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Butler Announces Student-Housing Partnership with American Campus Communities


PUBLISHED ON Apr 17 2014

Butler University has partnered with Austin, Texas-based American Campus Communities to develop new student housing facilities on Butler’s campus. The initial phase of development will include a state-of-the-art facility with approximately 500 beds, and is tentatively scheduled to open in fall 2016.

Under the initial agreement, American Campus will build and maintain the facility, while Butler and American Campus will share in the revenue. The appropriate partnership model is currently being negotiated and site studies are underway to determine the facility’s optimal location on campus.

Butler and American Campus have also selected Chicago-based Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) as lead architect, and Indianapolis-based Shiel Sexton as lead contractor, and Cripe Architects Engineers for site design.

This effort represents the first phase of a comprehensive student housing master plan that will address the University’s overall housing inventory. The scope of the master planning process encompasses the renovation or redevelopment of approximately 1,200-1,500 student beds and related student amenity space.   

“Developing superior campus amenities is crucial to our educational mission and to Butler’s 2020 Vision,” Butler President James M. Danko said. “American Campus Communities brings an enormous amount of experience and vision to our partnership, and we are excited to work with them to bring world-class housing options to Butler.”

By establishing a long-term partnership with American Campus, Butler will be able to dramatically upgrade its housing options, while maintaining the financial flexibility needed to invest in future academic facilities.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Butler University,” said Jamie Wilhelm, Executive Vice President of public private partnerships at American Campus. “We look forward to a collaborative process and to providing a modern living-learning community to the next generation of Butler students.”

American Campus Communities––the nation’s largest developer, owner, and manager of high-quality student housing communities­­­––has completed similar projects at more than 40 universities, including Princeton, the University of Southern California, Texas A&M, and Arizona State.

Examples of their work can be seen at

Since 1996, American Campus has developed more than $4.3 billion in properties and acquired more than $4.8 billion in student housing assets. The company has been awarded the development of more than 70 on-campus projects, in addition to 26 projects developed off campus.


Media contact:
Marc Allan
Office 317-940-9822
Cell 317-501-7999



Dr. Stark Honored With Sagamore of the Wabash


PUBLISHED ON Apr 16 2014

Eric Stark was in the middle of conducting the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir in a rendition of Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” Tuesday evening when State Rep. Dan Forestal and about 25 guests stepped onstage to deliver a surprise: Stark had been named a Sagamore of the Wabash, one of the State of Indiana’s highest individual awards.

“I almost always have something to say,” Stark, Butler’s Director of Choral Activities and the Symphonic Choir’s Artistic Director, said after receiving a standing ovation from the 200-member choir and guests. “But tonight I’m absolutely speechless. This will take a while to sink in. But I’m touched, and honored, and incredibly humbled.”

Eric Stark receives the Sagamore of the Wabash from State Rep. Dan Forestal.
Eric Stark receives the Sagamore of the Wabash from State Rep. Dan Forestal.

See a video of the surprise here.

Forestal (D-Indianapolis) delivered the award at Butler’s Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, flanked by a contingent that included Stark’s mother, Sherry Stark, and stepfather, David Tiede; Stark’s brother Chris and sister-in-law Ann; and cousin Julie Moll and her husband, Tom.

“To say Dr. Eric Stark is deserving of this recognition is an understatement,” Forestal said. “The role he has played in enriching our community can be seen in many ways, but mostly in the lives of the people he has guided through the years. Through his great service, untold numbers have gained a greater appreciation of the power of music and have used that knowledge to entertain and enrich the lives of others.”

Stark, a Columbus, Indiana, native, began teaching at Butler in 1996 and is in his 12th season as Artistic Director of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. The Wabash College alumnus received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Stark also has four CD recordings to his name and multiple new music commissions. He has conducted at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Strathmore Music Center, as well as in Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States.

Michael Pettry MM ’06, executive director of the Symphonic Choir, took a conducting class from Stark while in graduate school.

“Eric is an incredible leader, and I’ll tell you why,” Pettry said. “You wouldn’t know that he’s leading. Anybody who’s been in his choir, or who’s been in a committee meeting—as exciting as those are—with Eric sees the quiet, hands-off sort of leadership that Eric exudes. He’s a true educator through and through.”

The Sagamore, bestowed by Gov. Mike Pence, is considered among the greatest honors to come from our state’s chief executive. It is a tribute given to those who have provided a valued service to Indiana and its people. Sagamore recipients include astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, and ordinary citizens who have contributed greatly to the Hoosier heritage—including Stark’s maternal grandfather, businessman J. Kirby Risk, who received a Sagamore of the Wabash in 1969.


Media contact:
Marc Allan



Clowes Hall Introduces Sensory-Enhanced Seating for the Hearing Impaired


PUBLISHED ON Apr 09 2014

Beginning Friday, April 11, Clowes Memorial Hall will launch a first-of-its-kind project that enhances the concert performance experience through a system it has dubbed “audio sensory enhanced seating.” These seats are equipped with technology designed to convert audio into vibration to create physical sensation from sound.

clowesfullhouse0113 001The project started through an idea by Joshua Lingenfelter, Clowes Memorial Hall Director of Marketing, after an experience he had at the Clowes Box Office.

“We had a concert one evening, and the performer was also on a popular TV show at the time,” Lingenfelter said. “A man came to the window and wrote down on a piece of paper that he would like a refund. His wife stood behind him as they both communicated via sign language and written notes. Essentially, they were both fans of the performer being on TV, but even though the husband had great intentions, the wife couldn’t fathom attending a concert when they can’t hear.”

“That sparked an idea for me: What if we changed the way we perceived music by not only hearing it, but also feeling it. Would that have changed their minds about attending the concert? This wasn’t an entirely new concept. Think back to the stories of Beethoven chopping off the legs of his piano after losing his hearing in order to feel the vibrations and you can see where the idea comes from. If we aren’t able to hear it, can we feel it instead?”

Lingenfelter, who is also a percussionist, was familiar with a technology called the Buttkicker® sound enhancement system. The ButtKicker® brand low-frequency audio transducers were developed to solve a problem between a bass player and his drummer. They wanted to be able to feel the low end of the music without turning the stage monitors up so loud that it disturbed the rest of the band. A low-frequency audio transducer allows the user to feel powerful bass without excessive volume.

This week, Clowes will install eight systems into seats, which will be reviewed by members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community during the weekend performance of Blue Man Group at no cost through a generous grant from The Broadway League.

In recent years, the ButtKicker® technology has been installed with commercial applications, bringing excitement and depth to theatres for hearing audiences. Current customers include Disney: Mission Space, Center of Science and Industry – Columbus, Ohio, and Kennedy Space Center. Lingenfelter imagined that if he could use that same technology in the seats of Clowes Memorial Hall, then this could create an option to have music be a valid evening of entertainment for those who had no ability to hear.

Before proceeding with program development for this project, each department at Clowes worked together to develop a test of the ButtKicker® system with a performance of West Side Story at Clowes Hall on June 9, 2013. Clowes invited audience members from the deaf and hard-of-hearing community to attend an ASL-interpreted performance and sit in a seat with the ButtKicker® unit. Invitations were extended to a member of the deaf community and his hearing family, teachers and students from the Indiana School for the Deaf (ISD) and ASL interpreters. This test allowed the patrons to feel the vibrations of the music in the show, enhancing their Broadway performance experience. Patron feedback was positive.

Clowes made initial calls to The Guitammer Company (owners of the Buttkicker technology) in May 2013 to investigate options to use the ButtKicker® at Clowes Hall with a specific focus on music productions. Ernie Yezzi, Clowes sound stagehand, spoke with Mark Luden, CEO and President of The Guitammer Company, to explore new potential uses for the equipment.

To date, the ButtKicker® has never been used in live musical theatre performances or to enhance the performance experience for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences. This presents a unique opportunity for Clowes to pilot a program with potential national replication.

The education and marketing departments at Clowes plan to follow up with extensive research following the weekend to further develop the technology.

“Those of us who can hear don’t think twice about going to a concert for an evening of entertainment,” Lingenfelter said. “For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, a concert may be of little to no interest. However, if we can convert the way our senses perceive music then we can serve all populations in our community.”


Media contact:
Josh Lingenfelter



Elaine Wagner, Brad Stevens to Be Honored at Spring Commencement


PUBLISHED ON Apr 04 2014

Rear Admiral Elaine C. Wagner ’76 and former Butler men’s basketball coach Brad Stevens will receive honorary doctorates at Butler University’s commencement ceremony May 10 in the Butler Bowl. More than 800 students are expected to receive their diplomas.

Winter CommencementRear Admiral Wagner is Commander, Navy Medicine East and Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia. She grew up in southern Indiana and attended Butler and Indiana University School of Dentistry (D.D.S., 1980). She completed her pediatric dentistry residency at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis in 1982.

She was commissioned and reported to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, 29 Palms, California, in December 1983. In the years since, she has headed military dental departments and programs in Washington, DC; San Diego; Maryland; Florida; South Carolina; New England; and Virginia, as well as Okinawa, Japan, and the Philippines. Wagner served as Chief of the Navy Dental Corps from 2010 to 2013. Her military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two gold stars, Meritorious Service Medal with three gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three gold stars, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars.

In his six years as the men’s basketball head coach at Butler, Brad Stevens led the Bulldogs to two NCAA® Division I national championship games, four Horizon League regular season championships, three league tournament titles, and five trips to postseason tournament play. Most of the members of the Class of 2014 were first-year students during the second Final Four®  run, and share memories of this achievement.

Last July, the Boston Celtics hired Stevens to be their head coach. “We didn’t have a formal opportunity to thank Brad or celebrate the many contributions he made to the Butler community,” Butler President James M. Danko said. “So for us, this will be that chance. Brad was a dedicated member of the Butler community for more than a dozen years, and still maintains close ties to the University. It is wholly appropriate that we honor him at Commencement with his first Butler degree.”

Stevens’s career is well documented. He left a position as a marketing associate at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis to pursue a career in basketball coaching. He served in a volunteer capacity in Butler’s basketball office during summer 2000, before eventually gaining a full-time administrative position under Thad Matta. He joined the Butler staff in 2000-2001 as Coordinator of Basketball Operations, handling a variety of administrative duties. He was offered a full-time assistant coaching position by then-Coach Todd Lickliter for the 2001-2002 season.

Media contact: Marc Allan
Office Phone 317-940-9822
Cell Phone 317-501-7999


Jordan College of the Arts Bestows Its First Legend Awards


PUBLISHED ON Mar 19 2014



Poet and musician Mari Evans, jazz vocalist Everett Greene, and attorney and arts advocate Fay H. Williams received the Jordan College of the Arts’s inaugural Legend Awards during ceremonies March 18 at Butler University’s Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts.

Congressman Andre Carson (left) and Dean Ronald Caltabiano (right) with the first Legend Award winners, Fay Williams, Everett Greene, and Mari Evans.
Congressman Andre Carson (left) and Dean Ronald Caltabiano (right) with the first Legend Award winners, Fay Williams, Everett Greene, and Mari Evans. (Photo by Mark Lee, 2014) (c)



“Jordan College of the Arts (JCA) created the Legend Awards to honor individuals whose legendary work has had a deep and lasting impact on the artistic and social fabric of Indianapolis,” Dean Ronald Caltabiano said. “They aim to especially recognize the work of members of minority communities.”

In accepting their awards, Evans read a recent poem, Greene sang with his long time accompanist, and actress/storyteller Deborah Asante took the stage in a dramatic reading of one of Mari Evans best-known works, "I Am a Black Woman."

Congressman Andre Carson, honorary chair, welcomed the attendees and stayed throughout the event, which more than 150 people attended.

Prior to the awards presentation, Caltabiano announced the launch of an Audience Development Task Force to be chaired by Williams. Composed of community members and representatives from the across Butler (including JCA faculty and staff and members of the JCA Board of Visitors), the task force will work through the next year, with goal of making recommendations to the dean on expanding JCA audience diversity in areas including age, ethnicity, and religion.

Media contact:
Marc Allan



Butler Blue II Turns Over His Collar to Blue III


PUBLISHED ON Jan 24 2013

Butler Blue II, who served Butler University proudly as mascot for nearly nine years, turned over his collar to his successor, Blue III, during the University’s first “Changing of the Collar” ceremony on Saturday, March 9, at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

President James Danko took the custom collar created by Reis-Nichols Jewelers from Blue II and placed it around Blue III's neck during halftime of the Butler-Xavier men's basketball game.

President Danko presided over the first "Changing of the Collar" ceremony.

The inscription on the collar reads: "This collar is dedicated to all bulldogs that proudly serve as the official Butler University mascot. May prosperity and good health be bestowed upon all dogs granted the honor of wearing this collar."

This new official custom collar features sterling silver elements, including the University seal, athletic logo, Butler Blue logo, and mascot names, on blue leather.

“Blue II is in good health, but 8 years old is getting up there for an English bulldog,” said Michael Kaltenmark, Butler’s director of Web Marketing and Communications and handler of the live mascots. “Blue has served Butler so admirably all these years, and we want him to go out on top. Retirement will mean fewer appearances and less official business for Blue, but he will continue to come to campus on a regular basis and post on his various social media profiles.”

Blue II will get an official sendoff from noon to 2 p.m. March 29 when the Butler University Student Foundation hosts a ninth birthday party and retirement celebration for him at the campus Starbucks.

The party, which takes place two days after Blue II's actual birthday, is open to the public and will be streamed live at Blue II will be on hand to greet the campus community, pose for pictures, and collect a few much-deserved parting gifts. Local artist James Kelly of Mad Lab Studios will be there to unveil a portrait of Blue as gift to the University.

All those in attendance who bring a donation for Indiana Bulldog Rescue or make a gift to the senior class campaign (the creation of the Bulldog Memorial outside Hinkle Fieldhouse to honor Butler’s live mascots after they die) will receive a coupon for 20 percent off any item in the University bookstore that has a bulldog on it.

The bookstore will be selling two limited edition pieces—a new poster of Blue and a tumbler with four images of Blue from puppy to now. In addition, there will be a Twitter picture and haiku contest. More information about those is available at

“This has been a really well-received event in the past, especially since it falls around the time of the Final Four,” Kaltenmark said. “The last few times we’ve done this, we’ve had upwards of 1,000 people going through. I think that will be true this time too. People want to see Blue one last time, the Xavier game is sold out, so this is their opportunity.”

An American Kennel Club-registered dog, Blue II became known as “America’s Dog” in 2010 and 2011 when Butler men’s basketball team played for the NCAA national championship. Blue II appeared on the floor of every Butler men’s home and Final Four basketball games, as well as some away games. Butler players touched him before each game for good luck as they were introduced.

Blue II was bred by Frank and Jeane King of Kong King Kennel in Lizton, Ind., and presented to Butler as a puppy. He was cared for by Kaltenmark, a 2002 Butler graduate and director of Web Marketing and Communications, who also served as his voice on Facebook, where he was liked by more than 7,500 people, and Twitter, where he had more than 11,500 followers. In 2011, Klout, a company that measures influence in social media, named Blue II’s Twitter feeds among the nation’s Top 10 most influential accounts representing a college or university.

The dog also had his own website, a vehicle provided by Don Hinds Ford, veterinarian care compliments of 1992 Butler grad Dr. Kurt Phillips, and a host of other sponsors such as the dog food brand Holistic Select.

Over the years, Blue II became a media sensation, hobnobbing with celebrities including Colin Powell, Jimmy Fallon and Jillian Michaels. During the Final Four in 2011 in Houston, Blue II also met the likes of former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush.

Blue III, better known as Trip, made his debut on Feb. 18, 2012.

Kaltenmark said he thinks Blue II is looking forward to retirement.

“He’s still excited to go to basketball games, but I think he’s also tired,” he said. “So he deserves a break. I think he’ll get accustomed to taking it easy.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan
(317) 940-9822