Community | Butler Stories

Latest In



Butler Presents Eight Alumni Awards


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 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


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

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

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

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


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


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

Yoga Gives Lab School Students Time to Breathe


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


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

Butler Elects Two to the Board of Trustees


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


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

Professor Rao's Artwork Is All Over Indy This Summer


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



Butler Partners With Be The Match to Honor Andrew Smith


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

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


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


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.”


Want Summer Camps? Check Out Butler Community Arts School


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

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



Learning About Service, the Butler Way

BY Evie Schultz ’16

PUBLISHED ON Dec 21 2015

At first, the concept seems difficult. How do you help third-graders understand what service means?

But for Early and Middle Childhood Education Professor Arthur Hochman and his early elementary education class, the challenge is often the most important part of the lesson plan.

Kat Welch '17 and her students.

For a little over five weeks this semester, Butler students were paired with Crooked Creek Elementary School third-graders in groups. The Butler students were responsible for creating lesson plans and guiding the elementary schools students through projects to discover what service is.

“Every semester I like to work with a local public school in coming up with something special that's going to have a feeling of culmination and importance, so that these third-graders will have an experience they will never forget,” Hochman said.

In past years the projects have varied. Students and children have organized a flash mob to honor a teacher or come to Butler for a day to present research they've done.

This year, the lesson took a different turn as the third-graders worked together to create their own magazine called Helping Hands. It was published within another local kids magazine, Inspired.

Kat Welch and ’17 and Allison Behling ’18 are two of Hochman’s students who worked at Crooked Creek.

Under the guidance of teachers such as Megan Shuck Rubey ’12 and Kristen Vannatta, they helped students create artwork, conduct interviews, and come up with ways to serve their teachers.

Welch’s group created an autograph book for one teacher and wrote a poem for another.

“It was neat to see how it was really important to them that the teacher liked it and that it was special for them,” she said. “We made a point to teach them that it was anonymous. At first they struggled with that, but then came to realize it's more about the act of doing than getting recognition.”

Hochman said the children are motivated to work on a deeper and higher level when there is an incentive of being able to achieve something important, such as serving and creating an actual published magazine.

“It’s the idea of getting kids to do work that’s in context, that’s real,” Hochman said. “It gives you an impetus to do great work, as opposed to ‘You need to learn multiplication so you can learn division so you can learn algebra,’ which when you’re little feels a little hollow.Coloring page

“But if it’s ‘You need to do a good job because you want to do a good job because there’s something at the end of the tunnel that’s meaningful for you,’ as a third-grader there’s power in that.”

After finishing the magazine and sending it in for publication, the Butler students returned to surprise their third-graders on the final day. The students gathered to see their final product projected up at the front of the classroom, and a special guest even came to visit: Trip, the Butler bulldog mascot.

Together, they celebrated their published magazine and the new bonds formed between the Butler students and their third-graders.

“We had third-graders crying,” Hochman said. “The attachments are very real.”

“It was very sweet,” Behling said. “But I think I was even more excited about Trip than they were.”

Not only did they come away with new friends, Behling and Welch said they came away with teaching experiences they will never forget.

“For me, I loved seeing the progress that was made,” Welch said. “The first or second day we were there, we asked them what service was. They all said out of order signs or drew stores. But by the end of the project, they talked about how it was important to do things anonymously for others.”

Behling said she noticed even more changes in herself.

“I kind of went in expecting for me to have my place, for everything to go my way, and obviously that doesn't always happen, especially with kids,” Behling said. “My biggest takeaway was not everything has to go right the first time and sometimes you just have to try again.”

Sounds a lot like the Butler Way.


Butler Community Arts School Adds 3 New Programs


PUBLISHED ON Dec 14 2015

The Butler Community Arts School will introduce three new programs in 2016—youth theater, music composition for high school students, and summer ballet intensive for pre-professional dancers.

“We added these new programs for 2016 because the community has been asking,” said Karen Thickstun, Director of the Butler Community Arts School. “We have a strong history of providing high-quality music programs to the greater Indianapolis community utilizing Butler students and faculty. These offerings will broaden our reach and allow more youths to participate in our arts programming.”

For questions and registration information, email the Butler Community Arts School at or call 317-940-5500.Butler Community Arts School - Jazz Camp

More information about each program follows.

-Butler Youth Theatre Program, for ages 9-14, will allow students to explore the building blocks of theatre under the direction of Butler Theatre faculty and alumni. No prior experience is necessary.

The program will run for nine Saturdays beginning January 16—9:00-10:15 AM for ages 9-11 and 10:30-noon for ages 12-14—at in Lilly Hall on the Butler campus.The cost is $135 for students 9-11 and $145 for students 12-14.

Both sessions end with a performance by each group.

-Butler Youth Composition Program, for students 14-18, is a three-session workshop presented by Butler composition majors and graduate students under the director of Professor of Music Michael Schelle. No prior composition experience is required, but students must have one year of prior study on a musical instrument or voice and be involved in a music program or lessons.

The sessions will take place from 1:00-2:30 PM January 23, February 13, and March 5 in Lilly Hall on the Butler campus, with a final performance on March 19.

Tuition is $55.

-Summer Ballet Intensive, a three-week intensive program for pre-professional dancers ages 13-18, will take place from July 10-30. The tuition is $3,000, which includes room and three meals a day. A commuter option is available.

Dance Professor Marek Cholewa will serve as the Artistic Director of the program, which will have a classical ballet focus with additional classes in pas de deux, character, modern, jazz, and repertoire. The program will conclude with a final performance on Saturday, July 30.

The Dance Department has announced the establishment of a Butler Dance scholarship for a promising young dancer who attends this summer intensive program. Eligibility requirements will be included in the registration materials. Registration is at


Media contact:


Butler Students Head to Asia, Thanks to Freeman Grant


PUBLISHED ON Dec 11 2015

Butler University has been awarded a $339,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation to support undergraduate student internships in East and Southeast Asia in 2016 and 2017.

The money will be used to send 20 students to Shanghai in 2016 and 20 to Shanghai, 10 to Beijing, and 10 to Singapore during summer 2017. The grant provides $5,000 per student to offset the cost of their travel and housing costs.
Grace Lewis interned at the pharmaceutical company Eisai China.

In addition, the grant provides financial support for students who are already in East Asia on a semester study-abroad program and can fit in an internship into that time.

The summer internships are six weeks long. A Butler faculty member will be on hand at the beginning of the semester to get the students settled.

“This grant is great news for our students,” said Jill McKinney, Butler’s Director of Study Abroad in the Center for Global Education. “There are many logistics that go into an exciting program like this. It hits much of what the Butler 2020 plan wants for students, which is high-impact programs. This is an innovative blend of two kinds of high-impact programs: study abroad and internships. As we strive to send off students to have a meaningful impact on the world, I think graduates who have broader worldview and have had internship in one of the leading economies in the world could have a distinct advantage personally and in the job market.”

McKinney said Butler is one of only 23 universities in the United States to earn this kind of support from the Freeman Foundation. During the summer of 2015, Butler sent 19 students to intern in Shanghai and Hong Kong, thanks to a $99,500 Freeman Foundation grant.

The Freeman Foundation, based in Stowe, Vermont, is dedicated to augmenting international understanding between the United States and the nations of East Asia. The foundation “provides real work experiences in real work settings with direct interaction with local people in East and Southeast Asia.”

Grace Lewis, a senior majoring in Pharmacy and minoring in Chinese, said her internship at the pharmaceutical company Eisai China Inc. taught her about the pharmaceutical industry and drug marketing, and also gave her insight into healthcare in China.

“At the conclusion of my internship, I realized that the industry is a viable option for my future career,” she said. “Living and working in China greatly contributed to my personal growth. Particularly, my sense of independence grew much more than I had anticipated.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan