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Twenty Years After First PA Class Graduates, the Program's Co-Founder Retires

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 30 2017

During the summer in between her junior and senior years at Indiana University, Laurie Pylitt, discovered her future career in the most unlikely place—Seventeen magazine.

Laurie PylittIt was the 1970s, at the height of many women’s rights movements. Pylitt, who was working in a physical therapy department, remembers finding the article, “15 Health Careers for Women,” and thinking how chauvinistic it sounded for the time. After reading it though, she learned about the Physician Assistant (PA) career field for the first time and thought that might be the right choice for her.

In 1976, Pylitt graduated from IU with a Physician Assistant certificate. She balanced full-time employment as a surgical PA in Chicago—a position she held for 15 years—while earning a Master of Health Professions Education from the University of Illinois.

In 1991, Pylitt moved back to her home state of Indiana when she married her husband, Bernard, whom most refer to as “Buddy,” and took a position at Methodist Hospital, now named Indiana University Health Methodist, as the Manager of Quality Assurance.

Her lifelong dream was to start a PA program, and when she was approached to do that at Butler, she said, “It was like a dream come true.”

“Butler and IU Health Methodist combined gave me the opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do since I was a student,” Pylitt added.

Pylitt, in collaboration with Professor Emeritus Bruce Clayton, co-authored the proposal that started the Butler PA Program, and she served as its founding Program Director from 1994–1998.

“When I came to Butler to start the PA program, there hadn’t been a PA program in Indiana for 20 years,” Pylitt said. One of her goals “was to reintroduce the PA profession to the state.”

It has been 20 years since the first class graduated from Butler, and more than 750 PAs have finished since then. Pylitt takes pride in the fact that several current PA faculty are graduates of the program she was instrumental in starting.

One such student is Assistant Professor Matt Stinson, who is a graduate of the first PA class. He remembers there being much uncertainty during the creation of the program because it wasn’t accredited. And with no accreditation, the nine students in the program would be unable to start their career.

“Laurie was a trailblazer in starting the new PA program, and she worked hard,” Stinson said. “She was able to get the program accredited, I graduated, became a PA for 20 years, and was able to come back here to teach. I’m very appreciative of all the hard work Laurie put into the program.”

*

After a brief hiatus from Butler to work with the Indiana University School of Medicine’s Family Medicine Residency, Pylitt returned to Butler in 2007. She has served in multiple teaching roles: as part of the team teaching clinical assessment for Pharmacy students; as the Course Director for Pharmacy Therapeutics and Case Studies; and as the Co-Course Director for Therapeutics for PAs.

In 2010, she became the COPHS Director of Assessment. The next year, she was instrumental in the re-accreditation process for the Pharmacy program.

Associate Dean for the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Bonnie Brown said Pylitt has been a key player in many areas of the college. Perhaps her largest impact has been with assessment.

“She was all about assessments,” Brown said. “She was always willing to talk to students about assessments, making sure they understood the importance of course instructor evaluations and how that feeds into a system of how we make improvements for the next year. If a student group sees that their comments have been useful to change something for the better for the future, it does make them more aware of how they can provide feedback for change.”

Pylitt described her impact this way: The word “assessment” is no longer a negative word among faculty, staff, and students. Brown agreed.

*

Moving forward, Pylitt is unsure what retirement will bring. She said that since her mid-20s her career has been her identity, and it will be a large adjustment come retirement.

Despite the change, she’s looking forward to traveling more, cooking, listening to audiobooks—which she recently discovered and really enjoys—and working in her 40-foot-by-40-foot garden.

“I’ll continue to learn,” she said. “I like learning new things, or new ways to do old things.”

Media contact:
Krisy Force
kforce@butler.edu
317-940-6842

Campus

Twenty Years After First PA Class Graduates, the Program's Co-Founder Retires

During the summer in between her junior and senior years at Indiana University, Laurie Pylitt, discovered her future career in the most unlikely place—Seventeen magazine.

Jun 30 2017 Read more
Campus

Butler Summer Intensive Students to Perform at the Schrott

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 24 2017

Forty-nine dancers from around the country have come to Butler University to participate in the second annual Summer Intensive, a three-week program designed to immerse 13- to 18-year-olds in the culture of dance.

On July 29 at 11:00 AM in Butler’s Schrott Center for the Arts, the public will be able to see what these dancers can do when they perform the ballet Don Quixote as well as jazz and modern works choreographed by the faculty members working on the Summer Intensive program.

DancersAdmission to the performance is free.

Butler Dance Professor Marek Cholewa, who oversees the summer program as Artistic Director, said the purpose of the intensive is to help students grow and develop as they prepare for the next stages in their dance education.

The dancers participate in classes from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday through Saturday. There is a strong focus on ballet, which is reflected in the ballet, pointe, partnering, and repertory classes. The students also take daily jazz, modern, and character classes, and all ballet, pointe, modern, character, and partnering classes include live accompanists.

There is even a physical therapist on site twice a week for the dancers to visit if needed.

This year, there are 49 female dancers, ages 12-17, participating in the intensive. Of those, 41 are out of state—coming from as far as California, Florida, and Connecticut. There are 43 who stay in Butler’s Residential College dorm and six who commute to campus every day.

“Students live here to immerse themselves in the culture,” Cholewa said. “We can talk about how we do things, but the best way for them to learn is when we work together.”

Four current Butler male dance majors, Nick Bentz, Francis Mihm, Graeham Toomey, and Nathaniel Tyson, also participate in the program so that the women have the opportunity to take partnering classes.

The faculty includes Butler Dance faculty members Cholewa, Derek Reid, and Susan McGuire, as well as adjunct professors Rosanna Ruffo, Monica Munoz, and Nick Owens.

The summer intensive is organized by the Butler Community Arts School and staff: Karen Thickstun, Director; Courtney Shelburne, Administrative Assistant; and Meredith Hunter-Mason, intern and current Dance major.

 

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

Campus

Butler Summer Intensive Students to Perform at the Schrott

Forty-nine dancers from around the country have come to Butler University to participate in the second annual Summer Intensive, a three-week program designed to immerse 13- to 18-year-olds in the culture of dance.

Jun 24 2017 Read more
Campus

Butler, CTS Announce Campus-Sharing Partnership

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 12 2017

Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary on June 12 announced a campus-sharing partnership. President James M. Danko sent this email explaining the deal:Christian Theological Seminary

Since 2015-2016, Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) have been exploring ways to expand and enhance educational experiences at our schools through academic partnerships, operational services, and shared space. After much discussion and community input, we are pleased to inform you that the Board of Trustees for both schools have drafted a campus-sharing strategy and partnership under which Butler would purchase a significant portion of the CTS campus.

Under the potential agreement, Butler would purchase all but a parcel of land on the far west side of the CTS property. CTS would continue to reside on campus—in a portion of the main building, counseling center, and apartments—through a special long-term lease.

This agreement is a creative collaboration that benefits both schools. It supports the growth and momentum of Butler 2020, providing our University with new physical space, including the CTS apartments, for potential development as we seek to further enhance the Butler academic experience. Meanwhile, CTS finds itself with an abundance of space and believes strongly in the responsible stewardship of its resources, including land and buildings. This partnership helps advance the vision of both institutions while keeping them independent.

I am pleased to announce that Butler’s College of Education would move to CTS beginning with the 2018–2019 academic year, providing the COE community with a space that will better fit its learning objectives. Furthermore, as part of this potential agreement, we would identify and pursue other areas of collaboration and shared operational services, such as our bookstore and buildings and grounds maintenance.

Over the next three months, Butler and CTS leadership will continue to work together to finalize the remaining details, with plans for final approval of the arrangement by the Boards of Trustees of both schools in early September. In the meantime, as always, I welcome your questions and thoughts.

Sincerely,

James M. Danko,
President
Butler University

 

 

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

Campus

Butler, CTS Announce Campus-Sharing Partnership

Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary on June 12 announced a campus-sharing partnership.

Jun 12 2017 Read more
AthleticsCampus

President Danko's Message Regarding Coach Holtmann's Departure

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 09 2017

Dear Butler University Community Members,

Chris Holtmann, head coach of the Butler University men’s basketball team, informed Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier and me late Thursday that he had accepted a position at The Ohio State University. Chris has been a tremendous ambassador for Butler over the past several years. Our team has enjoyed great success on the court, in the classroom, and in the community.

James DankoPlease join me in thanking Chris for his leadership and wishing him, Lori, and Nora continued success as they begin this new endeavor.

While this news will disappoint many within our community, we have great days ahead of us—in academics, athletics, and beyond.

Our men’s basketball program has enjoyed success at the highest levels for several decades, and I am confident that it will continue to do so. Butler University is committed to supporting a program that will continue to be among the best in the BIG EAST and on a national level.

I have great confidence in Barry Collier to identify the next dynamic leader of our program. Butler will hire someone who embodies The Butler Way—someone who will spearhead success on the court, while also leading a program that makes our University proud.

Thank you for your continued support of Butler University. We look forward to introducing you to Butler’s next basketball coach soon.

Sincerely,

James M. Danko
President, Butler University

AthleticsCampus

President Danko's Message Regarding Coach Holtmann's Departure

"Our men’s basketball program has enjoyed success at the highest levels for several decades, and I am confident that it will continue to do so."

Jun 09 2017 Read more
Campus

Butler Wins Ball Venture Competition Award

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 27 2017

Butler University has received a $20,000 Ball Venture Fund Competition award to research software and hardware that can help make math courses accessible online for students with visual impairments.

Ball Venture FundThe $20,000 award will fund research, development, testing, and evaluation of the ability of various software applications to convert mathematical expressions (equations, graphs, charts and diagrams) into accessible, readable expressions for students with visual impairments enrolled in online courses.

The project will take place from fall 2017 to summer 2018. Once completed, Butler students and staff will convert existing course content with inaccessible mathematical expressions to accessible ones for students with disabilities and share their work with other colleges that offer online, math-focused courses.

“With almost 11 percent of undergraduates and about 8 percent of master’s and 7 percent of doctoral students identified with some type of disability, it is imperative Butler University systematically and systemically address accessibility for online learning in order to comply with ethical principles, best practices, and laws,” Erin C. Vincent, Director of Academic Program Development and Innovation, and Brad D. Berggoetz, ADA Technology Compliance Analyst, wrote in their proposal.

The Ball Venture Fund Competition, sponsored by the Ball Brothers Foundation of Muncie (IN), is in its 19th year, providing Independent Colleges of Indiana schools with seed funds for innovative start-up projects. This year, ICI received 30 submissions from 20 member institutions.

 

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

Campus

Butler Wins Ball Venture Competition Award

Butler University has received a $20,000 Ball Venture Fund Competition award to research software and hardware that can help make math courses accessible online for students with visual impairments.

May 27 2017 Read more
Campus

2016-2017: The Academic Year in Review

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 08 2017

The 2016–2017 academic year began with the largest class ever—1,272 students—coming to Butler. It concluded with 955 newly minted graduates, two large gifts to the University, and the groundbreaking for a new housing facility to replace Schwitzer Hall.

In between, the University was again named Most Innovative School in the Midwest as well as one of the healthiest in the country. Butler opened the new Fairview House housing facility, earned LEED Gold certification for the Hinkle Fieldhouse renovations, added a new fraternity, and much more.

We also lost several cherished members of the Butler community, including basketball star Joel Cornette ‘04, longtime Professor of Voice André Aerne, and Patricia Cochran, the great-great-granddaughter of Butler University founder Ovid Butler.

Here’s a look back:

AUGUST

-The University welcomed a record first-year class of 1,272 students on move-in day. The class included 46 Valedictorians and 11 Salutatorians, 2 National Merit Finalists, 21 Lilly Scholars, and 45 21st Century Scholars.

-A Gallup-Purdue Index study found that Butler alumni are thriving personally and professionally. 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.

-Investigating the Rubik’s cube, comparing contracts for restricted free agents in the NBA, and constructing Cantor polynomials were just some of the research projects Butler students undertook at Mathematics Research Camp, an eight-day intensive experience designed to introduce students to mathematical research.
Joel Cornette

-Joel Cornette, a key member of Butler's first Sweet 16 team, died. He was 35. A celebration of his life was held at Hinkle Fieldhouse on August 22. The University established the Joel Cornette Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarship support for future Butler Bulldogs. Contributions in honor may be made online.

-Butler was 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—studied 100 residents in the American Village retirement home throughout the 2016–2017 academic year.

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

-President James Danko was reappointed as the BIG EAST conference’s representative on the NCAA Division I Presidential Forum.

-Speaking as part of Academic Day, author Kelsey Timmerman told first-year students that they should do volunteer work, study abroad, and incorporate one thing a day into their lives that provides someone else with genuine opportunity.

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

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

-The old pool section of Hinkle Fieldhouse, which has been converted into a weight room, training center, and administration offices, 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.
Rob Kaharchik

-Associate Professor of Theatre Rob Koharchik and Butler Theatre alumnus Jeffery Martin ’93 each received one of the "surprise" $10,000 awards given by The Indianapolis Foundation to Indianapolis-based organizations and individuals. Koharchik and Martin were recognized under the category “Indy Professional Theatre MVPs,” creative professionals whose work in theater contributes to the vibrancy of the cultural community and the strength of our city.

-Fairview House, the new $43 million, 633-bed residence hall located along Sunset Avenue, officially opened. The residence hall features three- and four-bedroom pods with two students to a room. Each pair of students shares a bathroom, and each has his or her own sink and large closet.

 

SEPTEMBER

-Butler participated in a weeklong celebration of Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut with Butler Theatre’s staged reading of Vonnegut’s play Happy Birthday, Wanda June and Indy Opera’s world premiere of the opera version of that play, with music written by Butler Music Professor Richard Auldon Clark.

-The Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) was awarded a three-year, nearly $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the CUE Farm on campus as a hub for undergraduate education and research. The money supports Butler faculty in the development and implementation of four urban agriculture research modules in biology, chemistry, ecology, and environmental science courses and to study the impact of those modules on student learning.
Lindsay Lewellen

-Assistant Professor of Biology Lindsay Lewellyn was awarded a $410,656 National Institutes of Health grant to study egg development in fruit flies, which ultimately could lead to breakthroughs in the area of human infertility. The money is being used to pay for students to work in the lab over the summer, presenting findings at research conferences, hiring a full-time research technician during the academic year, and supplies.

-Kaveh Akbar MFA ’15 was one of five recipients of the 2016 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships, a $25,800 prize intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry. The fellowships are available to all U.S. poets 21 to 31 years old.
Kaveh Akbar

-Delorean J. Menifee was named Director of Admission.

-Butler University and the Center for Urban Ecology were inducted into the Green Lights Hall of Fame. The Green Light Awards—a series of climate solutions compiled by Sustainable Indiana 2016 as part of the Bicentennial—are distributed to organizations and individuals who are at the forefront of promoting sustainability across the state of Indiana.

-For the second consecutive year, Butler University was ranked as the Most Innovative School among Midwestern Regional Universities, according to the 2017 edition of U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges. Butler was also recognized in the categories of Best Undergraduate Teaching and the Best Colleges for Veterans, and appeared on the national shortlist of excellence for First-Year Experience, Internships, Undergraduate Research, and Study Abroad.

-Butler was named one of the 26 healthiest colleges in the country by Greatist.com, a website devoted to healthy living.

-CommonLit Inc., a company run by Michelle (Skinner) Brown ’09, received a federal Department of Education grant to help fund and expand the organization. CommonLit Inc., a completely free, online compilation of literary and teaching resources that was created to try to close the “secondary literacy gap,” will receive $3.9 million over two years.

OCTOBER

-At the annual Alumni Awards Recognition Program for extraordinary professional achievement and service, Butler honored nine alumni: Butler Medal, John Hargrove ’69; Butler Service Medal, George Geib; Robert Todd Duncan Alumni Achievement Award, Jen Christensen ’94; Katherine Merrill Graydon Alumni Service Award, Maribeth Zay Fischer ’74; Hilton Ultimus Brown Alumni Achievement Award, Shawn M. Gage ’04, PA-C; Joseph Irwin Sweeny Alumni Service Award, Amy N. Lenell ’07, PharmD, CLC; Ovid Butler Society Mortar Award, Chris ’79 and Sally (McFarland) ’81 Wirthwein; and Ovid Butler Society Foundation Award, Jennifer L. White ’00 and David White.
Katie Brooks

-Associate Professor of Education Katie Brooks was awarded a $2 million U.S. Department of Education grant to train 80 current or potential teachers to become licensed to teach English Language Learning students. The five-year grant is intended to help alleviate the chronic shortage of English as a New Language (ENL) teachers. The grant will pay for 20 college graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in a licensable area such as biology, math, social studies, world languages, or English to get both a teaching license and an ENL license.

-The Board of Trustees elected Attorney Robert T. Wildman and Life Sciences executive Lynne Zydowsky ’81 to special one-year terms on the Board. Both will be eligible for full three-year terms in June 2017. Wildman is a member of the Business Services Group, the Venture Capital and Private Equity Group, and the Real Estate Group of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP. Zydowsky, President of Zydowsky Consultants, is an experienced executive in the Life Sciences industry who has been involved in the launching and building of many successful companies.

-Longtime Professor of Voice André Aerne died on Sunday, October 16, in Petoskey, Michigan. He was 84. Aerne taught at Butler from 1966–1998 and also was often featured as a soloist in the Romantic Festival programs.

-Butler’s first Mock Mediation team did well at the Brenau Invitational Mediation Tournament in Gainesville, Georgia. Russ Hunter ’17 and Anthony Murdock ’17 both took home “Top Mediator.” Hunter also was awarded “Top Advocate/Client,” as was his teammate Nick Fox ’18.

-Forty-nine members of FFA (Future Farmers of America), who came from as far away as Massachusetts, Connecticut, Arizona, and Washington state to attend the annual FFA convention in Indianapolis, took a tour of the CUE Farm at Butler to see how the University is approaching sustainable, environmentally responsible urban farming.

-The Center for Urban Ecology Farm became the new home of the first fully automated mobile greenhouse, an 8-foot-wide by 32-foot-long structure designed and built by Ball State University architecture students to enable the CUE Farm to start plants earlier in the season. The $50,000 project was built with a grant from the Butler Innovation Fund.CUE Greenhouse

-Erin Vincent was hired as Director of Academic Program Development and Innovation, a new position designed to help faculty, staff, and administrators move new academic programs from an idea to program launch.

NOVEMBER

-Brandie Oliver, Assistant Professor of School Counseling in the College of Education, was named Indiana School Counselor Association Counselor Educator of the Year.

-The Center for Citizenship and Community celebrated its 20th anniversary of connecting Butler students and the University with the community.

-A team of five Butler University students won the Purdue University Parrish Library Case Competition, an annual contest that challenges students to use their business research skills to solve a problem for a company. Sammie Chalmers, Taylor Gillenwater, Nicole Henrich, Karly Krebs, and Allison Wolff beat more than 20 teams from Indiana University and Purdue University.

-Eight Lacy School of Business students took the annual Wall Street Trek trip to get a good look at Wall Street—JPMorgan Chase, the Stock Exchange, Blue Mountain Capital—and Johnson & Johnson headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

-Junior Jacob Reeves won the 2016–2017 Hendricks Fellowship for his project studying how wildlife use Butler University’s campus as their home. The Center for High Achievement and Scholarly Engagement (CHASE) awards the scholarship to a student who completes a scientific research project in the area of conservation or Indiana ecosystems.
Jacklyn Gries and Carl Voegel

-Jacklyn Gries, a second-year Pharmacy major from Evansville, Indiana, was selected as Butler’s 2016 winner of the Independent Colleges of Indiana’s Realizing the Dream scholarship. This scholarship goes to students who are first in their families to go to college, have been selected by their colleges for outstanding achievement in their first year, and are successfully advancing towards completing their bachelor’s degrees.

-Butler became the first Indiana school to be invited to present at a Teach to Lead Preparation Summit held in Washington, DC, by the federal Department of Education.

DECEMBER

-Patricia Cochran, the great-great-granddaughter of Butler University founder Ovid Butler and great-niece of two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Booth Tarkington, died on December 5. She was 97.

-Sigma Gamma Rho, the sorority founded at Butler University on November 12, 1922, gave Butler a gift to establish the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. 7 Founders Endowed Scholarship to honor the seven education majors and public school teachers who started the organization. The scholarship will be awarded annually beginning in the fall to a student enrolled in the College of Education.

-The curtain rose on the new Theatre Department Scene Shop, which moved from cramped quarters in the basement of the Holcomb Building to much larger, well-ventilated space in the west side of the Sunset Avenue Parking Garage. Half the space will be used to build scenery for Theatre productions; the other half will be used for costume storage for the Theatre and Dance departments.

-Victoria Kreyden ’17, a Biology/Spanish double-major from Carmel, Indiana, won first place in the undergraduate poster session at the 2016 American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) meeting in San Francisco, California, for her poster presentation Investigation of the neuronal functions of the SUMO conjugating enzyme UBC-9 at the C. elegans neuromuscular junction. Kreyden’s presentation was judged best of more than 100 by undergraduates from around the country and abroad.
Randall Shepard

-Retired Indiana Supreme Court Justice Randall Shepard spoke at 2016 Winter Commencement, telling the 138 graduates that they should clutch their diploma with a sense of optimism because they are in America and they are educated. “The value of an education earned in 2016 at universities like Butler is more tangible than ever,” he said. “Your decision and your family’s decision to persevere in education is the best possible launching pad for a successful career and a successful life.”

-Veteran police officer John Conley succeeded Ben Hunter as Butler University’s Chief of Public Safety. Conley joined the Butler University Police Department in 2014, after working with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) for 40 years.

-Associate Professor Kelli Esteves, who has taught in the College of Education since 2010, was named the Richard W. Guyer Chair in Education.

 

JANUARY
Kidney donor Tracy Pabst got a visit from Trip.

-Responding to a note on Facebook, Tracy Tyndall Pabst ’98 donated a kidney to Laura Coker Blandford ’97. The two were Delta Gamma sorority sisters but not close friends.

-A three-judge panel from the Indiana Court of Appeals heard a case on the Butler campus as part of its Appeals on Wheels program that brings the court to different locations to show the public what it does.

-Thirteen Indiana public school superintendents from all over the state began to participate in the first EPIC (Educators Preparing Inspired Change), a joint venture of Butler University and the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents to help great educators transform the business and constituent-services aspects of their work.

-Singer Ben Davis, who spent a couple of years as a Butler student, returned to the Clowes Memorial Hall stage for the first time in 20 years, this time as Captain Georg von Trapp in the national touring company of The Sound of Music.

-Jason Davidson ’01, an instructor in the Lacy School of Business, wrote a book on Visual Basic for Applications, the popular programming language that is used to create and customize Microsoft Office programs. VBA for Microsoft Office 2016, published by Pearson, is a 216-page, step-by-step guide that’s geared toward students.

-Professor of Music David Murray was awarded the International Society of Bassists’s 2017 Special Recognition Award for Solo Performance, which goes to a person “who has contributed special skills, knowledge, projects, and other such positive works in the furthering of ISB ideals.” The award is given every two years by the organization, which represents nearly 3,000 members in more than 40 countries.
David Murray

-Butler students to make the trip to New York to be part of National Retail Federation’s Big Show, the annual showcase for retail merchants that also lets students see the enormous variety of career options available to them in retail.

-Butler University placed 808 students on the Dean's List for the fall 2016 semester.

-A NASA representative brought moon rocks to College of Education Professor Catherine Pangan’s Science and Social Studies Methods class.

FEBRUARY

-The Butler Muslim Student Association hosted a Unity Walk around campus to protest the federal government’s attempted ban on Muslim refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim countries.

-Students and supporters participated in the Polar Plunge, raising over $53,000 for Special Olympics Indiana.

-The second annual Day of Giving shattered expectations, with faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and friends making 887 gifts totaling more than $137,000. In addition, the University was able to “unlock” more than $103,000 in challenge funding.
Isaac Warshawsky

-Isaac Warshawsky ’20 was selected as the second recipient of the Bruce and Lucy Gerstein Holocaust Education Travel Fund, which enabled him to visit Poland over spring break.

MARCH

-Beta Theta Pi was selected as the University’s new fraternity, with colonization of the Butler chapter to begin in fall 2017. A location for a future chapter house will be determined, and the University will assist in selecting the site.

-Butler’s men’s basketball team advanced to its first Sweet 16 since 2011 with a 74-65 win over Middle Tennessee State.

-Juniors Alex Tison, Claire Cox, and Kaylynn Cline were flown to Chicago to appear on an ESPN quiz show called Bracket Genius.

-Associate Professor of Music Education Daniel Bolin was selected as the 2017 inductee to the Gamma Chapter, Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame. Phi Beta Mu is the highest honorary fraternity for international band directors.

-Twelve 5-foot-by-5-foot brain sculptures, each linked to a different theme in neuroscience, went on display on campus for six weeks as part of One Butler: The Brain Project. The sculptures, commissioned by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, were displayed throughout campus.
Butler University Brain Project celebration March 29, 2017.

-The Center for Urban Ecology Farm began to pursue mushroom cultivation, thanks to an Indy Urban Mushrooms grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

-Butler University sophomore Lauren Ciulla struck gold, earning the Congressional Award Gold Medal, the U.S. Congress’s award for young Americans who set and achieve goals in four program areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration.

APRIL

-The estate of Winstan R. “Bud” Sellick ’47 and his wife, Jacqueline (Blomberg) ’44, has given $9.4 million to the University. The gift will be shared among Butler Athletics, the Lacy School of Business, and general University support.

-Twenty-six Butler University students were elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the honor society that recognizes the best and brightest liberal arts and sciences undergraduates from 286 top schools across the nation.

-Education professors Susan Adams and Brooke Kandel-Cisco were part of a team recognized with a B.E.S.T. Award from WFYI (Channel 20) for its “exemplary work ethic and performance” and its efforts to develop a curriculum guide for the station’s documentary Attucks: The School That Opened A City.

-Four Butler students were named Top Four Paper Winners at the University’s 2017 Undergraduate Research Conference. Kelsey McDougall, John Anderton, Taylor Pearson, and Viki Tomanov’s projects were judged to be the best among the 21 students from five different universities who submitted their completed papers for competitive review.
Owen Schaub

-Theatre Professor Owen Schaub announced his retirement after 37 years at the University. Having been at Butler has been a very warm, rewarding, and humane experience,” he said. Other professors who retired this year after long tenures at Butler include Katarina Dulckeit, Richard McGowan, Jeanne Van Tyle, Laurie Pylitt, and Stanley DeRusha.

-Frank E. Ross III, a national leader in student affairs with 22 years of experience and degrees from both Ball State and Indiana universities, was named Vice President for Student Affairs. He will take over the position in June.

-Madison Sauerteig, a junior from Arcadia, Indiana, who has done extensive volunteer work with Riley Hospital for Children, received the 2017 John Weidner Endowed Scholarship for Altruism.

-Junior Caitlyn Foye, a Biology major from Newburgh, Indiana, was named a 2017–2018 Goldwater Scholar, the most prestigious undergraduate award given in the sciences.

MAY

-A $5 million financial contribution from Old National Bank will be used to create the Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business, which will provide privately owned businesses throughout Indiana with training, education, mentoring, and networking opportunities to help them succeed.

-The Lacy School of Business’ student-run insurance company began operations after the Bermuda Monetary Authority granted licensing approval for the business. The company was created to give students hands-on experience and prepare them for an industry that is anticipated to need tens of thousands of new employees over the next seven years.

-Students, faculty, staff, and alumni signed a steel beam that will be part of the construction of the new 647-bed housing unit that will replace Schwitzer Hall. The first occupants of the new housing will move in in August 2018.
John Lechleiter addresses Commencement

-John Lechleiter, retired CEO of Eli Lilly and Co., told the spring 2017 graduates that they should set their sights high and strive for excellence, treat others the way they would like to be treated, and think and act independently. Butler graduates 955 students on May 6, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Campus

2016-2017: The Academic Year in Review

The 2016–2017 academic year began with the largest class ever—1,272 students—coming to Butler. It concluded with 955 newly minted graduates, two large gifts to the University, and the groundbreaking for a new housing facility to replace Schwitzer Hall.

May 08 2017 Read more
Campus

2016-2017 Academic Year in Review

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 08 2017

The 2016–2017 academic year began with the largest class ever—1,272 students—coming to Butler. It concluded with 955 newly minted graduates, two large gifts to the University, and the groundbreaking for a new housing facility to replace Schwitzer Hall.

In between, the University was again named Most Innovative School in the Midwest as well as one of the healthiest in the country. Butler opened the new Fairview House housing facility, earned LEED Gold certification for the Hinkle Fieldhouse renovations, added a new fraternity, and much more.

We also lost several cherished members of the Butler community, including basketball star Joel Cornette ‘04, longtime Professor of Voice André Aerne, and Patricia Cochran, the great-great-granddaughter of Butler University founder Ovid Butler.

Here’s a look back:

AUGUST

  • The University welcomed a record first-year class of 1,272 students on move-in day. The class included 46 Valedictorians and 11 Salutatorians, 2 National Merit Finalists, 21 Lilly Scholars, and 45 21st Century Scholars.
  • A Gallup-Purdue Index study found that Butler alumni are thriving personally and professionally. 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.
  • Investigating the Rubik’s cube, comparing contracts for restricted free agents in the NBA, and constructing Cantor polynomials were just some of the research projects Butler students undertook at Mathematics Research Camp, an eight-day intensive experience designed to introduce students to mathematical research.
  • Joel Cornette, a key member of Butler’s first Sweet 16 team, died. He was 35. A celebration of his life was held at Hinkle Fieldhouse on August 22. The University established the Joel Cornette Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarship support for future Butler Bulldogs. Contributions in honor may be made online.
  • Butler was 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—studied 100 residents in the American Village retirement home throughout the 2016–2017 academic year.
  • Professor Emeritus of Music James Briscoe, Professor of Education Suneeta Kercood, and Professor of Communication Ann Savage were honored with Butler University’s 2016 Distinguished Faculty Awards.
  • President James Danko was reappointed as the BIG EAST conference’s representative on the NCAA Division I Presidential Forum.
  • Speaking as part of Academic Day, author Kelsey Timmerman told first-year students that they should do volunteer work, study abroad, and incorporate one thing a day into their lives that provides someone else with genuine opportunity.
  • Bekah Pollard ’16, an Art + Design major, was awarded a 2016 Arts Council of Indianapolis Arts Journalism Fellowship to produce stories for The Indianapolis Star.
  • Over 1,200 volunteers participated in Bulldogs Into the Streets, Butler’s annual service program.
  • The old pool section of Hinkle Fieldhouse, which has been converted into a weight room, training center, and administration offices, 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.
  • Associate Professor of Theatre Rob Koharchik and Butler Theatre alumnus Jeffery Martin ’93 each received one of the “surprise” $10,000 awards given by The Indianapolis Foundation to Indianapolis-based organizations and individuals. Koharchik and Martin were recognized under the category “Indy Professional Theatre MVPs,” creative professionals whose work in theater contributes to the vibrancy of the cultural community and the strength of our city.
  • Fairview House, the new $43 million, 633-bed residence hall located along Sunset Avenue, officially opened. The residence hall features three- and four-bedroom pods with two students to a room. Each pair of students shares a bathroom, and each has his or her own sink and large closet.


SEPTEMBER

  • Butler participated in a weeklong celebration of Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut with Butler Theatre’s staged reading of Vonnegut’s play Happy Birthday, Wanda June and Indy Opera’s world premiere of the opera version of that play, with music written by Butler Music Professor Richard Auldon Clark.
  • The Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) was awarded a three-year, nearly $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the CUE Farm on campus as a hub for undergraduate education and research. The money supports Butler faculty in the development and implementation of four urban agriculture research modules in biology, chemistry, ecology, and environmental science courses and to study the impact of those modules on student learning.
  • Assistant Professor of Biology Lindsay Lewellyn was awarded a $410,656 National Institutes of Health grant to study egg development in fruit flies, which ultimately could lead to breakthroughs in the area of human infertility. The money is being used to pay for students to work in the lab over the summer, presenting findings at research conferences, hiring a full-time research technician during the academic year, and supplies.
  • Kaveh Akbar MFA ’15 was one of five recipients of the 2016 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships, a $25,800 prize intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry. The fellowships are available to all U.S. poets 21 to 31 years old.
  • Delorean J. Menifee was named Director of Admission.
  • Butler University and the Center for Urban Ecology were inducted into the Green Lights Hall of Fame. The Green Light Awards—a series of climate solutions compiled by Sustainable Indiana 2016 as part of the Bicentennial—are distributed to organizations and individuals who are at the forefront of promoting sustainability across the state of Indiana.
  • For the second consecutive year, Butler University was ranked as the Most Innovative School among Midwestern Regional Universities, according to the 2017 edition of U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges. Butler was also recognized in the categories of Best Undergraduate Teaching and the Best Colleges for Veterans, and appeared on the national shortlist of excellence for First-Year Experience, Internships, Undergraduate Research, and Study Abroad.
  • Butler was named one of the 26 healthiest colleges in the country by Greatist.com, a website devoted to healthy living.
  • CommonLit Inc., a company run by Michelle (Skinner) Brown ’09, received a federal Department of Education grant to help fund and expand the organization. CommonLit Inc., a completely free, online compilation of literary and teaching resources that was created to try to close the “secondary literacy gap,” will receive $3.9 million over two years.​


OCTOBER

  • At the annual Alumni Awards Recognition Program for extraordinary professional achievement and service, Butler honored nine alumni: Butler Medal, John Hargrove ’69; Butler Service Medal, George Geib; Robert Todd Duncan Alumni Achievement Award, Jen Christensen ’94; Katherine Merrill Graydon Alumni Service Award, Maribeth Zay Fischer ’74; Hilton Ultimus Brown Alumni Achievement Award, Shawn M. Gage ’04, PA-C; Joseph Irwin Sweeny Alumni Service Award, Amy N. Lenell ’07, PharmD, CLC; Ovid Butler Society Mortar Award, Chris ’79 and Sally (McFarland) ’81 Wirthwein; and Ovid Butler Society Foundation Award, Jennifer L. White ’00 and David White.
  • Associate Professor of Education Katie Brooks was awarded a $2 million U.S. Department of Education grant to train 80 current or potential teachers to become licensed to teach English Language Learning students. The five-year grant is intended to help alleviate the chronic shortage of English as a New Language (ENL) teachers. The grant will pay for 20 college graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in a licensable area such as biology, math, social studies, world languages, or English to get both a teaching license and an ENL license.
  • The Board of Trustees elected Attorney Robert T. Wildman and Life Sciences executive Lynne Zydowsky ’81 to special one-year terms on the Board. Both will be eligible for full three-year terms in June 2017. Wildman is a member of the Business Services Group, the Venture Capital and Private Equity Group, and the Real Estate Group of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP. Zydowsky, President of Zydowsky Consultants, is an experienced executive in the Life Sciences industry who has been involved in the launching and building of many successful companies.
  • Longtime Professor of Voice André Aerne died on Sunday, October 16, in Petoskey, Michigan. He was 84. Aerne taught at Butler from 1966–1998 and also was often featured as a soloist in the Romantic Festival programs.
  • Butler’s first Mock Mediation team did well at the Brenau Invitational Mediation Tournament in Gainesville, Georgia. Russ Hunter ’17 and Anthony Murdock ’17 both took home “Top Mediator.” Hunter also was awarded “Top Advocate/Client,” as was his teammate Nick Fox ’18.
  • Forty-nine members of FFA (Future Farmers of America), who came from as far away as Massachusetts, Connecticut, Arizona, and Washington state to attend the annual FFA convention in Indianapolis, took a tour of the CUE Farm at Butler to see how the University is approaching sustainable, environmentally responsible urban farming.
  • The Center for Urban Ecology Farm became the new home of the first fully automated mobile greenhouse, an 8-foot-wide by 32-foot-long structure designed and built by Ball State University architecture students to enable the CUE Farm to start plants earlier in the season. The $50,000 project was built with a grant from the Butler Innovation Fund
  • Erin Vincent was hired as Director of Academic Program Development and Innovation, a new position designed to help faculty, staff, and administrators move new academic programs from an idea to program launch.

NOVEMBER

  • Brandie Oliver, Assistant Professor of School Counseling in the College of Education, was named Indiana School Counselor Association Counselor Educator of the Year.
  • The Center for Citizenship and Community celebrated its 20th anniversary of connecting Butler students and the University with the community.
  • A team of five Butler University students won the Purdue University Parrish Library Case Competition, an annual contest that challenges students to use their business research skills to solve a problem for a company. Sammie Chalmers, Taylor Gillenwater, Nicole Henrich, Karly Krebs, and Allison Wolff beat more than 20 teams from Indiana University and Purdue University.
  • Eight Lacy School of Business students took the annual Wall Street Trek trip to get a good look at Wall Street—JPMorgan Chase, the Stock Exchange, Blue Mountain Capital—and Johnson & Johnson headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
  • Junior Jacob Reeves won the 2016–2017 Hendricks Fellowship for his project studying how wildlife use Butler University’s campus as their home. The Center for High Achievement and Scholarly Engagement (CHASE) awards the scholarship to a student who completes a scientific research project in the area of conservation or Indiana ecosystems.
  • Jacklyn Gries, a second-year Pharmacy major from Evansville, Indiana, was selected as Butler’s 2016 winner of the Independent Colleges of Indiana’s Realizing the Dream scholarship. This scholarship goes to students who are first in their families to go to college, have been selected by their colleges for outstanding achievement in their first year, and are successfully advancing towards completing their bachelor’s degrees.
  • Butler became the first Indiana school to be invited to present at a Teach to Lead Preparation Summit held in Washington, DC, by the federal Department of Education.


DECEMBER

  • Patricia Cochran, the great-great-granddaughter of Butler University founder Ovid Butler and great-niece of two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Booth Tarkington, died on December 5. She was 97.
  • Sigma Gamma Rho, the sorority founded at Butler University on November 12, 1922, gave Butler a gift to establish the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. 7 Founders Endowed Scholarship to honor the seven education majors and public school teachers who started the organization. The scholarship will be awarded annually beginning in the fall to a student enrolled in the College of Education.
  • The curtain rose on the new Theatre Department Scene Shop, which moved from cramped quarters in the basement of the Holcomb Building to much larger, well-ventilated space in the west side of the Sunset Avenue Parking Garage. Half the space will be used to build scenery for Theatre productions; the other half will be used for costume storage for the Theatre and Dance departments.
  • Victoria Kreyden ’17, a Biology/Spanish double-major from Carmel, Indiana, won first place in the undergraduate poster session at the 2016 American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) meeting in San Francisco, California, for her poster presentation Investigation of the neuronal functions of the SUMO conjugating enzyme UBC-9 at the C. elegans neuromuscular junction. Kreyden’s presentation was judged best of more than 100 by undergraduates from around the country and abroad.
  • Retired Indiana Supreme Court Justice Randall Shepard spoke at 2016 Winter Commencement, telling the 138 graduates that they should clutch their diploma with a sense of optimism because they are in America and they are educated. “The value of an education earned in 2016 at universities like Butler is more tangible than ever,” he said. “Your decision and your family’s decision to persevere in education is the best possible launching pad for a successful career and a successful life.”
  • Veteran police officer John Conley succeeded Ben Hunter as Butler University’s Chief of Public Safety. Conley joined the Butler University Police Department in 2014, after working with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) for 40 years.
  • Associate Professor Kelli Esteves, who has taught in the College of Education since 2010, was named the Richard W. Guyer Chair in Education.


JANUARY

  • Responding to a note on Facebook, Tracy Tyndall Pabst ’98 donated a kidney to Laura Coker Blandford ’97. The two were Delta Gamma sorority sisters but not close friends.
  • A three-judge panel from the Indiana Court of Appeals heard a case on the Butler campus as part of its Appeals on Wheels program that brings the court to different locations to show the public what it does.
  • Thirteen Indiana public school superintendents from all over the state began to participate in the first EPIC (Educators Preparing Inspired Change), a joint venture of Butler University and the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents to help great educators transform the business and constituent-services aspects of their work.
  • Singer Ben Davis, who spent a couple of years as a Butler student, returned to the Clowes Memorial Hall stage for the first time in 20 years, this time as Captain Georg von Trapp in the national touring company of The Sound of Music.
  • Jason Davidson ’01, an instructor in the Lacy School of Business, wrote a book on Visual Basic for Applications, the popular programming language that is used to create and customize Microsoft Office programs. VBA for Microsoft Office 2016, published by Pearson, is a 216-page, step-by-step guide that’s geared toward students.
  • Professor of Music David Murray was awarded the International Society of Bassists’s 2017 Special Recognition Award for Solo Performance, which goes to a person “who has contributed special skills, knowledge, projects, and other such positive works in the furthering of ISB ideals.” The award is given every two years by the organization, which represents nearly 3,000 members in more than 40 countries.
  • Butler students to make the trip to New York to be part of National Retail Federation’s Big Show, the annual showcase for retail merchants that also lets students see the enormous variety of career options available to them in retail.
  • Butler University placed 808 students on the Dean’s List for the fall 2016 semester.
  • A NASA representative brought moon rocks to College of Education Professor Catherine Pangan’s Science and Social Studies Methods class.


FEBRUARY

  • The Butler Muslim Student Association hosted a Unity Walk around campus to protest the federal government’s attempted ban on Muslim refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim countries.
  • Students and supporters participated in the Polar Plunge, raising over $53,000 for Special Olympics Indiana.
  • The second annual Day of Giving shattered expectations, with faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and friends making 887 gifts totaling more than $137,000. In addition, the University was able to “unlock” more than $103,000 in challenge funding.
  • Isaac Warshawsky ’20 was selected as the second recipient of the Bruce and Lucy Gerstein Holocaust Education Travel Fund, which enabled him to visit Poland over spring break.


MARCH

  • Beta Theta Pi was selected as the University’s new fraternity, with colonization of the Butler chapter to begin in fall 2017. A location for a future chapter house will be determined, and the University will assist in selecting the site.
  • Butler’s men’s basketball team advanced to its first Sweet 16 since 2011 with a 74-65 win over Middle Tennessee State.
  • Juniors Alex Tison, Claire Cox, and Kaylynn Cline were flown to Chicago to appear on an ESPN quiz show called Bracket Genius.
  • Associate Professor of Music Education Daniel Bolin was selected as the 2017 inductee to the Gamma Chapter, Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame. Phi Beta Mu is the highest honorary fraternity for international band directors.
  • Twelve 5-foot-by-5-foot brain sculptures, each linked to a different theme in neuroscience, went on display on campus for six weeks as part of One Butler: The Brain Project. The sculptures, commissioned by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, were displayed throughout campus.
  • The Center for Urban Ecology Farm began to pursue mushroom cultivation, thanks to an Indy Urban Mushrooms grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.
  • Butler University sophomore Lauren Ciulla struck gold, earning the Congressional Award Gold Medal, the U.S. Congress’s award for young Americans who set and achieve goals in four program areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration.


APRIL

  • The estate of Winstan R. “Bud” Sellick ’47 and his wife, Jacqueline (Blomberg) ’44, has given $9.4 million to the University. The gift will be shared among Butler Athletics, the Lacy School of Business, and general University support.
  • Twenty-six Butler University students were elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the honor society that recognizes the best and brightest liberal arts and sciences undergraduates from 286 top schools across the nation.
  • Education professors Susan Adams and Brooke Kandel-Cisco were part of a team recognized with a B.E.S.T. Award from WFYI (Channel 20) for its “exemplary work ethic and performance” and its efforts to develop a curriculum guide for the station’s documentary Attucks: The School That Opened A City.
  • Four Butler students were named Top Four Paper Winners at the University’s 2017 Undergraduate Research Conference. Kelsey McDougall, John Anderton, Taylor Pearson, and Viki Tomanov’s projects were judged to be the best among the 21 students from five different universities who submitted their completed papers for competitive review.
  • Theatre Professor Owen Schaub announced his retirement after 37 years at the University. “Having been at Butler has been a very warm, rewarding, and humane experience,” he said. Other professors who retired this year after long tenures at Butler include Katarina Dulckeit, Richard McGowan, Jeanne Van Tyle, Laurie Pylitt, and Stanley DeRusha.
  • Frank E. Ross III, a national leader in student affairs with 22 years of experience and degrees from both Ball State and Indiana universities, was named Vice President for Student Affairs. He will take over the position in June.
  • Madison Sauerteig, a junior from Arcadia, Indiana, who has done extensive volunteer work with Riley Hospital for Children, received the 2017 John Weidner Endowed Scholarship for Altruism.
  • Junior Caitlyn Foye, a Biology major from Newburgh, Indiana, was named a 2017–2018 Goldwater Scholar, the most prestigious undergraduate award given in the sciences.


MAY

  • A $5 million financial contribution from Old National Bank will be used to create the Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business, which will provide privately owned businesses throughout Indiana with training, education, mentoring, and networking opportunities to help them succeed.
  • The Lacy School of Business’ student-run insurance company began operations after the Bermuda Monetary Authority granted licensing approval for the business. The company was created to give students hands-on experience and prepare them for an industry that is anticipated to need tens of thousands of new employees over the next seven years.
  • Students, faculty, staff, and alumni signed a steel beam that will be part of the construction of the new 647-bed housing unit that will replace Schwitzer Hall. The first occupants of the new housing will move in in August 2018.
  • John Lechleiter, retired CEO of Eli Lilly and Co., told the spring 2017 graduates that they should set their sights high and strive for excellence, treat others the way they would like to be treated, and think and act independently. Butler graduates 955 students on May 6, 2017.

 

Campus

2016-2017 Academic Year in Review

The 2016–2017 academic year began with the largest class ever—1,272 students—coming to Butler. It concluded with 955 newly minted graduates, two large gifts to the University, and the groundbreaking for a new housing facility to replace Schwitzer Hall.

May 08 2017 Read more
Campus

Lechleiter to Graduates: Set Your Sights High

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 06 2017

Set your sights high and strive for excellence, treat others the way you would like to be treated, and think and act independently, retired Eli Lilly & Co. CEO John Lechleiter told the Butler University Class of 2017 at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, May 6.

John LechleiterLechleiter, who received an honorary doctorate, as did his wife, Sarah, told the 955 graduates, their families, and friends, that as an undergraduate, he had an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry recommend that he go to Harvard for graduate school.

Lechleiter’s reaction: “Are you kidding me?”

But a few weeks into classes in 1975, he said, “I found myself saying, ‘I can do this.’”

“Avoid selling yourself short,” Lechleiter advised, quoting President John F. Kennedy as saying that if you’re willing to settle for second place, that’s where you’ll finish.

He also recommended giving others the benefit of the doubt, avoiding gossip, and reveling in the success of others. And, he said, the graduates should muster the courage to think for themselves.

Lechleiter recalled a time at Lilly when the company was about to lose 40 percent of its revenues from four drugs with expiring patents. He said he received a lot of advice—none of which he took. Instead, despite skepticism, Lilly increased spending on research and development, which “was the right thing to do, and it has since be vindicated.”

“You spent years here at this great university, learning how to think,” Lechleiter said. “Take advantage of that.”

The Class of 2017 included 811 undergraduates and 144 graduate students. Of those, 267 studied abroad at some point in their Butler career.

Theatre Department Chair Diane Timmerman gave the faculty address, in which she advised students to trust their own voice. She told the graduates that:

-Nothing is ever convenient, so don’t sit and wait for perfect circumstances before trying things.

-Say yes to as many things as you can.

-Everyone is scared. Timmerman said she’s been scared at every major moment of her life, but those have often turned out to be the greatest moments of her life.

“Accept fear,” she said. “It will be there. But don’t let it stop you.”

To illustrate her point, she reminded the graduates about the scene in the movie “Hoosiers” in which Gene Hackman walked his awestruck team into Hinkle Fieldhouse for the state championship basketball game and used a tape measure to show the players that the basket and foul line are the same height and length as they are on their home court.

“My wish for you, beautiful Class of 2017,” she said, “is that you find a helpful tape measure whenever you need it.”

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

Campus

Lechleiter to Graduates: Set Your Sights High

Set your sights high and strive for excellence, treat others the way you would like to be treated, and think and act independently.

May 06 2017 Read more
Campus

Commencement Reflection from President Danko

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 05 2017

Tomorrow Butler University will confer degrees upon approximately 1,000 students, who will experience a range of emotions as they reflect upon their college years and their futures. I normally also find myself in a reflective mood this time of year, thinking about how well Butler University has educated and served these graduates, and how much we will miss their presence on campus.

President DankoAs Butler has found itself in the media the past couple days, I must admit that my self-reflection is more intense than usual as I consider the range of opinions, emotions, and comments coming our way about the role of our University in the education and development of students. While I am always cautious about overreacting when in the eye of the storm—especially when all the facts of a situation are not public—it does seem an appropriate time for me to share some thoughts with the community.

As has been the case when I have previously commented on Butler matters, I have had the advantage of grounding myself on Butler’s history, values, and traditions. A consistent thread going back to the founding of the University by Ovid Butler is a commitment to all people and ideas. Thus my job as Ovid’s successor is to ensure that our community is a just, fair, and safe place in which all people may thrive equally.

The last couple days I have heard from many who have questioned whether or not we have upheld the value of being a fair and safe place for all political ideas. This viewpoint is based upon the Trumpism and U.S. Democracy course being offered at Butler next fall. Information on the course can be found online.

Many people believe Butler should not offer this course, indicating it presents a one-sided political position or that it called into question the President. I disagree with that view. The more complete description of the course makes it clear that the educational objectives are quite consistent with our role as educators, namely, to promote critical inquiry and to engage our students on topics, even if controversial. Secondly, I defend the long-standing principle of academic freedom and the right of our faculty to teach courses that they believe advance knowledge, and to do so without fear of censorship.

I find myself particularly sensitive to a prevalent theme of criticism that Butler may be failing when it comes to presenting a balanced political perspective. Many who have made that point also connect it with a commonly held perception that universities, as a whole, are liberal-minded. While I’ll set aside comments on the latter, I do agree that Butler needs to ensure that we present a more balanced political perspective, thereby adhering to our University’s foundational values.

Butler does not do a regular inventory of all courses to ensure that there is perfect balance of various viewpoints at all times. There is no university I know of that would take on that task. I might also add that the job of a president, provost, or dean is not like that of a movie theatre manager who may decide not to show a movie because it may be controversial. Some have suggested we cancel the course, however, that is not a path a university would pursue unless there is truly a legitimate and compelling reason to do so, one akin to yelling fire in a movie theatre, if I am to stick with that metaphor.

What we can do as leaders of Butler University is to work diligently to incent and support a broader representation of viewpoints in and out of the classroom. My self-reflection on the eve of Commencement is that we must do better on this very important point. If an educational opportunity does indeed focus on only one side of the political spectrum, then we must find ways to offer opportunities on the other side, and we cannot be swayed by the current political or social environment at the time.

More specifically, I have decided that the explicit focus of the upcoming academic year’s Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series will engage our community in the topic of civil discourse across political lines around contentious political issues and will ensure speakers who represent a wide range of opposing political ideologies. I’m charging Academic Affairs and Student Affairs leadership to build programs and activities around this theme.

As I consider my own graduation, as a Religious Studies major at John Carroll University, I remember a Philosophy of Religion course taught by a professor who consistently presented a point of view that would have students question religion and the ability to prove the existence of God. I truly thought the teacher was an atheist. Many years later when reading his obituary, I was stunned to read that he was a devout Catholic, attended Church faithfully, and taught religion classes to the parish youth. There is great value when a faculty member sets aside personal opinion and beliefs, and I am quite confident Butler faculty strive to do the same.

As we dedicate ourselves to our founding values and ensure all viewpoints are presented and supported at Butler University, I do hope we can encourage our students to understand the value of engaging in dialogue and courses that take them out of their comfort zone. If so, Butler students who receive their diplomas will be much better prepared for the complex world in which we now live.

My congratulations to our graduating students and my sincere thanks to our outstanding faculty and staff for their dedication to challenging and educating our students.

Campus

Commencement Reflection from President Danko

"My congratulations to our graduating students and my sincere thanks to our outstanding faculty and staff for their dedication to challenging and educating our students."

May 05 2017 Read more
Campus

Message from the Provost on ‘Trumpism and U.S. Democracy’ Course

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 04 2017

Dear Members of the Butler Community,

Butler University has been in the news recently with regard to the Trumpism and U.S. Democracy course being offered on campus next fall. Because you are a valued member of the Butler community, I want to take this opportunity to share some background on this situation.

As a result of the recent media coverage, the University has been the recipient of numerous concerns about the course. The concerns have been two-fold:  perceptions that it takes a critical approach to the Trump presidency; and perceptions that it requires students to participate in resistance.

The former concern—that the course adopts a stance critical of Trump—is one that falls under the auspices of academic freedom.  Just as I support this course, I would support a course that is complimentary of the President. Butler offers a variety of courses that tackle controversial topics. Like any University, Butler should—and does—promote an environment of critical inquiry and engagement on controversial and unpopular topics.

The latter concern—the perception that students are required to participate in activism—is more problematic. The University would not require a student to support or oppose a particular political figure or agenda. The professor has been very transparent about the goals of the course and has provided additional context that clarifies students in the class will not be required to participate in a particular form of activism. They will be asked to engage with classic and contemporary readings—including a text by President Trump—and evaluate the rise of the President as a political and social phenomenon. Students will potentially attend, as participant observers, campus and community events to witness and analyze ongoing responses to Trump's presidency and campaign.

As this issue continues to be discussed, I encourage each of you to promote an open and civil environment for voicing opinions and to respect each other in accordance with our University’s values.

Sincerely,

Kathryn Morris
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

View the full course information

Campus

Message from the Provost on ‘Trumpism and U.S. Democracy’ Course

"I encourage each of you to promote an open and civil environment for voicing opinions and to respect each other in accordance with our University’s values."

May 04 2017 Read more
Campus

Butler's Wildlife Network Gets National Notice

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 03 2017

Fox on CampusThe Urban Wildlife Information Network—and Butler University’s participation in this collaboration to identify patterns in urban wildlife—was the subject of a May 2 story in The New York Times.

“A city is a type of ecosystem, one heavily managed by humans, but it is an ecosystem and there is diversity, and that makes it a healthier place to live,” Biology Professor Travis Ryan is quoted as saying in the story.

In February 2016, Butler’s Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) announced plans to participate in the network, which is coordinated by Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. The CUE placed 48 motion-sensitive cameras at locations in Indianapolis, Westfield, Zionsville, and Carmel to study urban wildlife.

 

 

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

Campus

Butler's Wildlife Network Gets National Notice

A city is a type of ecosystem, one heavily managed by humans, but it is an ecosystem and there is diversity, and that makes it a healthier place to live.

May 03 2017 Read more
Campus

A 'Fierce,' 'Compassionate,' 'Ahead-of-Her-Time' Professor Retires

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 02 2017

Katharina Dulckeit remembers flying into Indianapolis for her job interview at Butler and seeing a tractor on display in the airport. Then she arrived at the University to find that “everyone was married” (she was divorced) and diversity was lacking in the all-male Philosophy Department and on campus.

Katharina DulckeitComing from California, she had hoped for something a little more cosmopolitan. But she was offered the position teaching philosophy and, needing to provide for her two young daughters, she accepted.

Over the years, she said, it got better. She made lifelong friends among the faculty (“They made my life here possible”), met her second husband at an event in Jordan Hall, and did everything she could to give students “a rich, unforgettable, mind-blowing, and profound learning experience.”

And now, as she finishes her teaching career at the same place where she started 32 years ago, Dulckeit looks back on her time at Butler with fondness.

“When I accepted this job,” she said, “my friends in California said, ‘Are you out of your mind? You’re going where?’ I said, ‘You’re all elitists. There are nice people everywhere.’”

*

Dulckeit grew up in “devastated, bombed out” Kiel, Germany, in the aftermath of World War II. In a highly regarded “last lecture” that she delivered to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, she told the story of climbing into a bomb crater on a dare to retrieve a glove when she was a little girl. She also remembered another child getting killed trying to do the same thing.

“There was ordnance lying all around the city,” she said. “What I saw instilled in me this lifelong passion for justice and equality.”

Her father was a professor of jurisprudence who refused to join the Nazi party. He was sent away for six years and did whatever he could to sabotage their efforts. (“It’s fortunately documented by third parties, so it’s not just wishful thinking in the family.”)

“I told that story not to get sympathy, but to paint a picture of the consequences of letting a dictator take power,” she said.

Her father died of cancer when she was 7, and the family moved to Munich. As she approached her teen years, life in Germany became much more normalized, but “the thoughts of murder and horror receded, but never very far.”

Dulckeit left Germany at 18, married an American, and moved to California. During 20 years in California, she had two children, got divorced, and advanced from junior college to doctorate in philosophy, which she earned at University of California, Davis.

She had planned to study “anything but philosophy,” and certainly anything but the work of the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, about whom both of her parents had written.

“But I took one class (in junior college) because I thought I want to at least know what it’s about,” she said.

She ended up hooked.

Dulckeit taught a variety of philosophy and core curriculum courses at Butler, including a seminar in Hegel and a class called Marginalized in America, and worked to develop a more diverse curriculum across the University. She twice served as philosophy department chair; co-founded The Collaborative for Critical Inquiry into Gender, Race, and Sexuality; helped launch the Women’s Caucus; and directed the Gender Studies program.

“I have never been somebody everybody loves,” she said, “because I always say what I think.”

But those who love her, LOVE her. Pamela Tinkham ’89, who was a Dance major at Butler, just sent Dulckeit a copy of her new book, Healing Trauma from the Inside Out: Practices from the East and West, along with a note thanking her “for believing in me before I believed in myself.”

“I grew up being told that I was ‘the pretty one’ and my sister was ‘the smart one,’” Tinkham said in an email. “During Katharina’s class, we spoke after class a few times and she told me how smart she thought I was. That was the first time anyone had ever said that to me and it really changed my life.”

Dulckeit’s friends on the faculty describe her as “fearless,” “compassionate,” “ahead of her time,” “progressive,” and “a fierce advocate who has a deep well of sympathy for what other people are thinking and the experiences they’ve had.” Professor of Spanish Terri Carney said Dulckeit has inspired two generations of Butler University women professors.

“When I got here in 1995, I think Katharina was my only role model for progressive, radical politics,” she said. “She was chair of her department and I remember her at this big faculty meeting telling (then-President) Geoff Bannister off. And Geoff loved her. And I thought, ‘Who is this woman? If she exists here, then maybe there’s a place for me.’ I can’t overstate Katharina’s impact on me.”

*

In retirement, Dulckeit and husband Keni Washington, a musician and Managing Director of the alternative-energy company Earth-Solar Technologies Corp., plan to travel. She will write and study—“I would love to study physics if I had time”—and enjoy what she calls her “new adventure.”

“I’m happy with myself and with my age and what I’ve learned,” said Dulckeit, who keeps youthful purple streaks in her hair but proudly acknowledges being 70. “As you get older, you get a different handle on things. I am so very comfortable in my skin. I don’t feel old. I don’t feel like I’m done. I have a lot of reading and writing to do and a lot of beauty to see and a lot of traveling to do.”

And as for her decision to come to Indiana, Dulckeit said she likes the way it worked out.

“I’ve been happy,” she said, “but I do have an unreasonable longing for the ocean and lakes and mountains and beauty. I’m one of those people who needs beauty in their surroundings to feel joy.”

 

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

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