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Butler Community Arts School Offers Piano For Autistic Students

BY

PUBLISHED ON Nov 08 2017

Inside a Lilly Hall practice room, a father is sitting on the piano bench next to his 6-year-old son, encouraging the boy to look at the sheet music and play.

“Play this one, play this one,” Dad says, pointing. “Play a ‘D.’”

The boy plays the note.

“And there’s that sharp,” says the piano teacher, who’s sitting to the side. “See that sharp there?”

The boy plays the next note. “Yes!” the teacher says.

Then the boy, who is autistic, stops and lets out a howl of sadness, as if he doesn’t want to play anymore. He hugs his father and turns away from the piano. Then, just as quickly, he’s back around, his hands on the keys.

“Play,” his father says. “‘D.’”

The entire 45-minute lesson takes place in fits and starts like this, with the teacher and the boy’s father coaxing him through pieces of a song. As soon as he’s finished, the boy climbs from the piano bench and heads to a chair to watch videos on a phone. His father directs him back to the bench.

The boy started taking piano lessons in the summer after his parents found a flyer in a doctor’s office advertising piano lessons for children on the autism spectrum. The teacher, Marge Lucas ’97 MM ’00, has been offering these lessons through the Butler Community Arts School since January.

 

 

Lucas believes music is highly successful in the development of neural circuits for cognitive processing, and she has developed a method of music instruction—honed at Butler and in graduate studies at Indiana University-Bloomington—that is applied to the individual learning style and personality of the student.

Her method involves a combination of letters, colors, and sounds that help students process the information needed to play music while developing motor and language skills.

She explains it like this: “For children with autism, they have overconnectivity and underconnectivity. The ones I get are usually already gifted in music, and they have absolute pitch. So their right hemisphere is overconnected. The left hemisphere is language. So they’re overconnected in spatial skills. But they are underconnected in language. Therefore, they can’t express themselves. But if you develop their musical ability and teach them according to the natural progressions of scale degrees and chords, their brain is wired to hear that.”

Lucas, who has Asperger syndrome, says she can understand her students, whereas other people don’t. And she says she has seen her methods work. One student, who started out “almost non-verbal and definitely in his own world,” developed the ability, after eight years of lessons, to do music theory on a graduate level. Another, a 12-year-old she’s been teaching for three years, went from banging on the low notes of the piano to being able to play the title theme from The Legend of Zelda video game.

With the 6-year-old, she had an extraordinary breakthrough two weeks later when the boy began to get distraught. His father said something to him, and the boy responded, “I’m tired.”

“His parents looked at each other, stunned.” Lucas said. “They said they had never heard him say anything like that ever before. Instead of a wail came a short sentence. It made my day.”

The father of the 6-year-old student says Lucas’ methods do work. His son practices piano every day.

“My son is very intelligent,” he says, “but it’s a different kind of intelligence.”

Butler Community Arts School Director Karen Thickstun says she regularly gets calls from parents whose children have autism, asking if she had a teacher who works with students who have learning differences.

“Most of the time, I had to say no,” Thickstun says, “because our teachers are primarily college students and they’re not yet trained to teach more than the traditional approaches to teaching.”

When Thickstun did offer a referral, it was to Lucas, who has been teaching privately for years. Last year, she talked to Lucas about devoting a day to teaching at Butler. Lucas’ presence proved so popular that she is now at Butler for more than a day each week, teaching six to 10 students.

“She’s one of the very few piano teachers in the state—maybe in the Midwest—who’s specializing in developing piano materials to reach autistic children,” Thickstun says.

Lucas’ presence also benefits Butler students, who can watch what she’s doing. Thickstun says the skills Lucas has are ones that teachers are going to need to know more and more.

Thickstun says that what Lucas does requires patience, but also the ability to think differently.

“She has to get into their mind and find different materials that fit,” Thickstun says. “In the students I see her work with, the materials are different for each child. She’s very much trying to figure out that particular child. Marge has been a great addition to the Butler Community Arts School. Part of our mission is access to the arts for everybody, and this is a demographic we have typically not been able to serve.”

The Butler Community Arts School is grateful for the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, the Indianapolis Foundation of Central Indiana Community Foundation, the Summer Youth Program Fund, and the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation.

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

Arts & CultureCommunity

Director In The Making: Julia Hren

BY Hannah Hartzell ’17

PUBLISHED ON Oct 12 2017

The Butler senior participated in the production of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.’

Things move swiftly in the theater world. That’s something Julia Hren ’18 can attest to. Last spring, the Theatre Production and Strategic Communications major was recommended for an internship at the Indianapolis Reparatory Theater (IRT).

Risa Brainin, the director of the production The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,needed an assistant. Hren said she was interested.

Julia Hren in the lobby of the Indiana Repertory Theatre. She interned with the IRT during ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.’

Three days later, Hren was sitting in on auditions. It only got busier from there.

“There were various Skype meetings with designers [over the summer],” Hren said. “Then, everyone got together to talk about preplans for the set and costumes…. It was very fast paced.”

Rehearsals began in late August and continued until opening night on September 22. (The show ran through October 14.) Somehow, Hren balanced the nine-hour-long rehearsal days with a full load of classes at Butler.

The experience came with struggles though—like a relapse of mononucleosis. Still, Hren said it was all worth it.

“It is one of the most touching shows I’ve ever read or seen,” she said. “When I first read the script, I actually cried. It’s so wonderful.”

The Incident, which won the 2015 Tony for Best Play, tells the story of an autistic teenager, Christopher, who witnesses a mysterious event and goes on a quest for the answers.

“The show is really moving,” she said. Perhaps even more so to Hren, who has been a part of the production from the beginning.

“[The cast and crew] really wanted me to get something out of this,” she said. “In the end, it was a wonderful process and one of the best experiences of my life.”

She also feels more prepared for life after Butler.

“Before, I would look at the IRT from the outside and think it looked cool. Now, I know how it functions … and the way [it] functions is incredible. The whole show came together in about a month.”

So, what’s the talented senior up to in the coming months? Probably recovering from mono and planning for graduation.

“My dream job is to do PR and advertising for a theater,” she said, before adding: “I also would also love to direct.”

Arts & CultureCommunity

Director In The Making: Julia Hren

Things move swiftly in the theater world. That’s something Julia Hren ’18 can attest to. Last spring, the Theatre Production and Strategic Communications major was recommended for an internship at the Indianapolis Reparatory Theater (IRT).

Oct 12 2017 Read more
AcademicsCommunity

Wherefore Art Thou, Juliet Blue? In a Butler Chemistry Lab

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 02 2017

A “happy accident” leads to a scientific discovery.

In a couple of weeks, some chemists in Verona, Italy, are going to find out what’s been happening in a Butler University Chemistry lab, and they’re going to be grateful.

They’re going to be notified that junior Ben Dawson, working with Chemistry Professor Anne Wilson this past summer, has replicated a pigment that matched a color called Juliet blue that the Italian chemists had discovered on historical artifacts.

“I think they’ll be excited that somebody’s actually making these,” Wilson said. “People have been talking about these pigments but not making them.”

The Italian scientists’ discovery of Juliet blue goes back to 2010. They laid out the problem in a paper they published: Their museum had placed several ancient flints, used for making arrowheads, in storage. They had put the flints in a drawer, on rubber mats to keep them from breaking. When they opened the drawer, they found that a chemical reaction had occurred. The flints, which were gray, had turned blue—a color the chemists would later call Juliet blue.

The chemists thought the color on the flints was derived from a volatile organic component that was coming from the rubber mats, and that the culprit was a stabilizer that’s added to keep the rubber from falling apart over time.

Dr. Greg Smith, the Otto N. Frenzel III Senior Conservation Scientist at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, read the Italians’ paper and gave a copy to Wilson, asking if she thought someone at Butler might want to try to figure out a synthesis for Juliet blue. She thought that would be a great summer project for a student, so she had Dawson try to make the pigment. She paid him with an annual grant the Chemistry Department receives from Eli Lilly and Co. to do synthetic chemistry work.

“Initially, we were not having a lot of success” trying to re-create the chemical reaction that caused the discoloration, Wilson said. “Then Ben left out some things over the weekend, and some of his indicator plates had turned blue.”

Juliet blue.

“It was a very happy accident,” Wilson said.

Dawson confirmed that the way this blue pigment occurred on the surface of the flints was probably due to a combination of air oxidation, coupled with some contamination from the compound in the rubber mats. And he able to make additional quantities of the pigment.

“It’s a beautiful blue,” Wilson said. “It looks very Disney. It’s beautiful. It’s a great blue. It’s a lot of fun to be doing this and to see these great colors.”

Although reproducing Juliet blue is essentially an academic exercise, Wilson said, it could have practical applications. Butler Chemistry professors and students have done several projects with the Indianapolis Museum of Art on artworks that have faded over the centuries. Perhaps, Wilson said, this summer’s finding could be a step in figuring out how to treat, and possibly restore, artifacts that have been damaged.

“It’s exciting when you get scientists from different areas together and they start talking and trading ideas,” she said. “I think we’re very fortunate to be this close to the lab at the IMA. I think we’re very fortunate to be able to try things.”

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

AcademicsCommunity

Wherefore Art Thou, Juliet Blue? In a Butler Chemistry Lab

Chemists in Verona, Italy, will find out what’s been happening in a Butler University Chemistry lab.

Oct 02 2017 Read more
CommunityPeople

Butler Presents Eight Alumni Awards

BY

PUBLISHED ON Sep 27 2017

Honorees to receive their recognition during Homecoming Weekend.

Butler University will hold the annual Alumni Awards Recognition Program for extraordinary professional achievement and service to the University and their communities on Friday, October 20, at 6:00 PM in the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Butler Medal: Norman W. Wilkens ’57
  • Butler Service Medal: Dr. Robert Grechesky
  • Joseph Irwin Sweeney Award: Becky L. Ruby-Wojtowicz ’05
  • Hilton Ultimus Brown Award: Michael Hole ’08
  • Robert Todd Duncan Award: Wayne C. Burris ’77
  • Katharine Merrill Graydon Award: Kevin J. McDevitt ’77
  • Ovid Butler Society Mortar Award: Karen (Dietz) Colglazier ’70 MA’74 and John W. Colglazier
  • Foundation Award: Branden ’02 and Jenn Renner

Registration for the awards ceremony and all Homecoming activities can be made online at butler.edu/homecoming. More about the recipients and their awards follows.

Norman W. Wilkens ’57 (The Butler Medal)

Norman W. Wilkens, President, Wilkens Consulting LLC, has been active in marketing, advertising, education, and public relations in Indianapolis for over sixty years. A 1957 graduate of Butler University with a Bachelor of Science in Radio and Television, Wilkens began his career as an announcer and floor director/writer at WTTV (Channel 4). He joined WXLW radio as Continuity Director in 1958. Four years later, he joined Ruben Advertising in its Public Relations Division.

The next steps of his career included advertising and marketing in leading Indianapolis firms including Handley & Miller and Caldwell, Larkin, Sidener, and Van Riper. At that juncture, he and others formed McQuade, Wilkens, Bloomhorst Advertising.

Wilkens became a principal in Carlson & Co. Advertising as President/CEO. Seven years later, he merged the agency into Montgomery, Zuckerman & Davis (MZD) as Vice President and Account Supervisor. He left MZD to form an in­house agency for Standard Management Corporation, an international insurance holding company, in 1993.

In 1996, he spun the agency out of its in-house status and it became an independent firm under the banner Advertising Visions Inc. Five years later, the name was changed to Ambient Communications. In 2004, he dissolved the agency to serve as an independent marketing consultant emphasizing health care. Today, that entity is known as Wilkens Consulting LLC.

Wilkens has held teaching posts at Butler University (for 21 years), Indiana University, and Indiana Wesleyan University, as an instructor in broadcast writing, advertising, and public relations. His father, Dr. Irvin Wilkens, received his pre-medical degree from the old Butler Campus in lrvington.

The Butler Medal, the highest honor conferred by the Butler University Alumni Association, recognizes individuals for a lifetime of distinguished service to either Butler or their local community while at the same time achieving a distinguished career in their chosen profession.

Robert Grechesky (The Butler Service Medal)

Dr. Robert Grechesky is Emeritus Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Butler University. He taught conducting, music education courses, wind band history and literature, and euphonium, and he conducted the Butler Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble on four European tours. In 2014, he retired from active teaching after 41 years of service at Butler.

Grechesky received his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Rutgers University, and his Master of Music and doctorate in Music Education and Conducting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He was named a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest civilian award that the State of Indiana gives, by Governor Mike Pence, and in 2016 he was honored by his election to the Butler University Athletic Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of the A. Frank Martin Award, a national award given by Kappa Kappa Psi for outstanding service to college bands. Grechesky was named 2010 “Outstanding University Music Educator” by the Indiana Music Educators Association. He was selected as the 2010–2011 recipient of the James B. Calvert Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indiana Wind Symphony, and was named Outstanding Professor by the Butler Mortar Board.

He will be awarded the Butler Service Medal, which recognizes emeriti faculty or retired faculty and staff (alumnus or non-alumnus) for a lifetime of distinguished service to Butler University and to the community.

Becky L. Ruby-Wojtowicz ’05 (Joseph Irwin Sweeney Alumni Service Award)

Becky Ruby-Wojtowicz graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Arts Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (Public Relations).

After two years as Individual Giving Manager at the Indianapolis Zoo, and two years in a similar position at Wishard Health Foundation, she left to run lilly lane, a company she started in January 2008 to provide flowers, event-planning, and other services. (Her first client was a Butler alumnus.) lilly lane has now provided wedding flowers to over 600 couples, as well as corporate and non-profit clients.

Ruby-Wojtowicz was a four-year member of the Young Alumni Board, including one year as vice president and one as president, and has taught at Butler in the Arts Administration program.

She and her husband, Justin, have a daughter, Claire.

The award she is receiving is named for Joseph Irwin Sweeney, whose student career was cut short when he suffered an untimely death in summer 1900, prior to his senior year. It goes to a graduate who completed their degree within the past 15 years who has contributed significant service to the University.

Michael Hole ’08 (Hilton Ultimus Brown Alumni Achievement Award)

Dr. Michael Hole is a pediatrician and social entrepreneur who started his career as a case manager focused on child trafficking before founding two international development campaigns: Power of Children, which started a primary school for 350 students in post-conflict Uganda, and BeHaiti, which helped Partners in Health develop and distribute a vitamin-enriched food treating 50,000 malnourished youth yearly and support an orphanage for 64 disabled, abused, or homeless children abandoned during Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.

He completed residency at Harvard Medical School, where he trained at Boston Children’s Hospital, the world’s No. 1 children’s hospital as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, and Boston Medical Center, New England’s largest safety-net hospital. He earned an MD and MBA from Stanford University with concentrations in public management, community health, and social innovation, and he holds a Bachelor of Science cum laude with honors in Biology and Spanish from Butler University, where he was a Lilly Scholar and the 2008 Top Male Student.

In 2016, he co-launched StreetCred, an organization at the intersection of government and health systems helping low-income families build assets while they wait in pediatric clinics and hospitals. Featured by The Boston Globe and CBS News, StreetCred has returned more than $1.5 million in tax refunds to vulnerable families, which placed Hole on Forbes Magazine‘s 30 Under 30 list of social entrepreneurs.

The Hilton Ultimus Brown Alumni Achievement Award honors alumni who have exited the University within the past 15 years and have made major contributions to a career field or to society.

Kevin McDevitt ’77 (Katharine Merrill Graydon Alumni Service Award)

Kevin McDevitt, Senior Vice President-Wealth Management for UBS Financial Services Inc., graduated from Butler University with a degree in mathematics and went on to earn his MBA in finance from the University of Detroit. He is a Certified Financial Planner and is a member of the Investment Management Consulting Association. He is a member of UBS’s distinguished Director’s Club, which recognizes the top Financial Advisors in the firm. McDevitt has worked for UBS for 30 years.

McDevitt is the current President and a founding member of the Butler University Detroit Alumni Chapter and has been a member of the Ovid Butler Society for the past five years. He also was a supporter of the Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse.

In the Detroit community, he has served as a former Introduction Leader of Landmark Education, past President of Marian Athletic Club, and member of the Finance Committee at St. Ireneaus Church.

McDevitt was a four-year letter-winner as a running back on Butler’s football teams, 1973–1976. He led the NCAA (all divisions) in kickoff returns in 1975, and he still holds Butler’s career record for kickoff returns. He won the conference scoring title in 1974, and he became the first Butler football player to score 100 points in a season in 1976. In 2003, he was inducted into the Butler Athletic Hall of Fame.

He and his beloved late wife, Kathy ’78, met at Butler. They have four children, including daughter Shannon, who is a senior at Butler this fall. Shannon is a Health Science and Business major and is a member of the Butler’s Women’s Soccer Team. In 2016, she was named to the All-BIG EAST Conference Second Team.

He is receiving the Katharine Merrill Graydon Alumni Service Award, which is presented to a graduate who received their degree more than 15 years prior to the presentation of the award in recognition of outstanding service to Butler University.

Wayne C. Burris ’77 (Robert Todd Duncan Alumni Achievement Award)

As Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Roche Diagnostics Corp.—a position he has held since 1996—Wayne Burris uses his strong background in U.S. and international accounting and finance experience dealing with business and reporting issues to provide strategic and tactical advice for the many Roche businesses.

He was a founding member of the Roche Diagnostics-North American STAR initiative that generated over $100 million in purchasing savings and has since become a global initiative, and he served on the Diagnostics Investment Committee tasked with deciding how to allocate and approve over $500 million in annual capital investments.

Prior to his current position, Burris was Head of Global Finance for Patient Care and, before that, was Vice President of Finance. Before joining Roche Diagnostics in 1986, he was Senior Manager for Price Waterhouse LLP, focusing on clients in the financial service industry and on global healthcare manufacturers in diagnostics, orthopedics, and pharmaceuticals.

Burris, a Certified Public Accountant, is a native of Indianapolis. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Finance from Butler University, where he was voted one of the Top Ten Male Students and was named the Outstanding Male Student of his graduating class. He was a recipient of an Ernst & Young scholarship in accounting, and in 2002, he was inducted into the Butler University Athletic Hall of Fame.

He is being honored with the Robert Todd Duncan Alumni Achievement Award, which is presented to a Butler graduate who received their degree more than 15 years prior to the presentation of the award in recognition of outstanding contributions in a career field or to society.

Karen (Dietz) Colglazier ’70 MA ’74 and John W. Colglazier (Ovid Butler Society Mortar Award)

Karen and John, “Bud,” Colglazier have been Ovid Butler Society members since 2002. Karen joined the OBS Executive Committee in 2008 and served as the chairperson for three years. She also served on the Butler Parent-Faculty Council (2002–2003) and in the fall of 2005 joined the Board of Visitors for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which she is still a member of today.

Karen, an Indianapolis native, spent her childhood playing in the sand under the bleachers and running the ramps of Hinkle Fieldhouse, rolling down the grassy hill onto the football field, and sledding behind the Butler Bowl. Her father, Bob Dietz ’41, was an All-American basketball player at Butler and long-time assistant Men’s Basketball coach to Tony Hinkle from 1947–1970. Karen attended Butler for her undergraduate and graduate degrees, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in History/Political Science and her Master of Arts in American History.

In the summer of 1974 she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for study and travel in India, an achievement she credits to the rigorous curriculum of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Karen taught social studies in Indianapolis Public Schools and Hamilton Southeastern High School, and was a Title IX girl’s tennis coach, being a part of the first high school girls’ tennis program in IPS in 1971.

Bud is owner and President of Don Hinds Ford in Fishers, Indiana. He is a 1967 graduate of Indiana University Kelley School of Business and a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity.

The Colglaziers are the parents of three children—sons John and Mark and daughter Carrie. John and Mark are part of the management team at Don Hinds Ford. Carrie, a member of the Butler Women’s Soccer team studying in the pre-PA program, was killed by a drunk driver June 6, 2003. In 2006, Bud and Karen established an endowed scholarship in Carrie’s memory to benefit a Butler Women’s Soccer player who best exemplifies the Butler Way.

The Mortar Award, created in 1995, honors one person or couple each year who personifies the Butler spirit by demonstrating great vision, leadership, and generosity to Butler University.

Branden ’02 and Jenn Renner (The Foundation Award)

Branden and Jenn Renner were one of the first pledges to the new Butler Andre B. Lacy School of Business building, and their contribution will result in a conference room being named for them.

Brandon, who played football for Butler, graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. He is now Associate Vice President, Investments & Financial Advisor for Renner Masariu Wealth Management of Raymond James—one of the youngest vice presidents in Raymond James’ 50-year history. He has also been a consecutive five-year winner of the Achiever’s Club Award and has been nominated as one of Five Star Professional’s Top Wealth Advisors in Indianapolis.

He is a member of the Indiana Motor Truck Association’s Executive Committee and the chairman of their Allied Committee, past President of the Butler Young Alumni Board and Central Indiana Alumni Chapter, and past member of the Ovid Butler Society Executive Committee, Career Services Advisory Board, and Alumni Engagement Subcommittee for the Board of Trustees.

In addition, he has won the Joseph Irwin Sweeney Alumni Service Award and the Barbara Busche OBS Award, and was the Rotary Foundation’s Paul Harris Fellow.

Jenn graduated from Purdue University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education. She was an Avon Community School Corporation elementary-school teacher and is now a stay-at-home mom with sons Luke and Logan. She works as a Beachbody coach and is active with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The Foundation Award, created in 2011, honors one person or couple (age 40 and younger) each year who personifies the Butler spirit by demonstrating leadership and generosity to Butler University.

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

CommunityPeople

Butler Presents Eight Alumni Awards

Honorees to receive their recognition during Homecoming Weekend.

Butler University will hold the annual Alumni Awards Recognition Program for extraordinary professional achievement and service to the University and their communities on Friday, October 20, at 6:00 PM in the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts.

Sep 27 2017 Read more
Hurricane Irma Destruction
CampusCommunity

Hurricane Irma, Up Close and Personal

BY Hannah Hartzell ’17

PUBLISHED ON Sep 18 2017

September 6 was supposed to be the first day of school in the U.S Virgin Islands. Teachers like Vanessa Mackenzie were supposed to start lessons.

Then Hurricane Irma struck. You can’t hold class when a Category 5 hurricane is barreling through the Caribbean.

Mackenzie, who graduated from Butler in 2015, had recently moved to the Caribbean and was slated to begin her first year of teaching on the island of St. Thomas. When we spoke the week after the hurricane, she was just hoping her students were safe and had a place to sleep.

“Half of my students live on St. John and the other half live in the part of the island that was completely devastated,” Mackenzie said. “I don’t know what kind of devastation they are going home to, or not going home to.”

It’s not only homes that are destroyed. Mackenzie said power lines are strewn across the streets. Cars have no windows. Trees are stripped bare.

With the island in disarray, citizens are on a curfew. They are only allowed outside between noon and 6:00 PM. During those hours, Mackenzie said everyone wants three things: gas, ice, and water.

“It’s unbelievable how important those things have become,” said Mackenzie, who stayed in a hotel on the south portion of the island during the hurricane—and returned to find her house still standing. “You need gas for your car and your generator, and water is essential on a Caribbean island.”

Citizens are unsure when the next shipment of supplies will come, so they are relying on the generators for power. “We need electricians, contractors, and construction workers,” Mackenzie said. “We need national help.”

For now, Mackenzie is running her generator for a few hours a day, just enough to keep food cold.

She’s also utilizing a Facebook group where people are sharing information about where they’ve found provisions. “That’s how I’m finding out where ice is available,” she said. “That’s how we’re spreading information.”

Those that don’t have internet are relying on word of mouth and the help of neighbors.

“Every time you approach someone in the street, they ask how you are and how your family is,” Mackenzie said. “There have been a lot of people helping and that’s the coolest part.”

The islanders have been told it will take six to 12 months to restore power. There’s no word on when the students will start school again.

“Private schools are getting back in class sporadically,” Mackenzie said. “But I work for a public-school system and I lost all the windows in my classroom. The wall is concave.”

One of the school buildings that is intact is being used by the Red Cross for disaster relief.

Mackenzie though, hopes classes can resume quickly.

“Coming back to school will be the only sense of normal stability for these kids. There’s no routine right now.”

The children are learning one lesson you can’t learn in a classroom though: resiliency.

“We’re going to rebuild,” said Mackenzie. “We’re going to be OK.”

Hurricane Irma Destruction
CampusCommunity

Hurricane Irma, Up Close and Personal

Vanessa Mackenzie ’15, who is teaching on the U.S. Virgin Islands, hopes to get back to her classroom soon.

Sep 18 2017 Read more
Community

The Speak Easy, A Butler Partner, To Add Second Location

BY

PUBLISHED ON Sep 11 2017

The Speak Easy, a member based non-profit organization that brings established businesses and entrepreneurs together in the spirit of growth and acceleration, will open a second, downtown location this summer with founding partners Butler University, Bruce A. Bodner Company, Inc., and Nextech.

The Speak Easy Downtown will be located within the Mile Square in the historical Morrison Opera House building at 47 S. Meridian St. Its doors are scheduled to open July 2016.

Founded in 2011, The Speak Easy has graduated over 170 new companies from its Broad Ripple location. The approximately 300 active members of The Speak Easy range in size from small to medium sized locally owned businesses, to high-growth startups and established enterprise companies.

“When you look at research surrounding innovation hubs throughout the country, you find the most successful ones involve partnerships across multiple organizations with differing backgrounds,” said The Speak Easy Executive Director Danielle McDowell. “We want to accelerate the growth of these companies by convening the right players in our community – like Butler, Bodner, and Nextech – to set The Speak Easy apart as an institution for collaboration, not just business incubation.”

Like its Broad Ripple location, the Speak Easy Downtown will provide an inspirational and collaborative environment for entrepreneurs; however, it’s strategic focus will extend beyond early-stage companies and offer resources and programs to fuel the success of companies in the growing and scaling stages. In addition, with founding partners Nextech and Butler, the focus will expand beyond the current community of entrepreneurs to also include Indy’s next generation of innovators and business leaders.

“Thanks to our partners, the Speak Easy Downtown will be a hub of mentorship and critical business resources such as education, funding, and talent,” added Andy Clark, Board Chairman and co-founder of The Speak Easy. “This project is about serving our community of entrepreneurs by giving them the space and the resources to grow.”

The new location will offer co-working concepts, reservable desks, and small-office micro leasing. In collaboration with founding partners, the space will include programming, education opportunities, and exposure to collaboration resources needed to accelerate business.

“Butler University is passionate about innovation and community,” said Butler President James M. Danko. “This new partnership with the Speak Easy Downtown will allow us to further our support of Central Indiana businesses and entrepreneurs, while also providing exceptional opportunities for our students, faculty, and alumni to connect and collaborate.”

The Speak Easy was founded in 2011 with a mission to cultivate the healthiest entrepreneurial ecosystem, anywhere. Since openings its doors to the Indianapolis community five years ago, it has brought together active and engaged entrepreneurs at every stage of business.

For more information on the Speak Easy, visit https://www.speakeasyindy.com/.

Community

The Speak Easy, A Butler Partner, To Add Second Location

The Speak Easy, a member based non-profit organization that brings established businesses and entrepreneurs together in the spirit of growth and acceleration, will open a second, downtown location this summer with founding partners Butler University, Bruce A. Bodner Company, Inc., and Nextech.

Sep 11 2017 Read more
AcademicsCommunity

Yoga Gives Lab School Students Time to Breathe

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 13 2017

 

 

It’s after lunch in 1990 Butler graduate Lisa Gundaker’s kindergarten/first-grade class at the IPS/Butler University Laboratory School, and that means it’s time for downward-facing dog, star pose, and tree position.

She turns off the lights and puts on a recording of forest sounds—crickets chirping, birds calling.

“Take a deep breath in,” she instructs. “Lower your arms and let your breath out.”

Most of her 20 or so students, who have scattered around the room, stretch and balance themselves silently as their teacher leads them through various yoga moves. Some curl up with little stuffed animals they call “breathing buddies” and rest quietly.

“Think about your day,” she says as she walks around the room spraying a lavender/peppermint mist. “Think about one positive thing that’s happened today.”

For these 10 minutes, a quiet calm takes over the room.

 

The yoga exercises Gundaker leads in her classroom are replicated daily throughout the Lab School—and have been since the elementary school reopened five years ago as a partnership between the Indianapolis Public Schools and Butler. The idea is to relieve stress, to give the students a chance to move purposefully, and teach them how to calm down and focus.

“It gives them a time to be by themselves,” Gundaker says later. “We’re together, we’re together, we’re together. We’d just come back from recess and lunch. My thinking about adding yoga to quiet times is that children learn to slow down and reflect. They get to know themselves better and they can take it home too.”

Yoga at the Lab School started when Heather Williams, then the administrative assistant, saw that some classrooms were struggling to stay focused. She started in one classroom and soon was in all of them. As the Lab School grew—it started with kindergarten and first grade and has added a grade every year—so did Williams’ responsibilities.

Today, her title is Yoga Instructor/Researcher, and she’s paid, in part, from a three-year, $150,000 grant from PNC Bank, a major supporter of the Lab School.

"PNC's signature philanthropic cause is early childhood education, which is supported through its Grow Up Great program," PNC Senior Vice President Jeff Kucer said. "The Lab School was a perfect fit for us."

Williams said the yoga program’s positive effects can be seen in students across the school. For some, like Ella, a student in Gundaker’s class, yoga is fun.

“I like yoga,” she says, “because it kind of makes you relax sometimes and it makes you focus. And it feels good.”

For others, yoga is vital. Williams tells the story of a Lab School student who has lost both parents to murder. He’s a quiet, soft-spoken kid, but when he gets worked up, no one can seem to quite get him back down, she said. They’ve done yoga together, and the boy’s grandmother has told Williams that he will go home and do the exercises on his own.

“There is a ton of scientific research backing up yoga, breathing, and mindfulness—how it not only helps academically but also with life skills,” she said. “Now there are a lot more people taking it seriously and doing the research on it to back that up. If you’re going to teach someone academics but you don’t teach them how to deal with emotions or teach them life skills, then you’re not teaching the whole child. If they don’t know how to deal with their inner struggles, it’s going to affect them one way or another.”

 

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

AcademicsCommunity

Yoga Gives Lab School Students Time to Breathe

It’s after lunch in 1990 Butler graduate Lisa Gundaker’s kindergarten/first-grade class at the IPS/Butler University Laboratory School, and that means it’s time for downward-facing dog, star pose, and tree position.

Mar 13 2017 Read more
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Butler Elects Two to the Board of Trustees

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PUBLISHED ON Oct 20 2016

The Butler University Board of Trustees has 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.
Robert Wildman

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. He is also in-house counsel for the Greg Allen Companies, which develop commercial estate projects in the Indianapolis area. In addition, Wildman is the President of his late father’s company, Roundhill Development Inc.; a real estate holding company.

Prior to joining Bose McKinney, Wildman was a partner at Henderson Daily Withrow & DeVoe in Indianapolis.

Wildman is a member of the Indianapolis Bar Association (business law and land use sections), the Indiana State Bar Association (probate, trust, and real property and business law sections), the American Bar Association, the Venture Club of Indiana (former board member), Cambridge Ventures (Investment Committee and Advisory Committee) and SVCapital (former Advisory Committee member). He is included in The Best Lawyers in America (2007–2016) and was named an Indiana Super Lawyer by Indianapolis Monthly magazine (2004). He currently serves on the finance committee of the St Vincent’s Foundation

He earned both his bachelor’s (magna cum laude, 1969) and juris doctor (1972) from Indiana University-Bloomington.

His wife, Jane E. Wildman, is the recently retired Student Services Coordinator for Counseling at Carmel High School. She has served on several civic boards focusing on education, including Promising Futures of Central Indiana and Indiana Student Assistance Professionals Inc.

Lynne Zydowsky is an experienced executive in the Life Sciences industry who has been involved in the launching and building of many successful companies.
Lynne Zydwosky

As President of Zydowsky Consultants, a consulting practice founded in 2003 offering services to emerging companies, she works with founders, investors, and management teams to build the foundations of life science companies.

With over 25 years of industry experience, she has played a key role in raising private capital, setting overall corporate strategies, and establishing and managing strategic alliances.

In 2011, Zydowsky, together with Joel Marcus and Deeda Blair, co-founded the Alexandria Summit, an invitation-only gathering that brings together the world's foremost visionaries from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, medical, academic, financial, philanthropic, advocacy, and government to exchange ideas and shape future decisions about scientific development, policy and regulatory reform to tackle the most important global healthcare challenges and accelerate the discovery of life-saving therapies.

Zydowsky previously served as the initial President, Chief Operating Officer, and board member of Renovis Inc. (now Evotec), which she also co-founded. Prior to Renovis, she joined Exelixis Inc. as its first employee and held positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President of Pharmaceutical Business Development. As part of the executive management teams, she contributed to the growth and development of both companies, which led to their initial public offerings. She also previously worked as a Senior Research Scientist at ARIAD Pharmaceuticals Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline.

Zydowsky serves as a member of the West Coast Board for buildOn, an international non-profit organization focused on breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through its after-school, service-oriented programs for urban teens.

She earned her doctorate in Chemistry from the Ohio State University and was a National Institutes of Health (NIH) post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Butler University in 1981.

Zydowsky’s father, Robert C. Douthit ‘50 (COPHS), owned Douthit Drugs in Newton, Illinois, and her aunt, Patricia Henshaw, also attended Butler.

 

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

Community

Butler Elects Two to the Board of Trustees

The Butler University Board of Trustees has elected Attorney Robert T. Wildman and Life Sciences executive Lynne Zydowsky ’81 to special one-year terms on the Board.

Oct 20 2016 Read more
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CampusCommunity

Professor Rao's Artwork Is All Over Indy This Summer

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PUBLISHED ON Apr 28 2016

Summer break? What summer break?

Just as school is letting out, Art + Design Associate Professor Gautam Rao finds himself participating in three upcoming high-profile events.

IMG_9090The first is the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s miniature golf course, which opens to the public May 10. The course features 18 holes designed by local and regional artists, including Rao, who designed a hole called “Poplar Mechanics.” Rao’s design is inspired by Indiana’s woodlands and celebrates the state tree, tulip poplar, and the verdant forests of Brown County. It features abstract trees that recreate Indiana’s landscape in a subtle, artistic manner.

Rao also was one of 33 Indiana artists selected to design an artwork as part of the Welcome Race Fans project for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. These works will be exhibited all over town. His piece has appeared at the Indianapolis ArtsGarden, the International Airport and the Harrison Center for the Arts.

“For me, being an artist is about making a career and a life,” Rao said. “Finding a balance between the two can be a challenge. My project features original lettering and a typographic sculpture. And who better to welcome race fans than my twins, born in Indianapolis, little Hoosiers who we will be one in May. This photograph represents my artistic life in its entirety– my twins, and my art. Welcome Race Fans!”

rao_welcome race fans_finalAnd Rao will be exhibiting an outdoor artwork in this year's Installation Nation at the Indianapolis Art Center. Installation Nation is a 23-day exhibition presented by Primary Colours featuring site-specific art installations to be located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Center’s 9.5 acre ArtsPark.

Rao joined the Butler faculty in 2004. He is originally from Washington, DC, and has also lived in Bangalore, India. He earned a BFA at Boston University in 1999 and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. His distinctions include a Susan Coslett Cromwell Traveling Fellowship, and awards from the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

He recently exhibited his work at the Art Director's Club in New York, the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, The South Bend Art Museum, The Swope Art Museum, and in Typeforce 5 in Chicago.

 

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

 

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Community

Butler Partners With Be The Match to Honor Andrew Smith

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PUBLISHED ON Mar 22 2016

Butler University has entered into a partnership with Be The Match, which operates the national bone marrow registry, honoring the late Butler Bulldog Andrew Smith, who bravely fought a two-year battle with cancer. As an element of the partnership, Butler’s live bulldog mascot, Blue III (commonly referred to as “Trip”), has been named a national ambassador for Be The Match.

Andrew and Samantha Smith

The partnership’s goals are to raise awareness about the registry and add enough members to the Be The Match registry to be the equivalent of saving 44 lives, in honor of Smith who wore #44 during his time at Butler. With a 1:430 ratio of registrants to matches, 18,920 new and available Be The Match registry members are needed to meet this goal.

“What made Andrew special was the way that he genuinely cared for others, and we are proud to be in a position to raise awareness of his behalf,” Butler University Athletics Director Barry Collier said. “In collegiate athletics, we have the opportunity to shape young people’s lives. Through this partnership, we now have the opportunity to save lives as well.”

Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell, or another life-threatening blood disease. In some cases, a marrow transplant is the only cure. In 70 percent of cases, no family member is a donor match, so they turn to the Be The Match marrow registry. Nationally, the Be The Match registry has over 13 million members, but it is in desperate need of more young adult members who are available when called up to donate their marrow.

“We applaud and are so very appreciative for the Butler community channeling the wishes of Andrew to help Be The Match save more lives, said Mary Halet, Director of Donor Services at Be The Match. “The effort truly reflects the spirit, kindness and caring for others that Andrew lived his life by every day. We are honored and committed to carry on his legacy to help more patients in need.”

Smith was a beloved member of Butler University’s two-time NCAA Finals men’s basketball team. On January 12, 2016, at the age of 25, he died after a two-year battle with cancer. After being diagnosed, then beating cancer in 2014, Smith’s cancer returned, requiring a bone marrow transplant on October 19, 2015. Throughout his battle, he and his wife, Samantha, worked to raise awareness for the bone marrow registry.

“I am beyond thrilled to see this partnership coming to fruition,” Samantha Smith said. “Andrew would have been so proud and humbled to know his battle would ultimately give rise to much needed awareness of this cause.”

Those interested in learning more about the registry and how to become a member can text “ANDREW” to 38470 or visit join.bethematch.org/Andrew1.

The #9 seed Butler men’s basketball team advanced to the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament before its loss to #1 seed University of Virginia on Saturday.

 

Media contact:
Krissi Edgington
kedgingt@butler.edu
317-940-8241

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Community

Academic All-Americans? Family Atmosphere? We've Got That

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PUBLISHED ON Feb 24 2016

Butler basketball is about much more than wins, as two recent newspaper stories note.

General Hinkle ExteriorIn the Indianapolis Business Journal, sports columnist Mike Lopresti wrote that Butler's success off the basketball court over the last 10 years is unrivaled in Division I. The Bulldogs have had seven Academic All-Americans since 2007, more than any other Division I school. In his February 20 column, Lopresti looked at Butler's past Academic All-Americans and what they've been doing since graduation.

In the February 21 Boston Globe, Gary Washburn reported on the bond that occurred with former Coach Brad Stevens and his players—including Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack, both of whom play for the Utah Jazz. Hayward said about Stevens, who left Butler to coach the Boston Celtics: “He’ll always be family no matter where we’re at and that’s why we love playing at Butler.”

Community

Want Summer Camps? Check Out Butler Community Arts School

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PUBLISHED ON Feb 10 2016

Butler Community Arts School this summer will offer more than a dozen camps for children—and a couple for adults—interested in the arts.

The offerings include six new camps: Ballet Summer Intensive; Brass Camp; Oboe Camp; Oboe Reed Workshop; Saxophone Camp; and Voice Camp.

Butler commmunity arts school June 21, 2010.All camps take place on the Butler University campus. For more information, call 317-940-5500 or visit https://www.butler.edu/bcas/summer-camps.

Here are the camps, dates, and ages ranges.

-Adult Big-Band Workshop: June 5-10 (evenings), ages 18 and older. This workshop provides the opportunity for adults with intermediate to advanced skills on their instrument to participate in a true big-band learning experience under the direction of a professional staff, including Mark Buselli and Matt Pivec. Performance charts will be selected from those typical of Basie, Miller, Nestico, Ellington, Kenton, and Holman. Bands will consist of saxophones, trombones, trumpets, piano, bass, guitar and drums.

-Arts Camp 1 & 2: June 27-July 1 or July 18-22 (1:30 PM—5:30 PM), ages 7-11. Butler Arts Camp is designed for students who wish to explore all of the arts—music, visual art, theatre, and dance—in fun, hands-on activities with Butler students.

-Ballet Summer Intensive: July 10-30, ages 13-18. Join Butler dance faculty, under the artistic direction of Marek Cholewa, for our brand new pre-professional dance intensive on the beautiful campus of Butler University. The three-week intensive will have a classical ballet focus with additional classes in pas de deux, character, modern, jazz, and repertoire. The intensive will conclude with a final performance on Saturday, July 30.

-Bass Camp (upright bass): June 12-17, ages 12-21. Camp will include: daily stretching and movement; classes on bass technique; master classes; bass chamber ensembles; and private lesson(s) with camp faculty. Finale concert will feature all campers. One year of prior bass study required.

-Brass Camp: July 17-21, ages 12-18. The Butler Brass Camp will feature daily private lessons and group instruction with Butler University brass faculty and students. In addition, campers will have the opportunity to participate in a brass choir as well as chamber music groups. One year of prior study on instrument required.

-Jazz Camp: July 10-15, ages 12-18. This weeklong jazz camp provides the opportunity for youth in rising grades 7-12 to participate in a fun and intense jazz-learning experience under the direction of professional staff led by Matt Pivec, Director of Jazz Studies at Butler University. The faculty will include local jazz professionals. Sessions may include combo rehearsals, big-band rehearsals, jazz improvisation, jazz history, and instrument-specific master classes. The week culminates with a 3:30 PM concert on Friday featuring all of the campers. One year of prior study on instrument required.

-Oboe Camp: July 17-21, ages 12-18. Each day will consist of warm-ups, private lessons, ensemble work, reed-making and more. You will even learn how to play the bigger oboe (the English horn) and find out secrets the pros use to sound your very best every time you play. One year of prior oboe study required.

-Oboe Reed Workshop: July 22-23, ages 15 and up (including adults). Nine hours of intensive oboe reed-making. The workshop is open to all levels, but participants should have some prior reed-making experience. During the workshop, participants will learn how to select and gouge cane, shape and wrap a reed, and finish and play on their own reed.

-Piano Camp 1: June 19-24, ages 12-18. Students should have at least one year of prior piano study. All students receive daily private lessons and master classes. Other sessions include theory, ensemble, music history, sight playing, and guest speakers and performers. Optional classes may include dance, improvisation, composition, and steel drum ensemble.

-Piano Camp 2: June 27-July 1, ages 7-11 (9:00 AM-12:30 PM). Designed for students with at least one year of piano study, campers will be divided into smaller groups based on age and repertoire level. Activities will focus on music skills that are appropriate for students in each respective group. Our intent is to maintain interest, stimulate imagination, and provide attainable challenges. Classes may include repertoire, ensemble, music theory, and games.

-Saxophone Camp: July 17-21, ages 12-18. The Butler Saxophone Camp is designed to provide focused attention on individual as well as ensemble saxophone playing. Students will have the opportunity to work on saxophone fundamentals, take private lessons, play in a saxophone quartet or trio, and participate in a large saxophone ensemble. Participants will work directly with Butler University saxophone faculty Heidi Radtke and Matt Pivec, as well as Butler saxophone students. One year prior saxophone study required.

-Snare and Tenor Camp: June 17-19, ages 12-21. It is recommended that participants have at least two years of prior study on snare drum; prior marching percussion experience is helpful. This drum-corps-style camp weekend will feature one-on-one and group instruction for snares and quads with Jeff Queen and Bill Bachman.

-Strings Camp: July 18-23, ages 7-11 (9:00 AM—12:30 PM). Designed for students with at least a year of strings study (violin, viola, cello, upright bass), campers will be divided into smaller groups based on age and repertoire level. Activities will focus on music skills that are appropriate for students in each respective group. The intent is to maintain interest, stimulate imagination, and provide attainable challenges. Classes may include repertoire, orchestra, music theory, and games.jazzcamp0714 small

-String Scholars Camp: June 19-23, ages 12-18. The String Scholars camp features: daily orchestra rehearsals and finale concert with Richard Auldon Clark, conductor of the Butler Symphony Orchestra; daily sectionals and technique class with Butler faculty and music majors; other typical college music classes such as music theory and electives. Additional classes typically include drumming, dance, and keyboard. Special sessions will be held on topics of college readiness and access, including how to prepare for an audition, choosing a major or college, financial aid, career paths in music, and more. One year prior strings study required.

-Theatre Camp: July 10-15, ages 12-18. Join Butler Department of Theatre faculty, staff, alumni, and students for a fun, hands-on camp that covers all aspects of theatre - acting, stage movement, voice for the actor, costume, scenic and lighting design. No experience necessary.

-Total Percussion Camp: June 12-16, ages 12-18. All students will receive instruction on snare, drum set, timpani, mallets, world percussion, steel drums, and concert percussion. One year prior study on snare drum required.

-Voice Camp: July 17-22, ages 15-18. This new camp is a great opportunity to work with Butler's voice faculty on solo performance skills, in preparation for college auditions, competitions, and personal growth as performers. One year prior vocal or choral study required.

 

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

 

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