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Butler Becomes Indiana's First Fair Trade Campus


PUBLISHED ON Apr 14 2016

Butler University today became the first Fair Trade Designated campus in Indiana, agreeing to use and sell products such as coffee, chocolate, and clothing that were grown, harvested, crafted, and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment.

Fair trade items such as Barkthins dark chocolate and Alta Gracia apparel are available in the Butler Bookstore, Starbucks, C-Club and C-Store. Each of these retail locations will sell at least two food items that are Fair Trade-designated. Additionally, Fair Trade items such as sugar and coffee are being used in both campus dining halls.

fair trade logo“This is an exciting opportunity for Butler University because Butler is the first certified Fair Trade Designated university in Indiana,” said Kylie Nealis, the national organizer for Fair Trade Colleges and Universities.

The process to become Fair Trade certified has occurred over the past year, led by the Student Government Association in partnership with University Dining Services, Butler Sustainability, the Butler Bookstore, and the Office of the President. This certification aligns with the Butler University Sustainability and Climate Action Plan.

“This is especially exciting because after this major milestone Butler will be able to continue adding more Fair Trade items to its menus," said Matt Proctor, Marketing Manager for Butler Dining Services.

Fair trade is a social movement whose goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading standards and working conditions globally. This is done to promote higher environmental and social standards. The program Butler is involved in is called A University Fair Trade Campaign.

The Fair Trade certification model is designed and audited to ensure equitable trade practices at every level of the supply chain. To earn a license from Fair Trade USA to use the Fair Trade Certified™ label on their products, companies must buy from certified farms and organizations, pay Fair Trade prices and premiums and submit to a rigorous supply chain audits. This process entails a high level of transparency and traceability in their global supply chains.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


URC Let Students Show Their Work


PUBLISHED ON Apr 08 2016

More than 900 individuals representing 58 colleges and universities in 11 states participated in Butler University's 28th annual Undergraduate Research Conference on April 8. The students presented in 26 subject areas, from music and English to biology and chemistry.

Indiana University-Bloomington student Reyan Coskun presents her poster on "Toward Efficient Chemoenzymatic Syntheses of Sialyl-a-2,3-Lactose/Lactosamine Assisted by a Fluorous-Tag Purification."
Indiana University-Bloomington student Reyan Coskun presents her poster on "Toward Efficient Chemoenzymatic Syntheses of Sialyl-a-2,3-Lactose/Lactosamine Assisted by a Fluorous-Tag Purification.


Emily Wilkerson, a sophomore Elementary Education major from Columbus, Indiana, Moriah Riggs, a sophomore Marketing/Communications major from Hernando, Mississippi, and Allissa Quick, a sophomore Pharmacy major from Terre Haute, Indiana, were among the volunteers helping out at the URC.
Emily Wilkerson, a sophomore Elementary Education major from Columbus, Indiana, Moriah Riggs, a sophomore Marketing/Communications major from Hernando, Mississippi, and Allissa Quick, a sophomore Pharmacy major from Terre Haute, Indiana, were among the volunteers helping out at the URC.



Butler student Jesse Allen presents "A Blaschke-Factor Bifurcation Locus"
Butler student Jesse Allen presents "A Blaschke-Factor Bifurcation Locus


Butler's Brittany Garrett was among the artists who artwork was on display.
Butler's Brittany Garrett was among the artists who artwork was on display.



51 Years and Counting: Mulholland Still Makes Sweet Music


PUBLISHED ON Apr 07 2016

You might think that having just turned 81, Professor of Music James Mulholland would be in the winter of his career. If so, it’s a mighty busy winter.

During March and early April, Mulholland:

James Mulholland, rehearsing choirs in Carnegie Hall.

-Served a week in residency at University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, which culminated with a concert of Mulholland compositions by the various ensembles of the School of Music. While there, he coached the all-male choral ensemble The Singing Statesmen on his latest commission for them, in honor of the group’s 50th anniversary.

-Visited the University of Illinois for the 2016 Intercollegiate Men’s Choral National Seminar. Ten choirs came from all over the country, and Mulholland’s music was featured.

-Attended the Gotham SINGS! Collegiate Choral Showcase at Carnegie Hall, where choirs from four universities performed selections by composers such as Mozart, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, and, yes, Mulholland. He rehearsed the university choirs prior to their performance.

-Hosted students from Iola/Scandinavian High School of Wisconsin, who made a two-day trip to Indianapolis to attend a choral clinic with Mulholland and tour the Butler campus.

-Finished a composition for the combined Indianapolis Children’s Choir and full orchestra to perform at the retirement extravaganza for Choir Founder and longtime Butler Professor Henry Leck.

While doing all this, he only missed one class.

“I’m booked through 2018,” said Mulholland, who is finishing his 51st year of teaching at Butler. “As far as my career artistically and academically, I’m still in demand. And I’m not cheap.”

Mulholland travels frequently to work with choral groups around the country, and he is among the world’s most-performed composers. In his doctoral dissertation examining music selected by high school honor choirs, James Spillane, now Director of Choral Studies at the University of Connecticut, found that the five most-programmed composers are, in order, Handel, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Mulholland, and Mozart.

In 2015, the Southern Chorale at the University of Southern Mississippi, Mulholland’s undergraduate alma mater, released a CD of his compositions called Back Home in Southern Mississippi: The Music of James Quitman Mulholland. The discs features 11 selections in which Mulholland married his music to texts by William Butler Yeats, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lord Byron, and others.

Reviewing the CD in The Choral Scholar, the online journal of the National Collegiate Choral Organization, C. Michael Porter, Director of Choral Organizations at Boise State University, wrote: “James Quitman Mulholland’s compositions have garnered a respected position within today’s choral canon. Because of their rich sonorities and expansive melodic lines, Mulholland’s compositions appeal to musicians and audiences of all levels…. Through their moving and impeccable performance, the Southern Chorale demonstrates why Mulholland’s works are synonymous with choral excellence.”mul2

Gregory Fuller, the Director of Choral Activities at Southern Mississippi, said he’s known of Mulholland’s work since he was a high school student in the late 1970s. What makes Mulholland’s music distinctive, Fuller said, is its “lush, romantic sound—lush harmonies and beautiful melody.”

“There are a couple of things that make him a standard-bearer,” he said. “Number one, he’s been at it a long time. He’s written a lot of music that is not only beautiful, but it’s accessible for a lot of different types of groups—school groups, community groups, professional groups, collegiate groups. And one of the reasons I think his music is profound is that you will struggle to find any piece by James Mulholland that does not include substantive text. He chooses great poetry, and he does not waste his time on things that are not profound or have not stood the test of time.”

Mulholland said he’s written the lion’s share of his more than 600 compositions on the piano in his second-floor office in Lilly Hall. He remains enormously proud of his service at Butler, including his 41 years on the Athletic Committee, and notes that next year, one of his students will be the third generation of his family to take one of his classes.

“I’m going to make music until I die,” he said. “And the only thing I enjoy more than making music is sharing it. Where better than you share your knowledge and love of music, the passion of it, than at a university? It’s also nice to have a captive audience. It gives me a fuel for my creativity.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan



Butler Joins Lincoln Park Zoo in Wildlife Study


PUBLISHED ON Feb 25 2016

Butler University’s Center for Urban Ecology will place 48 motion-sensitive cameras at locations in Indianapolis, Westfield, Zionsville, and Carmel for four weeks every quarter beginning in April to study urban wildlife.

The Indy Wildlife Watch project is being done in conjunction with the Lincoln Park Zoo Urban Wildlife Institute in Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to see how central Indiana wildlife compares with theirs. Researchers also will be looking to see how the habitat compares in different neighborhoods.

12687783_601770739970468_6472042605984240961_nFor the past five years, the Urban Wildlife Institute has been undertaking a groundbreaking study of Chicago’s urban ecosystem, using camera traps and acoustic monitors to track the behavior of bats, birds, coyotes and even humans. The pictures can be seen at

“The Urban Wildlife Information Network and these new camera-trap sites will provide a wealth of knowledge about not only wildlife but the ecosystem as a whole,” Lincoln Park Zoo Urban Wildlife Institute Director Seth Magle said. “We’re grateful to the University of Wisconsin and Butler University for this vital support, which will help everyone better understand wildlife and, subsequently, mitigate conflict between humans and animals.”

The cameras are held in metal boxes to shield them from the elements and camouflaged so they’re not an eyesore on the landscape. They are strapped around the trunk of a tree and secure with a cable and a lock. The cameras are pointed at another tree 10-20 feet away where a scented lure is attached. When animals stop to investigate the lure, they trip the motion sensor in the camera.

The cameras are capable of taking a picture every 30 seconds. The pictures are stored on memory cards that will be collected and replaced every two weeks.

In January, Butler’s Center for Urban Ecology tested about 18 cameras. Biology Professor Travis Ryan said the best pictures so far have come from the area around the Monon Center in Carmel, where deer, foxes, coyotes, squirrels, and rabbits triggered the camera.

A sampling of those pictures is now available on Twitter (@indywildwatch) and Facebook (Indy Wildlife Watch). Beginning in 2017, all the pictures from central Indiana sites will be posted on a website for the public to view and help identify the contents of the photos.

Butler students will be actively involved in managing the images and the cameras, and some area elementary and high schools also may participate, Ryan said. Butler students will be introduced to the project as part of an Introduction to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology class.

“We envision students playing an important role in the field and when we get back with the data,” Ryan said.

Zoo officials approached Butler Biology Professor Carmen Salsbury about participating.

“The reason we reached out to Carmen and Travis and others is because to us, the next step is to say how many of the patterns that we see are specific to individual cities and how many are universal,” Magle said. “If we can identify universal patterns in urban wildlife, then that’s incredibly powerful for policy, for planning, for green infrastructure, for all sorts of things.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Dean Shelley Honored for Contributions to Teacher Education


PUBLISHED ON Feb 22 2016

Ena Shelley, Dean of Butler University’s College of Education (COE) since 2005 and a professor in the College since 1982, has been selected to receive the Edward C. Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE).

ena closeThe award will be presented to the Dean on February 23 in Las Vegas.

The Pomeroy Award is given to a person or persons who have made exceptional contributions to AACTE, to a national or state organization involved in teacher education, or to persons responsible for the development of exemplary teacher education initiatives.

Shelley provided the leadership to create the first Butler University memo of understanding between the University and the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to establish Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy (now Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School). In addition, she led creation of the IPS/Butler University Laboratory School, focused on early childhood and elementary education.

She also was instrumental in bringing Reggio-inspired educational practices to Indiana through the Indianapolis Reggio Collaborative. She was able to bring an international exhibit from Reggio Emilia, Italy, to the Indiana Statehouse for a six-month stay that provided many professional development experiences for hundreds of educators from around and beyond the state.

“Each success in the College of Education is not from a solo experience in my role as a Dean, but rather it is a beautiful symphony created by colleagues in the College and in the schools,” Shelley said. “There is a saying that ‘a leader is only as good as the team that surrounds them,’ and I have found that to be very true. I truly have the dream team in my College.”

Shelley’s approach to education is well known around the COE and Butler: “The College of Education believes we must prepare our students for schools as they should be, not simply perpetuating schools as they currently exist. We must be willing to explore with our students the difficult issues of inequities that exist in our schools and society and to help them to become agents of change.”

Shelley’s COE colleagues said her efforts on behalf of the College, its faculty, staff, and students have been outstanding.

“She has always been charismatic, clear in her vision and integrity, but at her core profoundly decent and kind,” said Professor of Education Arthur Hochman. “This is the reason that she makes so many connections, achieves what might appear impossible, and the reason that so many want to walk in her wake.”

“If you are looking for a positive educator and advocate who challenges the status quo and works tirelessly at lifting up the greatest profession in the world, then look no further,” Associate Dean Debra Lecklider wrote on Shelley’s behalf.

Shelley earned her Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy from Indiana State University.

“Each day I see the future of education in the talented young people who have chosen it as their vocation,” she said. “These young people could do anything, and they want to teach. I see great teachers doing extremely difficult work as I spend time in the schools. It will be up to our society to invest in educators by valuing the teaching profession and remembering that our democracy was founded on providing a free public education to all citizens.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Butler University Celebrates Founder's Week February 7-13


PUBLISHED ON Jan 25 2016


“Privilege and Opportunity” will be the theme of Butler University’s Founder’s Week 2016, which will be celebrated across campus from February 7-13.

One hundred and sixty-one years ago, Butler University was founded on the principles of diversity, equality, innovation, and access. Those characteristics are still vital today as the University seeks to recapture and reclaim the values of Ovid Butler.

The University will celebrate with these public activities:

Sunday, February 7

  • 2:00 PM, Women's Basketball, Butler vs. Providence. A limited number of Founder's Week T-shirts will be distributed.

Monday, February 8

  • 2:00 PM, kickoff event, Irwin Library. A class photo including Gertrude Mahorney (Butler’s first African-American graduate, in 1887) will be unveiled. Also on display will be an art exhibit featuring the work of students from Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School.

Butler University Founder's Week 2016

Wednesday, February 10

  • Noon, Johnson Room (Robertson Hall), panel discussion, "Campus Speech: Free or Filtered? Privilege or Opportunity?" Part of the First Wednesdays series presented by ACLU of Indiana.

The impassioned anti-war activism of 1968 showed the power of campus speech on policies, actions and how we talk and think about the underlying issues. Recent protests for movements like LGBT rights and #BlackLivesMatter demonstrate that campus speech is alive and well. Or is it? Has the movement on campuses toward speech-free "safe spaces" and trigger warnings for potentially offensive content jeopardized the free and open exchange of ideas? Are we still allowed to express our opinions and question what is deemed politically correct, or is it better to remain silent? Is it a privilege just to have the right to speak up? What opportunities lie before us?

Friday, Feb. 12

  • 2:00-4:30 PM, screening of documentary film "Tested" by Curtis Chin, in Pharmacy Building 156.

In New York City, where blacks and Hispanics make up 70% of school-aged youth, they represent less than 5% at the city's most elite public high schools. "Tested" follows a dozen racially and socio-economically diverse 8th-graders as they fight for a seat at one of these schools. Their only way in: to ace a single standardized test. "Tested" explores such issues as access to a high-quality public education, affirmative action, and the model-minority myth. The screening will be followed by discussion by filmmaker Curtis Chin.

Saturday, Feb. 13

  • 2:30 PM, Men's Basketball, Butler vs. Xavier. A limited number of Founder's Week T-shirts will be distributed.


Media contact:
Marc Allan



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