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President Danko: All Should Feel Safe, Valued, Celebrated


PUBLISHED ON Nov 13 2015

In light of the situation at the University of Missouri and other campuses, President Danko issued this statement:

Dear Butler Community Members,

Earlier this year, I spoke out against Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This act uniquely damaged the spirit and global reputation President Jim Dankoof the Hoosier State. Its discriminatory agenda directly contradicted Butler’s values of fairness and inclusivity, and I felt compelled to publicly comment in that case in the hope of inspiring action and dialogue.

Similarly, I feel compelled to share my thoughts with you now about the changes taking place at the University of Missouri and other campuses across the country this week. The aspiration of students at these institutions is that which forms the heart of Butler University’s founding and current values: the realization of a just society, in which all people are respected and valued equally.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu came to our campus in 2013 and spoke to us about peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation when we opened a Center in his name. As members of a learning environment that values critical inquiry, we recognize that his message of compassion and humanity rings true. At the same time, we realize that social justice is the cornerstone of peace.

The United States grapples with a history of discrimination and oppression. Today, college students across the country continue to live with the very real consequences of that history. Despite the progress we have made as a great nation, we have much work to do to become a truly just society. As our country continues to struggle to address injustice, it is incumbent upon us, as Butler University community members, to be leaders of dialogue, pathfinders to solutions, and models of civility. This leadership can be assumed by any and all of us, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Our Butler values put us in a strong position to assume such leadership. Butler was founded by abolitionists who wrote into our University charter that we would be “a non-sectarian institution free from the taint of slavery.” Gertrude Mahorney, Butler’s first African-American graduate, earned her bachelor’s degree in 1887. Sigma Gamma Rho was founded on Butler’s campus in 1922. Butler was the first college in Indiana to admit women and men on an equal basis, and established the first endowed chair in the nation specifically designated to be filled by a female professor.

I do not cite these facts to encourage us to rest on our laurels; rather, I believe we should be inspired by our shared history of, and commitment to, social justice and the eradication of discrimination in its many forms, both insidious and overt. I challenge all of us to recommit to our founding vision. I challenge us to strive, each day, to more fully understand each other’s experiences. I challenge us to find positive and constructive ways for Butler to be a national leader in finding real solutions to these long-standing issues.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Provost Kathryn Morris, Vice President Levester Johnson, and Associate Professor Terri Jett, Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity, who are leading concerted efforts to ensure that our community is a just, fair, and safe place in which all people may thrive equally. We are also extremely fortunate to have many other faculty members with expertise in social justice issues, who are working extremely hard toward this goal. Most importantly, our students are engaged in a wide range of social-justice initiatives, both at the curricular and extracurricular level, which empower them to effect positive change and make a real difference.

While all these activities are extremely important, I believe we can work even harder, and do even more, to live our founding Butler mission each day. Please join me in redoubling our efforts to that end, in support of the rights of every person—in our own learning community and in those across our nation—to feel safe, valued, and celebrated.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and questions.

James M. Danko, President
Butler University


Statement from President Danko on the Passing of Amos Brown


PUBLISHED ON Nov 07 2015

Amos BrownThe Butler University community is saddened to learn of Amos Brown's sudden passing today in Chicago. Amos was an extraordinary civic leader who helped bridge cultural divides and create greater understanding in our city. He was also a great friend to Butler, serving for decades as the master of ceremonies for our Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. He will be missed.


Isn't This Lovely: Butler Students to Sing With Stevie Wonder


PUBLISHED ON Nov 06 2015

Four members of Butler University’s Voices of Deliverance gospel choir have been invited to sing with Stevie Wonder on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.
RaeNosa Hudnell, Murjuana Mutuwa, Jeremy Washington, and Elisha Wright will be singing with Stevie Wonder.

Senior Jeremy Washington, an Organizational Communications and Leadership major from Hammond, Indiana; Elisha Wright, a sophomore Exploratory Studies major from Indianapolis; graduate student RaeNosa Hudnell, a Creative Writing major from Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Murjanatu Mutuwa, a first-year International Business major from Cedar Lake, Indiana, will join the 1989 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and his band for three songs—“Pastime Paradise” and “Another Star” from his Songs in the Key of Life album and a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready.”

Valerie Davidson, Butler’s Director of Diversity Programs and the faculty adviser for Voices of Deliverance, said she received a call on Thursday, November 5, from Wonder’s people, asking about singers. They told her that, at each tour stop, they like to invite local singers—ideally from colleges—to perform.

“When Miss Valerie notified me of the news, I was speechless!” Washington said. “For me, Stevie Wonder is more than just a flawless voice but a role model and symbol to the realization that nothing can hold greatness back.”

The students will be at the arena for rehearsal Saturday at 4:00 PM. At 4:30 PM, Wonder is scheduled to join them to rehearse and for soundcheck.

This is the third time in recent years that Butler students have been invited to sing with a superstar performer. In 2012, 22 members of the Butler Chorale sang with Madonna during halftime at the Super Bowl. And this past July 4, 26 members of the Chorale accompanied the Rolling Stones onstage at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Arts & CultureCommunity

JCA, Indiana Arts Commission Forge Partnership


PUBLISHED ON Nov 02 2015

Butler University’s Jordan College of the Arts has forged a partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission to become the IAC regional granting office for central Indiana, covering Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, and Shelby Counties.
Lilly Hall

Butler’s role through 2017 will be to set up independent citizen advisory panels that will review grant applications. The citizen panels adjudicate and score grant applications, and the state awards the grant funds. Last year, the state awarded about $400,000 in grants to Indianapolis-area arts groups.

“We are excited about having the Jordan College of the Arts at Butler University join this new partnership arrangement for Region 7,” IAC Executive Director Lewis C. Ricci said. “The College has a long history in, and commitment to, the arts in this region.”

Jordan College faculty and staff will also provide technical assistance and guidance to on public funding to artists and arts organizations of all sizes.

“I’m excited for the opportunity this will provide for our students,” said Susan Zurbuchen, Associate Professor of Arts Administration. “The students will learn about how public money is disbursed, and they’ll have hands-on opportunities to be part of the process.”

Zurbuchen said she believes no other undergraduate arts administration program has such a hand in grant administration.

Ronald Caltabiano, Dean of Butler’s Jordan College of the Arts, said the partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission “helps to strengthen our academic programming and further reinforces Butler University’s role as a nexus for arts in central Indiana. This is a tremendous opportunity for our students and for Butler.”

Media contact:
Marc Allan


Butler, Blind School Students to Plant Trees for Bees


PUBLISHED ON Oct 15 2015

Students from the Butler University World of Plants class and the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI) will work together on a tree-planting event on Tuesday, October 20, from 10:00-11:30 AM and 2:30-4:00 PM.

At the “Trees for Bees” event, students will plant trees to enhance the pollen sources for ISBVI bee hives.

A swarm of European honey bees clinging to a tree

The event is the result of a 2015 Tree Campus USA Mini-Award received by Biology Instructor Marva Meadows. She said the class project is trying to address some of the nutritional problems by planting 20 new species of trees and shrubs that are honey bee friendly.

“Honey bee hives will benefit by having a diversity of pollen and nectar planted close to the hives themselves,” she said. “This may allow the bees to resist some of the other stresses that are plaguing hives around the world. Our teams of Butler and ISBVI students have been learning about flowers and honey bees together and will culminate in planting their chosen tree on Tuesday.”

Honey bees are responsible for one-third of our food, Meadows said. Agricultural production of almonds, berries, fruits and vegetables are a direct result of honey bee pollination.

Unfortunately, honey bees are in decline from a number of pressures including Colony Collapse Disorder which may be caused by new parasites and pathogens like Varroa mites, nosema fungi and deformed wing virus, she said.

“No one is sure about how the liberal use of pesticides may be causing additional stress to the hives. And nutritional problems caused by a lack of variable pollen and nectar sources may also be weakening honey bees.”

Media contact:
Marc Allan

Arts & CultureCommunity

Butler to Hold Peace Festival


PUBLISHED ON Oct 08 2015

Butler University will hold a Peace Festival October 19–22 that will feature discussions about topics such as sustainability and the Darfur refugee crisis, and culminate with an address by Holocaust survivor Eva Kor called “The Triumph of the Human Spirit: From Auschwitz to Forgiveness.”
Butler's Peace Pole stands between Jordan Hall and Atherton Union.

“The purpose of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program is to reach out to students of all backgrounds and show that social justice issues, as well as opportunities to promote reconciliation and peace, can exist within many different parts of life,” said Annika London ’17, the coordinator of the festival. “We want the Peace Festival to reflect on that concept by giving students a chance to learn about some of the biggest current conflicts here and abroad, and how they can participate in making a positive change both as individuals and as a community.”

Here is the schedule of events:

October 19–22
• “Remembering Our Youth,” Boots Display by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 49, 11:00 AM–2:00 PM, at the Peace Pole outside Starbucks.

October 19
• “2016: Can Elections Make Room for Peace?” Panel Discussion with Veterans, Students, and Peacemakers, 7:00 PM, Pharmacy Building room 150.

October 20
• Yoga at the Blue House, 8:00–8:45 AM, Center for Faith and Vocation.
• “Privilege and Opportunity, It’s All in the Game,” with Professors Vivian Deno and Terri Jett, 4:30–6:30 PM, Pharmacy Building room 106B. Snacks provided.
• Luminaries for Domestic Violence Awareness, 8:00 PM, at the Peace Pole.

October 21
• Darfur Women Information Table, 11:00 AM–1:00 PM, Starbucks.
• Sustainable Indiana 2016, followed by a dance piece by the Movement Exchange called “On the Edge,” 4:30–5:30 PM, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall.

October 22
• Thoughts and Prayers for Peace, 12:20-12:50 PM, at the Peace Pole.
• Beyond Right and Wrong, film screening sponsored by the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice, 6:30 PM, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall.
• “The Triumph of the Human Spirit: From Auschwitz to Forgiveness,” an address by Holocaust survivor Eva Kors, Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series, 7:30 PM, Clowes Hall. Free tickets available at Clowes box office.

For accessibility information or to request disability-related accommodations, please visit,


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Arts & CultureCommunity

Visiting Writers Series Presents Laila Lalami


PUBLISHED ON Oct 06 2015

Author Laila Lalami will speak in the Atherton Union Reilly Room on Tuesday, October 13, at 7:30 PM as part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

The event is free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.Laila Lalami

Lalami is the author of the novels Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize longlist, and The Moor’s Account, which was a New York Times Notable Book, a Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year, a nominee for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, the Guardian, the New York Times, and in many anthologies. Her work has been translated into 10 languages. She is the recipient of a British Council Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship. Lalami is a professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside.


Media contact:
Marc Allan



On Theatre Day, All of Butler's a Stage

BY Evie Schultz ’16

PUBLISHED ON Sep 29 2015

Michael McClellan, a senior at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, wants to be a filmmaker. But when he heard about Butler’s first-ever Theatre Day on September 19, he couldn’t resist signing up.

100 high school students at Clowes Memorial HallAlong with over 100 other high school students from Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana, McClellan was able to experience a day in the life of a Butler theatre student.

He says the one-on-one instruction with professors and college students inspired him to be himself both onstage and off.

“They were talking about, ‘We don’t want to see your characters, cause anyone can do a character. We want to see who you are and what you can bring to this college,’” he said.

Theatre Day was the brainchild of LaKisha Cooper, an administrative assistant in Butler’s Theatre Department. She dreamed up the idea as a way to expose high school students to the program while allowing Butler’s theatre majors to shine.

“Our students don’t realize the great work they do, and I wanted others to see that,” she said. “This is a great place to go to school.”

Theatre major Kristen Gibbs ’18 agrees. She says the day was the perfect opportunity for high school students to experience actual theatre classes with college professors - an opportunity she wishes she could have had.

“During my audition, they didn’t have enough time to tell us everything that was in the curriculum,” she said. “I feel like coming here on this day and getting a little taste of everything, even if it was just a snapshot, I feel like that would have benefitted me a lot.”

In a makeup class, students were able to paint each other’s faces like zombies. In an acting class, professor Elaina Artemiev led students through an exercise, and voice, movement and lighting classes completed the lineup.
Theatre Professor Elaina Artimiev (white jacket) leads a group at Theatre Day.

At the end of the day, a few lucky ninth- through 12th-graders were picked out of the crowd to perform their monologues for three professors in a mock “audition” in the Schrott Center.

After each performance, students applauded their peers with supportive whoops and cheers. The professors provided instructive criticism and tips for the students to improve their monologues, providing the perfect finale to an educational day.

“This is a great process to let them see an audition,” Adam Bridges ’18 said. “It’s really cool because it’s terrifying the first time you do an audition process.”

And although the day was jam packed with educational sessions, according to Gibbs and Bridges, the high schoolers’ favorite part of the day wasn’t a particular class or session.

Rather, it was waffle day in the cafeteria. On Theatre Day, even Atherton’s a stage.


On Theatre Day, All of Butler's a Stage

More than 100 students from four states visited Butler for Theatre Day.

Sep 29 2015 Read more

Butler Prepared to Thrive in Challenging Times, Danko Says


PUBLISHED ON Sep 28 2015

Declaring that “the state of our University is stronger than ever,” Butler President James M. Danko said in his State of the University speech on September 25 that Butler “is well positioned not only to survive these challenging times, but to thrive in them.”
Butler University President JIm Danko speaks at Clowes Memorial Hall on September 25.

“Today’s students—especially those considering an institution like Butler—expect and deserve to be immersed in an environment where they can learn, grow, and contribute each and every day,” he told the audience at Clowes Memorial Hall. “Through our focus on innovative teaching, close relationships with faculty and staff, diversity and inclusivity, experiential education, global education, and service learning, I believe we already provide our students with one of the most engaging and valuable educational experiences in the country.”

Danko pointed to the University’s ability to innovate and successfully launch new programs—including, most recently, those in Interactive Media, Sports Media, Music Performance & Education, Musical Arts, Jazz Studies, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Environmental Studies, Recreation and Sports Studies, Healthcare and Business.

Butler also launched new graduate programs, including the Butler-Schwab MBA partnership, the Physician-Assistant Program shift to a standalone Master’s Degree, and seven new non-degree certificate programs within the College of Education.

Danko said both he and the Board of Trustees are bullish on Butler’s future, as evidenced by the trustees’ approval earlier in September for “the planning and design of world-class facilities for the sciences and business.”

Danko said while a college degree “continues to be one of the best long-term investments you can make, the issues of prohibitive cost and student debt are very real.”

But he is encouraged by the growth in first-year enrollment this year and the trend that an increasing number of Butler students are graduating on time, rather than returning for a fifth year.

“More than ever before, today’s students and parents are focused as much or more on the expected outcomes of a college education as they are on the educational experience itself,” he said. “And at Butler, we are well positioned to deliver on both. By continuing to strengthen the Butler experience and focusing intently on key learning and career outcomes, we can build upon Butler’s already stellar record of preparing students for continued study, successful careers, and meaningful lives.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


A Message to Chrissie Hynde: Rape is Never the Survivor's Fault


PUBLISHED ON Sep 28 2015

Sarah Diaz, the coordinator of Butler’s Victim Advocate Program, cringed when she read what musician Chrissie Hynde said about having been raped—that being assaulted was her own fault.

“If you don’t want to entice a rapist,” Hynde, the leader of the group the Pretenders, was quoted as saying, “don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him. If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?”

Sarah Barnes DiazDiaz’s response: “I would hate for any survivor to internalize that as their truth, for them to believe that because the circumstances were similar in their situation that they should also believe that it’s their fault. When people have that public voice, there’s a real responsibility to think about the consequences of the words they choose to use.”

Diaz, now in her ninth year at Butler, deals with campus sexual assaults and educates students about consent, bystander intervention, and the importance of supporting survivors of sexual trauma. She said victims should never be blamed, no matter what the circumstances.

“There’s a place for risk reduction," she said. "It’s important for us to be aware of our surroundings to the best of our abilities, but when there is a sexual assault, it’s because someone has decided to take advantage of another person.”

Diaz said Butler works hard to prevent sexual violence. The University has:

-A full-time victim advocate – Diaz – who’s available 24 hours a day. She helps sexual assault survivors find community resources, takes them to hospital, and counsels them about their options.

-A student organization formed last year called The Stand Tall Project, which sends the message to survivors that “we believe you, we support you, you’ll get through this.”

-Campus programming, including panels with students who’ve experienced interpersonal violence and resource information for faculty, staff, and students. Diaz is coordinating several programs and agency spotlight booths on campus this month as Butler recognizes domestic violence awareness month.

In addition to her work at Butler, Diaz also is active citywide in programs that work toward building safer communities.

On August 28, she was recognized by the Legacy House as a Community Champion. Legacy House, which provides free counseling, therapy and prevention work in the community for survivors of any kind of violence and their family members.

And on October 16, the Domestic Violence Network will recognize her as the 2015 Outstanding Advocate for her work in the community. The Domestic Violence Network is an umbrella organization with the mission to engage the community to end domestic violence through advocacy, education, and collaboration..

“I have worked really hard to be collaborative and to get some conversations started,” she said. “Now we’re able to have better conversations about rape and sexual assault and not just share some statistics. Really, really, we are working to engage students to understand the role they can play in preventing sexual assault from happening.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Bone Marrow Registry, Blood Drives to Honor Andrew Smith


PUBLISHED ON Sep 24 2015

The Butler University community, Indiana Blood Center, and Be the Match Indiana have teamed up to host a blood drive and bone marrow registry drive Tuesday, September 29, at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The event is being organized in honor of former Butler men’s basketball standout Andrew Smith and his continuing fight against cancer.

Andrew and Samantha SmithFrom 4-8 that night, donors are encouraged to visit Hinkle Fieldhouse on the Butler University campus to donate blood in Smith’s honor. The community is also encouraged to join the bone marrow registry, which is a simple process of completing paperwork and a cheek swab. To join the registry, a person needs to be between the ages of 18 and 44, willing to donate and meet health guidelines.

"Samantha and I want to use the platform we have been given, and the information we have learned going through the process ourselves, to inform people how important this really is,” said Smith. “People, unfortunately, will pass away waiting for someone on the registry; not because there isn't a way to help them, but simply because the right person is not on the list. Butler University has meant so much to us over the years, and partnering with them to promote such an important cause that has directly affected our lives so much, is amazing. The community has been behind us the whole way, and this is just one way that we want to give back a little bit."

Smith was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and spent the better part of that year fighting, nearly dying, and eventually beating the disease. Over the summer, Smith learned the cancer had returned. His doctors have ordered chemo and—this time around—a bone marrow transplant. He will undergo that procedure on October 19.

Through the Indiana chapter of Be the Match, the registry that facilitates matches between patients and donors, a bone marrow donor was identified. As he undergoes treatment and the subsequent recovery, doctors may administer blood transfusions to help his body.

“All of us at Butler continue to look for ways to support Andrew and Samantha as they battle this,” said Butler men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann. “Donating blood and registering for the bone marrow database are two great ways to showcase that support. I’ve registered in the bone marrow database and the process is incredibly easy. We’re excited to be part of this event and help to increase the impact that Andrew and Samantha can have on this cause.”

To make an appointment to donate or for questions about the drive, visit or contact Dotti Laas at 317-407-2124. There are donation times available in addition to those listed for appointment purposes. For those who want to join the bone marrow registry but can’t attend the event at Hinkle Fieldhouse, please visit


Important Facts to Know About Donating Blood and the Bone Marrow Registry

  • Cancer patients often receive transfusions during treatment
  • The need for blood is constant—Indiana Blood Center needs to see 550 donors every day to meet hospital needs
  • No synthetic substitute for blood exists—only donations from volunteer donors can save lives
  • It is the blood on the shelf that saves lives and Indiana Blood Center’s average inventory is about a three day supply
  • Annually, more than 10,000 people are diagnosed with a life-threatening disease for which the best option for a cure is a bone marrow transplant
  • More than 70% of patients do not have a matching donor in their family
  • Be the Match Indiana facilitates 40-50 matches each year

Butler Ties For First Place As Most Innovative School in the Midwest


PUBLISHED ON Sep 08 2015

Butler University tied for first place as the Most Innovative School among Midwestern Regional Universities, according to the U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges rankings for 2016. The rating, released today, is the result of voting by college presidents, provosts, and admissions deans, who were asked to nominate the colleges or universities that are making the most innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology, or facilities.

“We added this ranking so that college officials could pick schools that the public should be watching because of the cutting-edge changes being made on their campuses,” the magazine reported.
Butler University's Jordan Hall exterior June 6, 2014

Butler President James M. Danko, who has stressed the importance of innovation since taking over the University four years ago, said that entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to undergraduate, residential education pervade Butler University.

“We are fostering the kind of cross-disciplinary, creative thinking that enriches our campus and serves our students well throughout their lives,” Danko said. “I am pleased to see that other universities have taken note of our efforts.”

Butler also finished No. 7 in the Midwest for Best Undergraduate Teaching, which ranks schools that emphasize undergraduate education, as opposed to the postgraduate research that is a priority at many universities.

And Butler again finished in the Top 15 schools rated a Best Value in the Midwest. This calculation takes into account a school’s academic quality, based on its U.S. News Best Colleges ranking, and the 2014–2015 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid.

Butler also finished among the best schools in four other categories:

-No. 2 overall among Midwest Regional Universities, the sixth consecutive year Butler has received this designation.

-No. 2 in the Midwest under Best Colleges for Veterans—top-ranked schools that offer veterans benefits “that can help them make pursuing a college education more affordable,” according to the magazine.

-One of the nation’s Best Undergraduate Business Programs, based on surveys of business-school deans and senior faculty.

-Again on the list of A+ Schools for B Students—“colleges and universities…where spirit and hard work could make all the difference to the admissions office.”

In addition, U.S. News invited college presidents, chief academic officers, deans of students, and deans of admissions from more than 1,500 schools to nominate stellar examples of “academic programs to look for.” Butler finished among the top schools in the country in the categories of first-year experience (ways to connect first-year with faculty or staff on a regular basis), internships, undergraduate research, service learning, and study abroad.

“These rankings are a testament to our students’ success and to the tireless work of our faculty and staff to engage and support them,” Danko said. “Our academic excellence, innovative approach, and educational outcomes have laid a firm foundation for continued achievement and recognition.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan