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Arick Named a Finalist for CFO of the Year Award


PUBLISHED ON Dec 11 2015

Butler University Chief Financial Officer Bruce Arick was selected as a finalist for the Indianapolis Business Journal’s CFO of the Year honor.

Bruce ArickIn nominating Arick, who has been with Butler for 24 years, the University cited his “solid tenure of stewardship, balanced by his willingness to embrace new endeavors, as was evident with this year’s progress in Hinkle Fieldhouse renovations, the university’s first parking structure, and the new partnership with American Campus Communities to build new student housing facilities.”

As Chief Financial Officer, Arick outlined the funding for the fieldhouse restoration, which included a capital campaign and other financing initiatives. As the Vice President of Finance and Administration, he also led the oversight of the Operations staff that managed the physical renovations of the magnificent building, which will entertain numerous fans for many years to come.

Among his other recent accomplishments:

-Securing bond funding for the Sunset Avenue Parking Garage, which includes 1,033 parking spaces and, on the ground level, approximately 15,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. Arick also worked to bring the first tenants—Scotty’s Dawghouse and Pita Pit—to the garage.

-Guiding the University through a lease agreement and a separate marketing and licensing agreement with American Campus Communities to finance, design, construct, furnish, equip, and operate a state-of-the-art student housing facility with approximately 600 modern, suite-style beds on land owned by the university. 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.

“Over the past two decades, Bruce has helped the Executive Council turn around our financial position from historic deficits to regular surpluses,” the University said. “In addition to managing the overall budget, Bruce has enabled the university to invest in the growth for the future by implementing reserves to cover deferred maintenance for buildings.”

Since 1997, Arick has served Butler as assistant treasurer and vice president for finance. In January 2012, his duties were expanded to include management oversight of facilities, human resources, information technology, and Clowes Memorial Hall. His title was modified to vice president for finance and administration.

He also has served as controller at Southern Bells Inc., as well as staff accountant and senior auditor with Ernst & Young LLP, both located in Indianapolis.

He received a bachelor's degree in accounting from Indiana University and became a Certified Public Accountant of Indiana in 1991.

Arick “remains grounded with integrity, honesty, and reliability—traits every company desires in their CFO,” the University said. “Bruce has worked for four Butler University presidents; his value to the university is apparent. He has shepherded Butler through two decades of continuous growth and improvement. He has turned around Butler’s financial position from historic periods of deficits to regular surpluses while simultaneously investing heavily in growth for the future. He exhibits good stewardship and due diligence in the management of the university’s endowment and investments.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Visiting Writers Series Presents Lev Grossman


PUBLISHED ON Dec 07 2015

Lev Grossman, author of the Magicians trilogy, will speak in the Atherton Union Reilly Room on February 17 at 7:30 PM as part of Butler University’s spring 2016 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

Admission is free and open to the public to all events in the series. For more information, call 317-940-9861.

Lev GrossmanGrossman's Magicians trilogy, a New York Times #1 best seller, has been published in 25 countries. It was recently acquired by NBC/Universal for a television series, with a pilot episode officially ordered for the SyFy channel. For the past decade, Grossman has been both the book critic and the lead technology writer at Time, covering virtually every cultural and technological revolution of the new millennium. (A graduate of both Harvard and Yale, he was the first journalist to make a call on the iPhone!)

When Time chose “You” as its Person of the Year 2006, Grossman wrote the story; he did it again in 2010, covering Mark Zuckerberg. Grossman has interviewed and profiled the major drivers of cultural change in the Internet era, from Steve Jobs to Jonathan Franzen to John Green. He has also written for Wired, The Believer, and The Village Voice and many others.

He will be followed in the spring series by novelist/short-story writer Benjamin Percy (February 29, Schrott Center), poet Claudia Rankine (March 17, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall), and poet/National Book Award winner Marilyn Hacker (April 5, Clowes Memorial Hall, Krannert Room).

Media contact:
Marc Allan


And Now, Some Parting Words From Your Professors

BY Evie Schultz ’16

PUBLISHED ON Dec 04 2015

If you were a college professor giving seniors their final 20-minute lecture, what would you say?
Chemistry Professor Stacy O'Reilly gives her parting advice.

National college senior honor society Mortar Board posed this question to four Butler professors, who then presented their “last lecture” on Thursday, December 3, to about 60 students.

Chemistry Professor Stacy O’Reilly took a scientific approach. She explained how Gore-Tex is made from petroleum for use in ski coats. She said students should be aware participants and consumers as they head out into the real world.

“Remember that everything you use comes from somewhere and from someone,” she said.

Philosophy and Religion Professor Brent Hege spoke about finding enlightenment, reminding students to continue to think critically.

Christine Smith, an Adjunct Professor in the Core/First-Year Seminar, wanted students to reflect on their life's purpose and to live unapologetically.

“For being yourself, you don't need to apologize,” she said. “If I never have, why should you?”

And Journalism Professor Scott Bridge just wanted his students to know how much they mean to him.

“I would want students to know how much they have meant to me and how I will continue to help them long after they've graduated,” he said.

All professors agreed that, although it was daunting to prepare for their theoretical last lecture, they were glad to participate.

Students felt the same way.

“It was an honor to hear their varied life perspectives in such an intimate setting,” Ashley Zegeistowsky ’16 said. “I've never had one of the professors for a class, but it was still really cool to listen to their lectures.”


And Now, Some Parting Words From Your Professors

Four Butler professors were asked to give their “last lecture” to graduating seniors. Here’s what they said.

Dec 04 2015 Read more

Coming Soon to the Sunset Avenue Garage: Pita Pit


PUBLISHED ON Nov 30 2015

Butler University has signed its second retail customer for the Sunset Avenue Parking Garage—a 1,400-square-foot Pita Pit franchise owned by 2003 Butler graduate Travis Sealls.

Pita Pit, “a fresh, healthy alternative to fast food,” will open in late February or early March. The restaurant will seat approximately 20 inside and will have an outdoor patio that will accommodate 20-30.

Trip at Pita PitSealls said Pita Pit will deliver on campus and the surrounding neighborhood. It will be open for lunch and dinner, and offer beer and wine.

“Butler holds a special place in my heart,” he said. “I met my future wife, Whitney ’03, at Butler, and now we have three wonderful kids. From a business standpoint, Pita Pit is a perfect college campus addition. The first Pita Pit was founded at a university. We will offer a quick and healthy alternative to the normal campus culinary scene.”

Sealls, whose degree is in Finance, got into the restaurant business after working as a budget analyst at the University of Albany (New York) while Whitney went to medical school at Albany Medical College. She is now in scientific communications for Eli Lilly and Co. They moved back to Indianapolis in 2008.

Sealls has owned and operated the downtown Indianapolis Pita Pit store since 2009 and was the franchisee of the year in 2013. He also owns another restaurant, Punch Burger, which opened in Indianapolis in 2012 and expanded to Carmel in 2015.

Butler’s new facility, which opened for parking in August, has 17,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor of the five-story structure, as well as 1,033 parking spaces. In August, the University announced that Scotty’s Dawghouse would be the anchor tenant in the garage, taking 6,400 square feet in the northeast corner of Sunset Avenue and Lake Road. Scotty’s is scheduled to open in February.

Donna Hovey, Vice President, and Gordon Hendry, First Vice President, of CBRE’s Indianapolis office represent Butler University as the leasing agent. The new mixed-use retail and parking garage offers suite sizes ranging from 1,200 to 8,400 square feet, many with patio and outdoor dining options. For more information, visit

Pita Pit started in Canada in 1995 and moved into the United States in 1999. Its U.S. headquarters are in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.

"We're excited to bring Pita Pit to campus,” Butler Director of External Relations Michael Kaltenmark said. “They are a perfect fit for Butler's new parking facility, both literally and figuratively. With the ability to occupy an ideal footprint of prominent storefront space along Sunset Avenue, Pita Pit provides the convenience, quality, and variety that Butler's students, faculty, staff, and neighbors have requested."


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Chenoweth Was Here, And Butler Singers Were With Her


PUBLISHED ON Nov 25 2015

When Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth needed choral singers for her November 24 performance with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, she did what a number of superstars have done lately—she turned to Butler University.

The result: 10 Butler students sang with Chenoweth on two songs, “Upon This Rock” and “I Was Here,” at the Hilbert Circle Theatre.

Students with Kristin Chenoweth“It’s nice that our students are getting these opportunities,” Butler Director of Choral Activities Eric Stark said. “And in the pop world, there definitely seems to be an increasing awareness of what having a choir onstage brings to a live performance. I think it’s great. More of that would be fine with us.”

Over the past couple of years, Butler students have performed with Madonna (at the 2012 Super Bowl), the Rolling Stones (July 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway), and Stevie Wonder (November 7 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse).

Stark said the appearance with Chenoweth capped a whirlwind five days that went like this:

-November 19: Chenoweth’s musical director contacted the University to see if students would be available. Stark emailed students and found the right mix of voices.

-November 21-22 – Students received PDFs of the music and videos of Chenoweth from YouTube so they could learn the songs.

-November 23: Second-year graduate student Ali Darley met with the singers to rehearse.

-November 24: Students rehearsed at Stark’s house in the morning, then with Chenoweth and the orchestra in the afternoon. They performed that night.

Their two songs came at the end of the performance. In between, Chenoweth interviewed each student, getting their name, year, and major.

“She’s a real star and draws all the attention in the room to her—in a good way,” Stark said. “She was so generous to the students.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


The Stage Manager, Emily, George ... and the Provost?


PUBLISHED ON Nov 05 2015

When she makes her theatrical debut on Wednesday, November 11, Butler University Provost Kate Morris hopes to portray a professor with the same competence she has demonstrated in 20 years as an actual professor.

“I’m having some first-time stage jitters,” acknowledged Morris, who will be the first of several Butler guest stars to have a cameo in Butler Theatre’s production of the classic American play Our Town, November 11-15 in the Schrott Center for the Arts. “I don’t know how well I’ll do, but I’m sure the rest of the cast will be great.”
Butler Theatre rehearses "Our Town," November 11-15 at the Schrott Center for the Arts.

Morris will be playing the part commonly known as “Professor Willard,” a character who interrupts the play to make announcements. She’ll be followed by:

-Vice President for Student Affairs Levester Johnson, with an after-party featuring live mascot Trip (Thursday, November 12, at 7:00 PM).

-Performing and Fine Arts Librarian Sheri Stormes (Friday, November 13, at 7:30 PM).

-Jordan College of the Arts Dean Ronald Caltabiano (Saturday, November 14, at 7:30 PM)

-Jon Van Ness ’71, whose final Butler Theatre production as an undergraduate was Our Town (Sunday, November 15, at 2:00 PM).

Butler Theatre Professor William Fisher will handle the role at the student matinees on November 12 and 13 at 9:30 AM.

Tickets are $8 students with ID, $13 seniors, and $19 adults for the public performances. They are available during regular business hours at the Clowes Hall Box Office, and anytime online at

Fisher said there were two distinct ideas behind using guest actors. One was that “we wanted this production to feel grounded in Butler and be here—and not to pretend we’re in New Hampshire.” So there will be no period or stylized costumes, and no New England accents. But the location—Grover’s Corners—and historical references remain intact.

The other influence was a British comedy called The Play What I Wrote, which featured a revolving cast of celebrities playing themselves in an otherwise fictional setting.

“I thought it was interesting having recognizable, real people playing themselves,” Fisher said. “It’ll be fun.”

The rest of the show will be instantly familiar to those who have seen Our Town, a play that Fisher said has taken on even more relevance with its message about the importance of being present in the moment.

“Most of our experiences with this play are through high school productions that either we were in ourselves or saw,” he said. “And this is a giant step in looking at this play as a serious piece. There’s real humor and darkness in this play, and I think it’s a very important American play.”

The cast-with role (and hometown):

Olivia Anton-Sam Craig and Wedding Guest (River Grove, Illinois)

Jeffrey  Bird-Joe Stoddard and Wedding Guest (Muncie, Indiana)

Alexander Borrello-Stage Manager (Novi, Michigan)

Adam Bridges-Joe Crowell and Si Crowell (Nashville, Tennessee)

Sean Caron-Simon Stimson (Chicago, Illinois)

Brendan Daly-Constable Warren (Elmhurt, Illinois)

Corbin Fritz-Mr. Webb (Noblesville, Indiana)

Taylor Galloway-Dr. Gibbs (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Nick Gehrich-Howie Newsome (Greensburg, Indiana)

Sonia Goldberg-Mrs. Gibbs (Chicago, Illinois)

Nathan Haston-George Gibbs (Noblesville, Indiana)

Julia Hren-Ensemble (Lake Villa, Illinois)

Peter Jones-Wally Webb (Lakewood, Ohio)

Gianna Kujawski-Ensemble (Crown Point, Indiana)

Ariel Laukins-Stage Manager (West Lafayette, Indiana)

Casey Lowenthal-Mrs. Soames (Westville, Indiana)

Charell Luckey-Rebecca Gibbs (South Bend, Indiana)

Emma Shafer-Mrs. Webb (Des Moines, Iowa)

Elliot Waples-Ensemble (Indianapolis)

Lexy Weixel-Emily Webb (Columbus, Ohio)

Lindsay Vallance-Ensemble (Champaign, Illinois)


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Hinkle Fieldhouse Renovation Takes Top Honors at Indy Chamber Awards


PUBLISHED ON Oct 30 2015

Butler University's renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse received the highest honor of the Monumental Award Wednesday, October 28, at the Indy Chamber's annual Monumental Awards gala.

Butler University Announces $16 Million Public Goal for Hinkle CampaignThe premier awards ceremony, organized with assistance from the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), honored the most significant achievements by individuals and businesses that contribute to excellence in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, construction, real estate development, neighborhood revitalization, engineering, innovative reuse and public art throughout the Indianapolis region.

“The incredible renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse takes a facility that's been one of the best in college athletics for the last eight decades and brings it into the 21st century in a way that maintains its historical character,” Michael Huber, president and CEO of the Indy Chamber, explained. “This project and others submitted for the Monumental Awards showcase the vision and talents of Indy's design, engineering, and construction industries as the cornerstone of our region's built environment.”

The Monumental Award was accepted by representatives of Turner Construction Company.

The winner of the Monumental Award was selected by an impartial jury of community and professional leaders from the Indianapolis region. All awards were deliberated by sanctioning organizations selected from the specific area of discipline for each category.


Meet the New Director of the Center for Faith and Vocation


PUBLISHED ON Sep 21 2015

Daniel Meyers, the new Director of Butler’s Center for Faith and Vocation, faced some tough moments while studying biochemistry at Willamette University.

“Chemistry was always a challenge for me and required tremendous energy; there came a point where I was ready to give up my biochemistry major,” he said. “But I had good advice from my own chaplain at the university, who I talked with about this. He said: ‘Small seasons are small. This moment of frustration and challenge was not your whole time in the sciences and probably won’t continue to be.’ And that was true.”

Daniel MeyersThe influence of that chaplain was so significant that Meyers continued his biochemistry major and took on a second major, Religious Studies. In both fields, he found himself asking big questions about how the world works. Or, as he puts it, “two different approaches to similar questions.”

Religion eventually won out in his career plan. And now at Butler, he plans to help coordinate, support, and strengthen religious life on campus while helping people identify their own passions and how those interests connect to their work at the University and beyond.

“What I’m hopefully going to get to do,” he said, “is be involved in both of those distinct but very much wedded-together projects.”

Meyers came to Butler on June 1 from Columbia University, where, for the past two years, he was the inaugural Earl Hall Religious Life Fellow in the Office of the University Chaplain. The Portland, Oregon, native, and his wife, Janna, initially moved to New York after graduation from Willamette. While she studied at Union Theological Seminary, he taught high school chemistry and environmental science in Newark, New Jersey, through Teach for America.

“What I really learned from that whole experience is that teaching is very, very difficult, and you have to be able to connect with the community,” he said. “You have to be present in many ways beyond the classroom.”

In Newark, Meyers also realized that he wanted to focus on chaplaincy rather than leading a parish because he preferred one-on-one, small group dynamics to leading a large community. After three years of teaching, he and Janna moved to Connecticut. He attended Yale Divinity School, earning a Master of Divinity and becoming ordained in the United Church of Christ.

That led to his fellowship at Columbia, where one of his achievements was creating Exhale, a space for student reflection, awareness, and discernment. As that position wound down, he wanted to find a higher education, multi-faith chaplaincy.

Meyers sees his first year at Butler as “largely a listening year.” He’ll hear from students, faculty, staff, and community advisers about where the Center for Faith and Vocation should go as it heads into its second decade. He also will advise “those open to questions and open to seeking.”

“So whether you find yourself in a religious set of commitments or communities, or you’re outside of any particular label but you have questions about meaning and purpose and divinity, those are the kinds of folks I’m excited to be engaging with at Butler,” he said.

He’ll also have a big year personally—Janna is expecting their first child in October.

“New house, new city, new job, new child,” Meyers said. “It’s just all kinds of new. I’m excited about all of it.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Art, Science, and Nature Merge in Holcomb Gardens


PUBLISHED ON Sep 15 2015

StreamLines, an interactive project that merges art and science to advance the Indianapolis community’s understanding and appreciation of its waterways, will be unveiled Thursday, September 24, at 5:00 PM in Butler University’s Holcomb Gardens.
A visitor to Holcomb Gardens took a sneak peak at StreamLines. (Photo by Mary Miss)

The event, which is open to the public but requires an RSVP, will include environmental visual art by Mary Miss/City as Living Laboratory, musical works by local musical artist Stuart Hyatt a dance performance by Butler University Dance Department choreographed by Professor of Dance Cynthia Pratt. The dance will showcase musical pieces written and recorded for StreamLines. There also will be a poetry reading created for StreamLines and brief remarks from project partners Mary Miss, Dr. John Fraser of and Mark Kesling of The daVinci Pursuit.

StreamLines is the result of a $2.9 million National Science Foundation grant the Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University received to create sites along six Indianapolis waterways where arts and science will be used to educate the public about Indianapolis’s water system.

The project features a collection of dance performances, musical recordings, poetry and visual art tailored for sites along the six Indianapolis waterways of focus to the Reconnecting to Our Waterways collective impact initiative—White River, Fall Creek, Central Canal, Little Eagle Creek, Pleasant Run, and Pogue’s Run. That art created for each site invites the community to learn, explore, and experience the science of local water systems through visual art, poetry, dance, and music.

The project also incorporates an interactive website (, smart phone app and related programming to increase access, enhance interpretation and provide expanded opportunities for learning.

“I’m really happy with the way things turned out,” said Mary Miss, the New York-based artist who designed the installations. “You work on it for so long, and it’s really interesting to see how things come together. As an artist, I feel like there are so many pressing issues about climate change and about water that have to be addressed, and people are not paying attention. How do you get them to be able to relate to these issues instead of being scared by them?”

In the Holcomb Gardens installation, visitors will see a series of red lines, mirrors, backwards words, and a pedestal where they can stand so they can be in the center. All are designed to “provoke curiosity,” Miss said.

“The words give you a sense of what the project is all about,” she said. “They’re written backwards on the ground, so it might get you curious to look up into that mirror.”

Elsewhere, there are poems written on the mirrors and facts about the Indianapolis water system (“Water is essential for transport. Nearly all cities are built along waterways that are used to transport goods from one place to another”). There are even jokes: What is a tree that looks different on both sides? Asymmetry.

Ryan Puckett, a spokesman for the project, said the objective is to inform Indianapolis about its waterways and to understand the impact water has on us, and to recognize the impact we have on water.

“We’re not trying to get somebody a Ph.D. in the science of water,” he said. “We’re trying to go for things like getting people to understand that we all live in a watershed. In Indianapolis, we live in the White River Watershed. When a drop of water hits the ground here, it eventually flows into the White River, which ends up in the Mississippi, which ends up in the Gulf of Mexico, which ends up in the ocean. So that connectivity to all those different waterways shows we can have some impact on the ocean.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


The First Tenant in the New Parking Garage: Scotty's


PUBLISHED ON Aug 18 2015

Scotty’s Dawghouse will be the anchor tenant in Butler University’s new Sunset Avenue Parking Garage, leasing 6,400 square feet in the northeast corner of Sunset Avenue and Lake Road. The new restaurant—its name is a twist on the more familiar Scotty’s Brewhouse—is scheduled to open in February 2016, with construction to begin in November.

“We’re thrilled to bring one of Indiana’s most successful and popular restaurant concepts to Butler,” said Michael Kaltenmark, Butler’s Director of External Relations. “We listened to our students, employees, alumni, and Midtown neighbors and believe Scotty’s will be a great fit for the Butler community.”

Scotty's DawghouseScotty’s will serve lunch and dinner and seat 250-300 between its dining room and large outdoor patio. As with all Scotty’s locations, it is “all ages welcome” and family friendly. The new restaurant will be open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (midnight on Fridays and Saturdays). University officials expect that Scotty’s will be open late following major arts and athletics events.

“When I heard that we were even in the discussion as a possibility for this location, I could barely contain my excitement to be the first restaurant/bar on Butler’s campus,” said Scott Wise, President and CEO of a Pots & Pans Production, the management company for Scotty’s Brewhouse, Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co., C3 Bar, and Scotty’s Brew Club. “And the location … I don’t know if it could be any better squeezed between Clowes Hall and Hinkle Fieldhouse! I’d say this is the best way to kick off our 20th year in business.”

Scotty’s Dawghouse will employ between 75-100 part time and full time positions. It will begin taking applications online in January 2016.
Butler’s new facility, scheduled to open for parking in August, has 17,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor of the five-story structure, as well as 1,033 parking spaces. Kaltenmark said Butler is still actively working with other potential tenants.

Scotty’s and the parking facility represent an important step in Butler’s ambitious plans for campus development. Last year, the University completed the renovation of Butler’s iconic Hinkle Fieldhouse. Just a block down Sunset Avenue’s newly enhanced streetscape, Butler and American Campus Communities are building a state-of-the-art housing facility, which is scheduled to welcome its first student residents in Fall 2016.

Future development plans include additional phases of student housing development and renovation, and new academic space to house Butler’s science programs and College of Business.

Donna Hovey, Vice President, and Gordon Hendry, First Vice President, from CBRE’s Indianapolis office represented Butler University as the leasing agent. The new mixed-use retail and parking garage being developed by Butler University offers suite sizes ranging from 1,200 to 8,400 square feet, many with patio and outdoor dining options. For more information, please visit

Media contact:
Marc Allan


Butler Chorale to Sing With the Rolling Stones


PUBLISHED ON Jun 30 2015

The Butler Chorale has landed another spectacularly high-profile gig: July 4 with the Rolling Stones at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of the band’s ZIP CODE tour.
The Butler Chorale will join Mick, Keith, and the rest of the Rolling Stones onstage Saturday, July 4, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo by Kevin Mazur)

The 26-member choral group, which performed with Madonna as part of the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show, will be providing backup vocals during one song of the Stones’ set. The chorale will be rehearsing this week to prepare for the show.

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” said Eric Stark, Butler’s Director of Choral Activities. “When I announced this, it was just like the Super Bowl. People were just jumping out of their chairs about it.”

The chorale will be broken into two groups onstage during the performance. Greg Sanders ’99 MM ’11, conductor of the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus and vocal coach for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Yuletide concerts, will conduct one half, and Professor of Music Doug Spaniol will be the shadow conductor for the other half. (Stark had a previous commitment and will be traveling that night.)

Stark said the invitation to perform with “The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” came shortly before the spring semester ended. “Initially, I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to help because it’s summertime,” Stark said. “But once the students found out it was the Rolling Stones that became very interesting to them. We didn’t have too much trouble.”

Media contact:
Marc Allan


Holocaust Survivor Eva Kor To Class of 2015: Never Give Up


PUBLISHED ON May 09 2015

Holocaust survivor Eva Kor advised Butler University’s Class of 2015 on Saturday, May 9, that they should never give up on themselves or their dreams.

Eva Kor in Hinkle FieldhouseKor, who spent from May 1944 to January 27, 1945, in the Auschwitz concentration camp, told the 914 graduates and near-capacity crowd at Hinkle Fieldhouse that she was able to endure horrific medical experiments at the hands of Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele because she promised herself “to do anything and everything in my power” to make sure she and her sister, Miriam, survived. (To see the commencement ceremony, go to

In her mind, she said, she pictured how they would look when they finally walked out of the camp.

They dealt with rats, lice, and starvation—both of food and human kindness. She recalled one experiment where Mengele injected her multiple times and she ended up in a hospital. When he saw her there later, he said, “Too bad she’s so young. She only has two weeks to live.”

“But I refused to die,” said Kor, who runs CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors) Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Kor said that in the years since, she learned to forgive the Nazis as well as “everyone who every hurt me.” She told the story of writing a letter of forgiveness to a Nazi doctor 50 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, which she called “an act of self-healing and self-liberation.”

“Fifty years of pain was lifted from my shoulders,” she said.

Kor also urged the parents of the graduates to “give their children an extra hug and kiss for all the children who have no parents to hug and kiss.” With that, her son Alex, a 1983 Butler graduate, walked over and hugged her.

Kor and longtime Butler benefactor Jean T. Wildman each received honorary doctorates. Wildman, in brief remarks, said that “never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be standing here.” She said she was delighted to have watched Butler grow from a couple of buildings into what it is today.

The newest Butler graduates include 222 from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 220 from the College of Business, 203 from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, 96 from the College of Communication, 85 from the College of Education, and 88 from the Jordan College of the Arts.

Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, who was murdered by ISIS on November 16, 2014, was awarded a degree posthumously. His parents, Ed and Paula, accepted the diploma on his behalf and received a standing ovation.

The faculty speaker, College of Business Associate Professor of Management Craig Caldwell, told the graduates that money and possessions are not the key to happiness, and he urged them to have empathy and take care of their community.

Class of 2016 President William Grabb described his fellow graduates as “motivated, passionate, and hard-working” students who earned this day.

“You are about to be handed your diploma,” he said. “But you know it was not just handed to you.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan