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President Danko's Mid-Year Update


PUBLISHED ON Jan 12 2015

One year ago, we introduced the Butler 2020 Vision—the culmination of two years of discussion and feedback from Butler students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Twelve months later, we have made major strides and are poised for great achievement in the months and years to come. I would like to begin the year by sharing updates on key accomplishments and opportunities—all made possible by your support and engagement, and that of the entire Butler community.

Jim DankoAcademics
The first platform of the Butler 2020 Vision outlines our strategy to distinguish Butler through innovative programs and a strengthened commitment to community engagement, experiential learning, and international education. 2014 brought exceptional recognition of our work in these areas, as U.S.News recognized Butler as one of the top schools in the country for undergraduate education that supports student success. Butler—listed among the nation’s best for internships, undergraduate research, service learning, study abroad, and first-year experience—was one of only three universities in the United States recognized in five or more categories, and was recognized in more categories than all other Indiana schools combined.

The New Year has already brought further affirmation of Butler’s efforts, as the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognized Butler with its Community Engagement Classification, which acknowledges colleges and universities that have gained national distinction by developing mutually beneficial partnerships with local organizations and surrounding communities.

These accolades reflect the exceptional work of faculty and staff across the University. In the year to come, we will continue to build upon these accomplishments as we launch new programs, expand online offerings, continue to fund innovative initiatives, and further distinguish Butler within a crowded higher education landscape.

Health and Safety
There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our students. With the topic of sexual violence front and center at college campuses around the country, Butler has taken proactive steps to build a Community of Care. In 2014, we expanded student programming focused on education and prevention, collaborated with government stakeholders and peer institutions, and worked to improve Butler’s sexual assault policies, procedures, and enforcement efforts.

Last spring, we announced plans to create a commission of students, faculty, and staff to build upon current efforts to stop sexual violence at Butler. The Presidential Commission on Sexual Assault—which includes representation from students, faculty, and staff from across the University—will meet actively throughout 2015 and provide Butler’s leadership with ongoing recommendations to improve assessment, education, and prevention.

At last year’s Convocation, it was inspiring to watch our incoming students stand together and take the #ButlerPledge to care for one another and keep each other safe. I am proud of our community’s efforts to uphold these commitments and look forward to a safe and healthy 2015 at Butler University.

We are fortunate to welcome two new members to the University’s leadership team in 2015—VP for Advancement Jaci Thiede, and VP for Enrollment Management Lori Greene. Jaci and Lori bring significant talent and experience to Butler and I am confident they will help lead their divisions and—in partnership with our existing leadership team—our University to great success in the years to come.

Congratulations also to Chris Holtmann, who was named men’s basketball Head Coach on January 2. Coach Holtmann has done a tremendous job leading the team in recent months and we are confident in his leadership—and that of all athletic coaches and staff—as our Bulldogs complete their second year of BIG EAST competition. We appreciate Brandon Miller’s many contributions to Butler over the last 18 months, and wish him well.

Campus Environment
Following the 2013 completion of the Schrott Center for the Arts and West Campus infrastructure improvements, we made major strides in 2014 toward advancing Butler’s educational mission through superior campus amenities.

In April 2014, the University—in partnership with the City of Indianapolis—broke ground on the Sunset Streetscape Project, intended to beautify the eastern border of Butler’s campus, while improving safety and sustainability. The bulk of the project was completed this fall, with finishing touches scheduled for this spring, prior to Commencement.

In September, we broke ground on a multi-use parking facility that will address long-standing parking concerns and bring new dining and retail options to Butler’s campus. The five-story facility, expected to open in August, will house 1,038 parking spaces and 15,000 square feet of retail space.

Thanks to the generosity of thousands of supporters, the Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse formally concluded at the end of 2013 and raised approximately $18 million for the preservation and enhancement of Butler’s 86-year-old national landmark. Renovations—many focused on supporting student-athlete well-being and academic success—were completed in October, in time for the 2014-2015 basketball season. The team did an incredible job maintaining Hinkle’s charm, while providing modern amenities to athletes and fans, alike. If you haven’t yet seen the updates, I encourage you to attend a men’s or women’s basketball game this year.

Also in 2014, the University entered an agreement with American Campus Communities (ACC), a national leader in campus housing, to develop world-class residential facilities to serve the next generation of Butler students. The first phase of development will begin this March, when the University and ACC break ground on a state-of-the-art 630-bed residential facility along Sunset Ave. north of ResCo. This facility, which will also feature a large community space at Sunset and Butler Way, is scheduled to be complete by fall 2016. Planning is underway for future phases of housing development, which will ultimately include the renovation or replacement of beds in Schwitzer, Ross, and ResCo.

For a closer look at the impact these projects will have on Butler’s campus aesthetic, click here. In the long term, these projects are all necessary precursors to planned expansion and modernization of academic spaces. The Science Commission made great progress in 2014 on its recommendations for developing state-of-the-art science facilities in Gallahue and Holcomb, while a new task force began planning for a new academic building to house the College of Business and additional programs.

As Butler builds and grows, we remain committed to sustainability. In August 2014, the University approved and submitted a Climate Action Plan as part of the American Colleges & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which we signed in 2012. The plan, which will require extensive collaboration among campus stakeholders, outlines short- and long-term strategies to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Final Thoughts
At Butler’s December board meeting, our trustees expressed great confidence and enthusiasm in the University’s vision, strategy, and progress to date. They also acknowledged the significant challenge ahead as we seek to grow and distinguish Butler in the face of demographic and marketplace shifts that will confront higher education in the coming years. I share our trustees’ confidence in Butler’s future, and I am thankful for the great people of Butler—our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends—who make this future possible. Thank you again for all you do for Butler University, and I look forward to working alongside you to accomplish great things in 2015 and beyond.


Carnegie Foundation Recognizes Butler's Community Engagement Efforts


PUBLISHED ON Jan 07 2015

Butler University has been selected to receive the Carnegie Foundation’s 2015 Community Engagement Classification, a distinction that recognizes the University’s efforts to connect with the Indianapolis community.

This designation acknowledges the ongoing involvement of college students, staff, faculty, and community partners in working together to improve the quality of life in Central Indiana and beyond.

clear1x1Carnegie Foundation"The classification recognizes our commitment to partnering with communities as we provide experiential learning opportunities,” Butler University President James M. Danko said. “Our students connect with the community, and together we serve the common good."

In the award notification letter to the University, representatives of the Carnegie Foundation noted Butler’s application “documented excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.”

“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national, and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

Butler is one of 361 institutions nationwide to receive the Community Engagement Classification—and one of 240 selected for 2015.

In earning the Carnegie classification, Butler is cited for programs such as its Indianapolis Community Requirement (ICR), a unique component of Butler’s core curriculum through which all students take at least one course that involves active engagement with the Indianapolis community. More about the ICR is here.

Other programs across Butler's six colleges also encourage community engagement, including:

  • The Butler-Shortridge partnership, engaging Butler faculty and students in various curricular and programmatic collaborations with Indianapolis Public Schools' Shortridge Magnet High School for Law & Public Policy.
  • The Early College Program, which brings select Shortridge juniors and seniors to campus each semester to earn college credits and contribute to the Butler community.
  • Partnerships with local organizations such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, The Immigrant Welcome Center, and A Caring Place.
  • The Butler Community Arts School, which provides low- and no-cost music and arts education to hundreds of students across the community.
  • The Community Screening Practicum, through which Butler students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program conduct speech, language, and hearing screenings for children enrolled in Indianapolis community schools.
  • Generation Rx, a joint effort of Butler Student Association of Pharmacy and students of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences that strives to educate and raise awareness about prescription drug misuse.
  • Writing in the Schools, a collaboration between Butler’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program and Shortridge Magnet High School, has worked directly with more than 300 of Shortridge’s 900 students.
  • The Butler Business Consulting Group, which helps Indiana companies and the Butler College of Business grow by leveraging our depth of experience and breadth of resources in a spirit of teaching, learning and caring.

Danko said Butler-Indianapolis connections help students learn about themselves and others, while engaged in meaningful community service.

“This experience,” he said, “is an investment in their future as engaged citizens who will continue to recognize diverse viewpoints, understand the value of collaborating with others, and work together on solutions to problems.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


See a Free Showing of 'Mentor,' A Film About Bullying, at Butler


PUBLISHED ON Dec 16 2014

Butler University’s College of Education and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences present a free public screening of the documentary “Mentor,” about two high school students who were bullied so severely that they died by suicide, January 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts.

The film, written and directed by Butler Visiting Professor Alix Lambert, focuses on the families of Sladjana Vidovic and Eric Mohat, who sued Mentor (Ohio) High School administrators for ignoring the bullying that led to the death of their children.

mentor for ButlerIn all, five Mentor students killed themselves from 2005 to 2010.

“ ‘Mentor’ is both heartbreaking and soberly resolute in its inquiry into the institutional forces and ‘culture of conformity’ that fail young members of our communities,” Filmmaker Magazine wrote.

Brandie Oliver, Assistant Professor of School Counseling in Butler’s College of Education, said she wants the community to see the film “because we need to continue to address the topic of bullying.”

“This film provides a platform to engage in critical dialogue surrounding the devastating impacts bullying can have on a community,” she said. “As educators, we need to continuously work to build school cultures that are teaching kids the pro-social behaviors that result in the development of kind, accepting, and productive citizens in our communities."

Lambert’s previous documentaries include “Mark of Cain,” a documentary about Russian prisoners that was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and aired on Nightline, and “Bayou Blue,” a look at the families of the victims of a Louisiana serial killer. She also has worked on the HBO series Deadwood and John From Cincinnati as a writer and producer.

Lambert said she made “Mentor” as a way to put the issue of bullying in context.

“For me, the word ‘bullying’ is a problem because people just think it’s like, ‘Oh, kids get called names,’” she said. “And then, you’re like, ‘Well, but this girl was eating her lunch in the bathroom stall and being pushed down the stairs and touched inappropriately.’ And then the fact that kids came to her funeral parlor and made a MySpace page about how ugly her dress was. I mean, who does that? This is not teasing on the way home from school. It’s a shocking, shocking thing to do.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Student LifeCommunity

She Won a Contest. Now the Kids Are Having a Ball


PUBLISHED ON Nov 19 2014

Jill B. Allen ’13 needed physical education equipment and resources for her Movement Studio classroom at the Butler Lab School and, thanks to the participants in the NFL PLAY 60 Showdown, she’s getting it.

lab school picAllen’s class will receive an array of volleyballs, basketballs, soccer balls and other gear after her project, called “Help Us Get Moving in Class and at Recess!,” was featured in the NFL/DonorsChoose competition. The NFL Play 60 Rush initiative is a weekly contest that pits two deserving youth health and fitness projects from the corresponding cities who play on Monday Night Football against each other each week. Fans vote for the winner.

“My students are diverse and love being able to explore in multiple ways,” Allen wrote on the NFLRush website. “That is why I am requesting movement manipulatives, balls, and other PE equipment so my students can learn the importance of physical activity, living a healthy life, and what it means to be skillful.”

Allen’s project won against a school from Queens, New York, which will receive 50 percent of the money it requested.

“This is a new program and I'm starting from scratch,” Allen said. “The kids only have about six items to play with at recess and some of the equipment is too young for them. This will really build our physical education and recess equipment base.”

Mindy Welch, Coordinator of the College of Education’s Human Movement and Health Science Education (HMHSE) program, said Allen has established “a remarkable impact” at the Lab School.

“Securing the funding for this DonorsChoose project is simply one fine example,” Welch said. “Through Jill's leadership, initiative, and innovations, she is really helping to build community in new ways through the Movement Studio curriculum.”

Allen was one of six Butler juniors who were in an inaugural physical education practicum at the Lab School in the spring 2012. HMHSE students and faculty have provided the school’s only movement education since then, until Allen was hired this fall.

Welch, who is on sabbatical this fall, is working with Allen to develop the Movement Studio curriculum.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


President Danko's Statement Regarding Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig


PUBLISHED ON Nov 16 2014

Butler University President James M. Danko today released this statement regarding Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig:

Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig had traveled to Lebanon in 2012 to provide medical and humanitarian assistance to those in need. He founded Special Emergency Response and Assistance, an aid organization for Syrian refugees. He approached life selflessly and courageously, and he upheld the Butler ideal of trying to make the world a better place.

The Butler community joins millions around the world in prayer and support for the Kassig family and for Abdul-Rahman's cause in the Middle East.

James M. Danko
President, Butler University


In This Program, Young Writers Find Their Voice

BY Sarvary Koller '15

PUBLISHED ON Oct 16 2014

As students trickle into room 238 at Shortridge Magnet High School, stagnant silence grows to a dull roar of laughter and chatter. Butler University students and Shortridge students catch up over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, then get to the task at hand: creative writing.

Today, they will be crafting their own parodies.

Butler MFA graduate student Luke Wortley leads an impromptu poetry slam as part of the Writing in the Schools program.
Butler MFA graduate student Luke Wortley leads the weekly poetry slam as part of the Writing in the Schools program.


One student writes and performs a parody of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” reflecting upon the human contribution to global warming and the destruction of our planet. Another student exercises her imagination to rewrite One Direction’s “You and I” from the viewpoint of a love-struck fan.

It took less than 15 minutes for the cluttered science classroom to transform into a collaborative, energetic writer’s studio. The students spent the afternoon writing and laughing and writing some more. No idea is rejected ­– all are important and supported.

Their activity is part of Writing in the Schools, a product of the Butler University and Indianapolis Public Schools partnership. The program meets twice a week at Shortridge, with Butler students enrolled in EN455-S Writing in the Schools offering student-to-student mentorship to Shortridge youth.

The writing prompts vary each week, and all students are encouraged to perform their work in front of the class at the end of the session.

The program was initiated in 2011 under the guidance of Susan Sutherlin, Butler English Department Director of Peer Tutoring, to provide students the opportunity to work in the community with liberal arts and encourage written creativity among local youth.

“We are all writers,” Sutherlin said. “We deeply believe in and are committed to creative writing and fostering that form of expression.”

Sutherlin taught and developed the program during its first two years before passing on the baton to Butler faculty member Chris Speckman, who served as her graduate assistant while still in Butler’s Masters of Fine Arts Creative Writing program.

Speckman, EN455-S professor and Writing in the Schools director, is entering his second year as the leader of the program. He hopes to build a community of writers where people from different walks and stages of life can connect through creativity and shared experiences. Room 238 is a nonjudgmental space where all students are encouraged to find their voice.

“This program is not the outsider coming in and bestowing all the knowledge on the lesser,” Speckman said. “We are doing this with them. We are a community of writers where we are all equals. Butler students and Shortridge students. We do it to discover things about ourselves.”

Wortley and Shortridge senior Paula Cloyd
Wortley and Shortridge senior Paula Cloyd

MFA graduate student Luke Wortley, in his second year as a graduate assistant, has found particular meaning in the Writing in the Schools program. He chose to attend Butler because of the one-of-a-kind opportunity to mentor high school students through creative writing.

“I’d never really worked in a setting like this where you work with kids that come from such different walks of life,” he said. “It’s instructive about the world. It’s helped give me some perspective, which is huge.”

Wortley said he never gets tired of watching the Shortridge students break down their barriers as they cultivate relationships with Butler students and learn to understand their written voice.

He experienced this transformation firsthand while working with Shortridge senior Paula Cloyd, a veteran of the program who has participated since its inception. He worked with Cloyd as she wrote a poem called “Speak” that eventually won the 2013 IUPUI Poetry Contest. (read her poem here)

“It was that first connection where we produced something really beautiful together,” Wortley said. “We instantly formed this relationship.”

With a newfound passion for public education, Wortley said he now hopes to become a high school teacher and remain involved in after-school programs for youth. He credits this decision to his experience with Writing in the Schools.

“It’s the single most meaningful thing I’ve ever done,” Wortley said. “It’s fulfilling in a way that I wouldn’t have gotten from anything else. It’s not only informing me as a writer, it’s informing me as a person.”



For Families at St. Vincent Heart Center, Mozart While They Wait


PUBLISHED ON Oct 14 2014

By Sarvary Koller '15

Piano melodies of Chopin, Mozart, and Gershwin drift through the air as Patricia Smith walks into the St. Vincent Heart Center lounge to wait for her husband during his surgery.

She enters the atrium, makes a beeline past the blaring television and concerned families, and takes a seat to listen as Butler University Adjunct Piano Professor Anna Briscoe performs.

Anna Briscoe said her performances at the St. Vincent Heart Center helped soothe anxious families.
Anna Briscoe said her performances at the St. Vincent Heart Center helped soothe anxious families.


“It’s soothing while you have to wait and wait and wait,” Smith said. “This place is noisy, but it covers that up. I think the music maybe keeps people from talking so loud.”

Briscoe plays at the Heart Center as a part of a new partnership between the hospital and the Jordan College of Arts School of Music. Faculty and student musicians will play informal lunchtime concerts at the Heart Center each week to share the power of music for healing and relaxation.

Susan Jacques, hospital chaplain, said the Heart Center agreed to host the concerts to support the spiritual health of families and loved ones waiting nervously in the lounge.

“This is a high-anxiety place,” Jacques said. “Your heart is life or death. Music is a way of feeding people’s souls to help them calm down a bit. It lifts their spirits.”

Briscoe said she enjoyed her first time playing piano at the Heart Center. She has played at retirement centers before, but she said she thinks her music has a different kind of impact here—it helps people relax and remember to just breathe.

“These people aren’t all obviously listening, but they are,” she said. “People go on their way, but if my music just for a moment lifted somebody, that’s wonderful.”

Larry Shapiro, Professor of Violin, said the idea for this partnership developed after Chuck Goehring, his longtime friend from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, proposed that the School of Music send student and faculty musicians to the hospital to heal through music.

Goehring underwent open-heart surgery at the Heart Center about six years ago, and Shapiro said his friend was bent on giving back to the hospital after his incredible care. Shapiro presented the idea to Lisa Brooks, Chair of the School of Music, and Ronald Caltabiano, Dean of the Jordan College of the Arts, several weeks ago, and they supported the idea.

The partnership is new to Butler this fall semester, but the School of Music aims to provide the hospital with a student, a faculty member, or a small chamber ensemble to play music on a weekly basis.

Ben Abel ’16, concertmaster of the Butler Symphony Orchestra, will play violin at the Heart Center sometime this week. Others scheduled to perform this month are guitar student Patrick Wright and former violin student Tricia Frasure.

Briscoe said she is already looking forward to a full season of festive music at the Heart Center.

“I just can’t wait to come back during the holidays,” she said, “for Christmas carols and Nutcracker selections.”


Bobby Fong Remembered for His Many Contributions to Butler


PUBLISHED ON Sep 30 2014

The event began with a video tribute that looked back at his 10 remarkable years at Butler and ended with the crowd singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

In between, speaker after speaker rose to celebrate the life of Bobby Fong, Butler’s 20th president, who died September 8 in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, where he had been serving as president of Ursinus College for the previous three years.

President Danko was among the speakers to honor Bobby Fong.
President Danko was among the speakers to honor Bobby Fong.


“The secret to my father’s success is that he loved you,” Fong’s son Colin told an audience that included his mother, Suzanne, September 28 at Clowes Memorial Hall. “He loved you all, just as he loved his own family, and lived to see you succeed.”

Colin Fong was the last of nearly a dozen speakers, a lineup that included 21st President James M. Danko, former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, College of Education Dean Ena Shelley, Political Science Professor Margaret Brabant, trustees, and alumni. Levester Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs, served as master of ceremonies; the Butler University Chorale provided musical interludes.

The speakers honored Fong’s achievements, which included balanced budgets, construction projects, and setting a warm, gentle tone for the University. They told stories about baseball and Oscar Wilde—Fong loved the New York Yankees and was an Oscar Wilde scholar. They praised his ability to connect with people in every walk of life, and expressed appreciation for the ways he touched their lives. Former Trustee Albert Chen urged the audience to “raise your hands in the air and say, ‘Well done.’ ”

Here are some other comments from the event:

James M. Danko: “His legacy of achievement, after 10 years of service on this campus, was remarkable. From academic excellence to facility improvements to higher levels of community engagement, Bobby Fong successfully led the transformation of Butler University from good to great and from a regional presence to a national one.”

Stephen Briganti ’64, who led the search committee that hired Bobby Fong: “The last candidate of the day was a man named Bobby Fong…. Bobby had a pad in front of him, and he told us what he thought Butler needed—before we had a chance to tell him what we wanted. And remarkably, what he said precisely matched the goals that we would challenge him with: 1. Balance the budget. 2. Raise the academic standards of Butler to higher levels. 3. Raise money. 4. Raise more money. Bobby then proceeded to interview us. And that was it. We had our president.”

Bart Peterson: “Bobby’s stated goals were to lift Butler University academically and financially, to enhance the quality of student life, and to integrate the University into the life of our city. This latter was the first thing that he said to me when he met. He did all of these things, of course.”

Ena Shelley: “When Butler University was approached by (Indianapolis Public Schools) Superintendent Eugene White to develop a partnership with Shortridge Magnet High School, Bobby immediately said yes…. When Butler was presented with the opportunity to open the IPS-Butler Lab School, Bobby once again immediately jumped at the chance…. He believed in my colleagues in the College of Education. He believed in all of us. He believed in me as the Dean. And most importantly, he believed that every child deserves the opportunity to a high-quality education.”

Margaret Brabant: “Waple Cumberbatch works in Butler University’s Building Services. She told me that the year she received Butler University’s Top Dawg Award that she and the other recipients of the award were invited to Bobby and Suzanne’s home for dinner. She said that he took the time to ask her what she wanted to drink and insisted that he be the one to bring her her drink. She said, ‘During dinner he insisted that I sit right next to him—right next to him!—and he talked to me throughout the dinner.’ And with lingering wonderment, she looked at me and said, ‘He treated me like I was someone special.’ Which, of course, she is.”

Todd Bolster ’05: “It’s very rare to meet someone with the innate combination of remarkable intellect and sincere kindness. I think that’s what I’ll remember Bobby for the most. It was as easy for him to talk about Mariano Rivera’s abilities as a closer as it was to passionately debate his views on the transformative power of education. He meant a lot to me as a friend, he meant a lot to me as a student, but I think as much as anything, I will learn and take away his ability to lead from within.”

Warren Morgan ’06: "I remember having a one-on-one with Dr. Fong during my sophomore year at Butler. I shared with him some challenges I was facing and asked him for some advice. After intently listening to my concerns, he gave me some advice that I still follow to this day. He said, ‘Warren, you are a strong leader. Do not allow the challenges to interfere with your destined success. Follow your chosen path, and be the best Warren and leader you can be.’ ”

Laura Michel ’08: “ ‘Personable,’ ‘visible on campus,’ ‘student-centered and ‘forward-thinking’ are all phrases that describe the student perspective of Dr. Fong during his time at Butler University. Dr. Fong truly enhanced the quality of the student experience during his tenure at Butler. Dr. Fong was passionate about listening to student suggestions and ideas and strived to make decisions based on what the students and campus needed.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Love That Took Root in Holcomb Gardens Finds a New Way to Bloom


PUBLISHED ON Sep 22 2014

On September 22, 1974, Sharon Leininger ’70 and Michael Nemeroff got married in Holcomb Gardens.

Forty years later, they returned—this time to plant a Japanese maple tree to commemorate their 40th anniversary.

_BS21843“At first, I was going to make this a surprise,” Mike said, “but everything else we’ve done in our marriage has been a partnership. So about a year ago, I asked her, ‘Would you like to do this?’ She thought about it and decided she would, and we made every decision together along the way—which is the way we do everything.”

The Nemeroffs first met in Indianapolis in 1972 when he was in the Army and she was working in politics. “She didn’t like someone like me at the time,” Mike said.

About a year later, they met again, this time in Washington, D.C. “She liked me better then,” he said.

They got married a year later, with Doug Petersen, Nemeroff’s college roommate and a Presbyterian minister, performing the ceremony. On Monday, Petersen was back, along with his wife, Anne, to help the Nemeroffs celebrate.

The tree planting idea was in the works for a year and a half. Mike Nemeroff contacted Graham Honaker, Senior Development Officer, who made the arrangements, which included a sparkling wine toast and flowers.

“It’s a nice way to celebrate 40 years,” Honaker said.

The Nemeroffs, who made a gift to Butler in honor of their anniversary, agreed.

“We’ve raised three kids together—she’s done most of the work—our kids are very successful, and we’ve been happy together the whole time,” Mike said. “Based on a sample of one, I think Butler women are pretty terrific.”

“It was special to be married here,” Sharon said. “This is very lovely.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan



Officer Davis: 'A Hero Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice'


PUBLISHED ON Sep 22 2014

Butler University Police Officer James Davis, who was killed in the line of duty on September 24, 2004, was remembered on the 10th anniversary of his death as “a professional, friendly, and caring individual” and “a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for this campus, the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood, and the city of Indianapolis.”

Assistant Chief Andrew Ryan and the family of Officer James Davis, at the unveiling of the sign remembering Davis outside Hinkle Fieldhouse
Assistant Chief Andrew Ryan and the family of Officer James Davis, at the unveiling of the sign remembering Davis outside Hinkle Fieldhouse


“If there is anything we can do to show our continued thanks for James, it is to make sure we never forget him,” Assistant Police Chief Andrew Ryan told an audience of about 75 that included Davis’s widow, Veleda; their children Josiah, Jarren, and Jaedyn; Veleda Davis's parents; police officers; administrators; and others outside Hinkle Fieldhouse, where Davis was killed.

To remember Davis, a sign was unveiled in his honor as part of the Fallen Officers Legacy Project, which memorializes officers killed in the line of duty. In addition, the Holcomb Carillon bells chimed 10 times in recognition of the 10th anniversary.

Butler President James M. Danko said the community owes Davis a great debt for his bravery and sacrifice.

“I know from his reputation that he was a courageous and kind police officer,” Danko said. “And, I know, from looking at his family members here today, that he was a loving husband and father.”

Josiah Davis, who was 8 at the time of his father’s death and is now a high school senior, said his father was an “optimistic, caring, and strong person,” who loved being a police officer. Josiah thanked the Butler community for being there for him and his family.

“It was a little hard for me to cope with the death of my father,” he said, “but the Butler University community took us all in. They gave me math tutoring, and, whenever I or anyone in my family needed anything, they were there as soon as possible, with big, embracing arms and wide smiles.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Student LifeCommunity

Bulldogs Break Out of the Bubble and Into Indianapolis

BY Savary Koller

PUBLISHED ON Aug 26 2014

By Sarvary Koller

The temperature hovered around 90 degrees as freshmen Sidney Parrish and Julia Thomas pruned trees at Indianapolis’ Holliday Park. Parrish and Thomas volunteered at the park as a part of Bulldogs Into the Streets (BITS), an annual freshman orientation public-service program organized by Butler University’s Volunteer Center.

[caption id="attachment_20709" align="alignleft" width="290"]Sara Patel, left, an accounting major from Western Springs, Illinois, and Sidney Parrish, a pre-pharmacy major from Indianapolis, help prune trees at Holliday Park as part of BITS. Sara Patel, left, an accounting major from Western Springs, Illinois, and Sidney Parrish, a pre-pharmacy major from Indianapolis, help prune trees at Holliday Park as part of BITS.[/caption]

Gardening and cleaning up Holliday Park on a humid, summer day made for exhausting work, but the two said they loved the opportunity to venture out of the Butler bubble and make a difference in the surrounding Indianapolis community.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Thomas, a business major from Bay Village, Ohio, said. “I’ve gotten to meet a lot of new people, and it helps involve us in Indianapolis. A lot of us aren’t from the area, so it’s helped to transition us to living here.”

“We’ve connected more as a group,” added Parrish, a pre-pharmacy major from Indianapolis, Indiana. “I came in today not knowing anybody, and now I’ve already made friends with new people in my class.”

Holliday Park Volunteer Coordinator Katie Neill said the 15 Butler volunteers transformed the park’s playground area by pulling weeds, raking mulch, trimming trees, and sweeping sidewalks. With a full-time park staff of four, Neill said she is grateful for the students’ hard work.

“Our playground does need help,” Neill said. “Every year, we try to have a project that shows the students that they’ve made a difference. We depend on volunteers for everything, and we love when the students come out and help keep the park looking nice for the community.”

Sam Thomas, Volunteer Center Events Coordinator and sophomore Political Science and Economics major, spent most of last semester and this summer being called “the BITS guy” as he worked with places like Holliday Park to coordinate volunteer projects for BITS participants.

About 545 volunteers donated their time to 19 agencies across the greater Indianapolis area this year, but Thomas said BITS is about more than just service work.

“The 1,500 hours of community service is awesome,” Thomas said, “but what BITS does is show freshmen that they can make a difference in their new home and community right off the bat during their first week on campus.”

Freshmen Moriah Riggs and Nicolina Cecere said they, too, appreciated their BITS experience at Joy’s House Adult Day Service in Broad Ripple as new Butler Bulldogs looking to get acclimated in Indianapolis.  

Riggs and Cecere spent time playing bingo and conversing with visitors to Joy’s House, an adult day service for community adults with physical and mental disabilities who are no longer able to stay at home safely.

[caption id="attachment_20710" align="alignright" width="400"]Butler volunteers visiting 19 agencies on Tuesday, including Butler volunteers visiting 19 agencies on Tuesday, including Chapel Glen Elementary School.[/caption]

“It’s nice to just talk to the people here,” Cecere, a sociology major from Minneapolis, Minnesota, said. “It’s cool because not only do we get to go out in Indianapolis, but we get to meet other people from our class and the community. I didn’t know any of these people before today.”

Candace Preston, Joy’s House caregiver and Program Manager, said the house guests love the opportunity to meet and interact with the Butler students.

“They love seeing a set of different faces,” Preston said. “They see us Monday through Friday all day, and now they get to spend time with new people. Plus, it benefits the Butler students by showing them that old people aren’t scary or boring. We have some volunteers who come for a couple hours and then decide to come back.”

Thomas said the goal of BITS is to recruit freshman volunteers and encourage them to take advantage of future service opportunities in Indianapolis.

According to Thomas, the Volunteer Center will host a Volunteer Opportunities Fair on September 5 to provide an experience where students can discover new community volunteer options. The fair will include many of the agencies that hosted students during BITS this year.

“Hopefully we’ll get some BITS volunteers signed up for more service activities at the fair,” Thomas said. “This program is mutually beneficial for both students and service agencies in our community.”



COE Efforts Earn National and Local Attention


PUBLISHED ON Apr 22 2014

The good work being done by the Butler University College of Education (COE) has earned national and local attention.

Author Marla Olthof, who spent time at IPS/Butler Laboratory School in 2012 to learn about its outdoor education efforts, has featured the school in her new book, Gardening with Young Children: Second Edition of Hollyhocks and Honeybees.

The Lab School is featured in a two-page spread on pages 106-107, and numerous photographs of Lab School students are displayed throughout the book. The Lab School’s “edible schoolyard” project was funded in part through a $12,000 Dow Promise Grant to Butler. COE students developed the grant proposal and the initial Lab School gardens last spring as part of a “Leadership in Education” course.

The COE collaborates with Indianapolis Public Schools in the Lab School's curriculum development and operations. All faculty hold Butler education degrees.

Also, an early childhood documentary called Little Children, Big Returns, featuring interviews with Dean Ena Shelley and Ted Maple ’01, will air May 8 at 9:00 p.m. on WFYI-1 (Channel 20). Maple is president and CEO of Day Nursery, which operates seven Indianapolis-area child care centers that provide care daily to more than 750 children ages infant to 6 years old.

The documentary delves into the positive business and financial impact properly funded pre-kindergarten programs have on the state. Preview it here:


Media contact:
Marc Allan