://www.butler.edu/cornette or by check to Butler University Advancement, 4600 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46208. Please reference "Joel Cornette Scholarship Fund" in the check memo or online designation field. Thank you for helping us honor Joel and provide support for future Bulldogs.

Cornette, who was a key member of Butler's first Sweet 16 team, passed away suddenly on August 16 due to natural causes. He was 35.

On the court, Cornette helped the Bulldogs to a record of 100-30 in his four seasons (1999-2003). Butler made three NCAA Tournament appearances in his four years, including the program's first Sweet 16 in 2003. The Bulldogs also made the NIT in 2002. He scored 1,100 career points and pulled down 712 rebounds, marks that are 33rd and tenth respectively in Butler history. His 144 career blocks and .544 career field goal percentage also rank among the Top 10 in Butler history.

Cornette was named to the Midwestern Collegiate Conference/Horizon League All-Defensive Team in 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2002-03. He earned second-team All-League honors in 2002-03. Cornette served on the Butler coaching staff for the 2006-07 season as the team's coordinator of basketball operations before going to Iowa as a member of Todd Lickliter's staff. Cornette grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, starring for St. Xavier High School. An NBPA-certified player-agent, Cornette served as the Director of Basketball Recruiting at Priority Sports since January, 2012.

A celebration of Joel Cornette's life will be held at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Monday, August 22, at 11 AM.

 

Media contact:
John Dedman
jdedman@butler.edu
317-940-9414

Campus

Butler and Cornette Family Establish the Joel Cornette Scholarship Fund

He was known for his outgoing personality, quick wit, trademark smile, and toughness that so many identify with Butler teams, especially of his era. He embodied The Butler Way.

Aug 19 2016 Read more
Campus

Metro Diner to Locate in the Sunset Avenue Parking Garage

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 18 2016

Butler University has signed Metro Diner to be its third retail customer in the Sunset Avenue Parking Garage. The Jacksonville, Florida-based restaurant is scheduled to open a 3,800-square-foot location in early December next to Scotty’s Dawghouse and Pita Pit at 4702 Sunset Avenue.

Trip at Metro Diner“We’re glad to have Metro Diner on campus,” Butler Executive Director of External Relations Michael Kaltenmark said. “With the addition of Metro Diner, we now have excellent options for the Butler community, neighbors, and friends for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

Metro Diner’s menu features “comfort food with flair”—items such as fried chicken and waffle, “Yo Hala on the Square” (two thick slices of challah bread stuffed with bananas, brown sugar, cream cheese and hazelnut syrup, prepared like French toast), and a signature meatloaf plate. The average check is $12 per person.

The Butler-based Metro Diner will be the company’s third in Indianapolis. One is at 3954 East 82nd Street, and the second is set to open at 7225 U.S. 31 on the southside.

“Metro Diner is the kind of place where last night is recalled over pancakes,” the company said. “Where the portions are big, but the egos are small. Where you don’t have to impress anyone and you can come as you are.  The kind of place you’re proud to take out-of-town guests. We believe that when you care about the people you’re cooking for, it shows in the food.”

 

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

Campus

Metro Diner to Locate in the Sunset Avenue Parking Garage

The Butler-based Metro Diner will be the company’s third in Indianapolis.

Aug 18 2016 Read more
Campus

Gallup Survey Finds Widespread Satisfaction Among Butler Alumni

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 18 2016

Butler University alumni are thriving personally and professionally, according to the Gallup-Purdue Index, a national survey of college graduates conducted by the Gallup Organization. Butler outperformed its peers across most items in graduates’ assessment of their student experience including faculty support and experiential learning, affinity for their alma mater, and overall well-being.

Butler CampusThe Gallup-Purdue Index measures the degree to which graduates have successful and engaging careers, and whether they are thriving in their overall well-being. It also emphasizes the undergraduate experiences that most substantially influence these outcomes.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 82% of Butler grads agree or strongly agree it was the perfect school for them—a rate 15% higher than the national average.
  • Nearly 80% of Butler grads have attained careers in which they agree or strongly agree they are deeply interested in their work.
  • Approximately 2/3 of Butler grads agree or strongly agree they have the ideal job for them, surpassing the national average.
  • 94% of Butler grads agree or strongly agree their professors made them excited about learning as a student on campus.
  • Nearly twice as many Butler grads were extremely active in extracurricular activities on campus than graduates nationally.

“Butler’s liberal-arts based education encourages students to develop a lifelong love of learning, a passion for community involvement, and meaningful, fulfilling careers,” said President James M. Danko. “We are gratified by these survey results, which show that Butler is delivering on these promises.”

Butler also participated in the first statewide Gallup-Indiana Graduate Satisfaction Survey, coordinated by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE), which revealed that 90% of alumni agree or strongly agree they are satisfied with the education they received at Butler and 81% agreed or strongly agreed that they were well prepared for life.

This marks the second year of the Gallup-Purdue Index, which is an annual national survey of alumni who received their undergraduate degrees. Results are based on surveys conducted online from December 16, 2014 to June 29, 2015, from a random sample of 30,151 respondents living in the U.S. with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The Gallup-Indiana Graduate Satisfaction Survey included more than 22,000 graduates from 13 Indiana public and private colleges that volunteered to participate. Butler’s results are based on online surveys conducted from February 22 to March 22, 2016 with a sample of 4,696 Butler University undergraduate degree alumni. The Gallup-Indiana survey was conducted in partnership with ICHE and USA Funds.

“This kind of information about the college experiences and outcomes of Indiana graduates is invaluable for prospective students and their families who are planning for college, as well as for policymakers and educators who are determining higher education policy and programming,” said Carol D’Amico, USA Funds executive vice president, National Engagement and Philanthropy. “USA Funds is delighted to support these more robust measures of college value to promote student success in college and career.”

View Butler’s complete survey results here.

 

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

Campus

Gallup Survey Finds Widespread Satisfaction Among Butler Alumni

Butler outperformed its peers across most items in graduates’ assessment of their student experience including faculty support and experiential learning, affinity for their alma mater, and overall well-being.

Aug 18 2016 Read more
Campus

Butler Welcomes Its Largest Class Ever

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 18 2016

Butler University will welcome a record first-year class of 1,272 students on move-in day, Saturday, August 20. Classes begin on Wednesday, August 24.

This year, 12,949 prospective students applied to Butler, a 30.2 percent increase compared with 2015.

Butler UniversityButler’s Class of 2020 continues the University’s track record of attracting high-quality, academically prepared students. Here’s a look at some numbers.

-46 Valedictorians and 11 Salutatorians

-2 National Merit Finalists

-21 Lilly Scholars

-45 21st Century Scholars

-292 in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class

-GPA (average): 3.8

-ACT (middle 50 percent) 25–30

-SAT (middle 50 percent) 1600–1840

The Class of 2020 comes from 37 states and five countries. Forty-three percent are from Indiana, and 57 percent are from out of state. The number of out-of-state students increased by 28 percent compared with 2015, with 205 percent growth in students from the Northeast and 108 percent growth in students from the South.

Nearly 16 percent of the class are U.S. students of color or international citizens.

 

The most popular majors this year are Pre-Pharmacy (135), Exploratory Studies (109), and Biology and Exploratory Business (both with 81).

Individual student achievements include:

Camille Arnett (Granger, Indiana), a four-time winner of National Novel Writing Month (write a 50,000-word novel in a month).

Julia Bluhm (Waterville, Maine), who successfully petitioned to have Seventeen Magazine stop digitally altering their models (as an eighth-grader), and afterwards received national media attention.

Josh Ford (Newburgh, Indiana), who actively participates in and promotes the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He was a recipient of a wish as a seventh-grader and has been a spokesperson for the organization since.

In addition, members of the first-year class have:

-Started a service/support group (In The Dark) to help counsel athletes going through post-concussion syndrome.

-Been published by The Los Angeles Times.

-Organized a fundraiser for a classmate that raised over $10,000 for a liver transplant.

-Played violin with an international orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

The University will also welcome 90 new transfer students to campus this fall.

 

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

Campus

Butler Welcomes Its Largest Class Ever

Butler University will welcome a record first-year class of 1,272 students on move-in day.

Aug 18 2016 Read more
Campus

Butler Honors Three With Distinguished Faculty Awards

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PUBLISHED ON Aug 17 2016

Professor Emeritus of Music James Briscoe, Professor of Education Suneeta Kercood, and Professor of Communication Ann Savage will be honored with Butler University’s 2016 Distinguished Faculty Awards.

The awards will be presented Wednesday, August 17, at the Fall Academic Workshop. Winners receive a recognition plaque and a $3,000 stipend.

The Faculty Development Advisory Committee reviewed nominations across three categories—teaching; research, scholarship, and creative work; and service and leadership. Nominations can come from anyone, but this year’s winners were all nominated by fellow faculty members. More information about the Distinguished Faculty Awards can be found here.

More about each winner follows.

JAMES BRISCOE, Jordan College of the Arts

James BriscoeBriscoe, who is being honored for teaching, spent 36 years on the Butler faculty before retiring at the end of the 2015–2016 academic year. In that time, he taught 30 separate courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level, advised 20 master’s theses and seven undergraduate honors theses, and taught six undergraduate seminars through the Honors Program.

Briscoe established himself as an exemplary and innovative teacher, integrating professional musicological expertise with a passion for the liberal arts. For example, by designing and teaching courses in collaboration with the curator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art even as early as the 1980s, he created an interdisciplinary partnership between Butler and the IMA. He also organized 12 large-scale, weeklong music festivals over a 30-year period that included performances, scholarly lectures, and panel discussions.

Throughout his career, Briscoe demonstrated his commitment to the founding principles of Butler University by promoting the study of music composed by women, both in the classroom and in his scholarship. His widely recognized contributions in this area include usable anthologies and other teaching tools on female composers.

He also demonstrated his dedication to the value of interdisciplinary education by convincing the founder of the Undergraduate Research Conference to include an Arts section in addition to the natural sciences, for which the URC was created. By organizing the first non-science section of the conference, Briscoe initiated the expansion of the scope of the URC, which has continued to grow over the years and now represents all disciplines taught at Butler University.

“There may well be members of our faculty who have received higher teaching evaluations than Briscoe, or who have advised a larger number of theses, or who have organized more pedagogy workshops, and so on,” said the faculty member who nominated him. “But if one asks whether there is a senior Butler faculty member who has achieved pedagogical distinction in more areas simultaneously—whether there is a Butler faculty member who has achieved more comprehensive distinction as a teacher than Jim Briscoe—I honestly believe the answer is no.”

SUNEETA KERCOOD, College of Education

Suneeta KercoodSuneeta Kercood, who is being recognized for research, scholarship, and creative work, has over 20 years of experience working with children, families, and service providers of individuals with disabilities. She is a highly active researcher in the area of interventions and preventive care in education for individuals with special needs.

Since joining the faculty at Butler in 2000, Kercood, who teaches special education, has received 26 grants to support her research and presentations at conferences. She has collaborated with faculty and students from multiple colleges at Butler and from other universities around the world and she has published in journals such as the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology and Contemporary Educational Psychology.

She was selected by NIH-NIMHD to receive training in health disparities research, and recently completed a Fulbright senior research scholarship.

“Dr. Kercood provides a model for rigorous research and scholarship activity in a department whose predominant focus is extensive teaching,” said a faculty member who nominated her.

ANN SAVAGE, College of Communication

Ann SavageAnn Savage, who is being awarded for service and leadership, arrived at Butler University in 1998 to discover several gender issues on campus. To begin to address these issues, she worked with Political Science Professor Margaret Brabant to create the Women’s Caucus, which now has over 100 members and was cited as a contributing factor in Butler’s receiving the Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity Award for Leadership in 2006.

Savage’s dedication to bringing issues of gender and equality into the fore led to the development of the Presidential Commission on Gender Equity, which involves external review and consultant recommendations. In her discipline, she has served as the Director of the Gender Studies program, which grew from one to over 40 minors under her direction. She teaches in Critical Communication & Media Studies.

She also led the development of Butler’s major in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and she played a significant role in the establishment of the Collaborative for Critical Inquiry into Race, Gender, and Sexuality, an interdisciplinary group of faculty interested in the relationship between social justice and pedagogy.

“Dr. Savage has been a role model to a new wave of young feminist scholars joining our faculty over the last 10 years,” said one of the faculty members who nominated her. “She is a tireless community activist and a champion of collaboration and inclusivity. She ensures everyone’s voice is heard, and she works toward building consensus among all involved. She is passionately committed to shared governance and transparency.”

 

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

Campus

Butler Honors Three With Distinguished Faculty Awards

Professor Emeritus of Music James Briscoe, Professor of Education Suneeta Kercood, and Professor of Communication Ann Savage will be honored with Butler University’s 2016 Distinguished Faculty Awards.

Aug 17 2016 Read more
Campus

Celebration of Joel Cornette's Life to Be Held at Hinkle

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PUBLISHED ON Aug 17 2016

A celebration of Joel Cornette's life will be held at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Monday, August 22, at 11 a.m. The service is open to the public. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. Attendees are invited to park in the main Hinkle lot (please utilize the parking garage near Scotty's Brewhouse if the main Hinkle lot becomes full). Please enter through Gates 2 and 3.

Cornette, who was a key member of Butler's first Sweet 16 team, passed away early on the morning of August 16 due to natural causes. He was 35. One of the most popular student-athletes in Butler history, he was known for his outgoing personality, quick wit, trademark smile, and toughness that so many identify with Butler teams, especially of his era. He embodied The Butler Way.

Tributes to Cornette can be found here and here.

On the court, Cornette helped the Bulldogs to a record of 100-30 in his four seasons (1999-2003). Butler made three
March 28, 2003 Butler University mens basketball team versus the Oklahoma Sooners at the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament Sweet 16 at Albany, New York.

NCAA Tournament appearances in his four years, including the program's first Sweet 16 in 2003. The Bulldogs also made the NIT in 2002. He scored 1,100 career points and pulled down 712 rebounds, marks that are 33rd and tenth respectively in Butler history. His 144 career blocks and .544 career field goal percentage also rank among the Top 10 in Butler history.

Cornette was named to the Midwestern Collegiate Conference/Horizon League All-Defensive Team in 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2002-03. He earned second-team All-League honors in 2002-03. Cornette served on the Butler coaching staff for the 2006-07 season as the team's coordinator of basketball operations before going to Iowa as a member of Todd Lickliter's staff. Cornette grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, starring for St. Xavier High School. An NBPA-certified player-agent, Cornette served as the Director of Basketball Recruiting at Priority Sports since January 2012.

Memorial service arrangements will be forthcoming from his family.
Media contact:
John Dedman
jdedman@butler.edu
317-940-9414

Campus

Celebration of Joel Cornette's Life to Be Held at Hinkle

One of the most popular student-athletes in Butler history, he was known for his outgoing personality, quick wit, trademark smile, and toughness that so many identify with Butler teams, especially of his era. He embodied The Butler Way.

Aug 17 2016 Read more

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