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Butler Names New Vice President for Advancement


PUBLISHED ON Mar 07 2018

Jonathan Purvis, a respected leader in higher education advancement with 19 years of experience, has been named Butler University’s Vice President for Advancement. He begins his duties at Butler on April 16, 2018.

Purvis comes to Butler from Indiana University where he has served as Vice President for Development and Regional Campuses. Prior to that, he served as Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations for the Indiana University School of Education and Senior Director for Capital Projects at Washington University in St. Louis. He has also held varied positions at the IU Foundation ranging from Executive Director of Special Gifts and Annual Giving to Assistant to the President.

“Jonathan possesses an exceptional depth of experience within higher education advancement,” said Butler University President James Danko. “His proven success in development, and demonstrated leadership in higher education, make him the right person to help us to achieve our ambitious fundraising goals.”

Purvis holds the Certified Fund Raising Executive credential (CFRE) and has taught a variety of fundraising courses at Indiana University. He is a frequent presenter with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and is a contributing author to the third edition of the acclaimed Achieving Excellence in Fundraising. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in Public Affairs, both from Indiana University Bloomington.

Having grown up in Noblesville, Indiana, in a family of Butler alumni, Purvis is excited to return to Central Indiana to be part of the Butler community. He is joined by his wife Brittany, daughter Sophie, and son Joshua.


Media contact:
Rachel Stern


Butler Names New Vice President for Advancement

Jonathan Purvis comes to BU from IU.

Mar 07 2018 Read more
GivingStudent Life

Dancing for a Good Cause

BY By Peyton Thompson '20

PUBLISHED ON Jan 31 2018

The 16th annual Butler University Dance Marathon takes place on Saturday, February 3, from noon to midnight in the Health and Recreation Center. For 12 hours, participants will dance, play basketball and other games, and eat, eat, and eat some more—all for a good cause.

The student-run fundraiser supports Riley Hospital for Children, in honor of Sarah Michelle Cohen, an honorary Dawg who died August 13, 2009, before she could attend Butler.

At the end of the evening, the organizers reveal the amount raised. Last year, BUDM raised $402,440.01 for Riley Hospital for Children.

“The Butler University Dance Marathon organization has not set a goal for the end of the night reveal," Dodson says, "because no matter what the number is, at the end of the day it is giving hope to all the Riley kids of the past, present, and future.”

We asked some of the organizers: What does BUDM mean to you?

Apparel Chair Bailee Dodson: “BUDM has been a huge impact in my life because it truly shows me what giving your whole heart look like. I have seen my committee members go above and beyond for a great cause and that truly keeps me going during the most stressful times. On 75k Day"—the day they try to raise $75,000—"I truly saw the magic of the Butler community, my family, and friends and I think that has been a huge impact on my life to see people I love go the extra mile FTK!”

Director of Dancer Relations Elaine Holmes: “BUDM is has helped me find a way to use my talents to further a cause about which I am passionate. Because of BUDM, I have found inspiration for my future in the healthcare field through our efforts for a world where all kids can join in the dancing.”

Co-director of Entertainment Sarah Thuet: “BUDM has made such a difference in not only my time at Butler but also my life as a whole. This organization transcends any limitation I’ve ever seen stop other fundraising organization. It’s such an inspiring, selfless and humble group of people who are just giving their all to help others. I truly am inspired and motivated by the BUDM committee every single day.”

All students, faculty, and staff at Butler University are welcome to participate. There is a $50 dancer minimum to join in.

This year's Dance marathon will include a plethora of fun activities and food for all the participants to enjoy. Dodson says there will be an electronic bull, a bounce house obstacle course, a three-on-three basketball tournament, a face painter, and a rave to the end the night before the final reveal.

"There is something new every hour,” she says.

  1. How to Get Involved
  2. Register at
  3. Start fundraising
  4. Head to the HRC from noon to midnight, this Saturday, February 3.



GivingStudent Life

Dancing for a Good Cause

Butler University Dance Marathon will take place February 3.

Jan 31 2018 Read more
GivingStudent Life

Freezing for a Good Cause

BY Peyton Thompson '20

PUBLISHED ON Jan 23 2018

If you see a polar bear on Butler’s campus, don’t be alarmed. In fact, be encouraged. Junior Butler Ambassadors for Special Olympics (BASO) co-chair Alyssa Del Priore dressed as the Polar Plunge polar bear mascot on Wednesday, January 17—better known as “super sign-up day”—to encourage her fellow students to take the Polar Plunge.

“We got over 400 people to sign up in one day,” Del Priore said. “I wanted to get as many people as possible, so I put on the polar bear suit and walked around campus. Although we got a bunch of people to sign up, we really encourage everyone to not only sign up but also fundraise and show up to the event!”

During Butler's ninth annual Polar Plunge, which will take place on February 10 at 9:00 AM outside the Health and Recreation Center, participants will jump into a pool of freezing water to benefit the Washington Township chapter of Special Olympics.

The goal is to raise $60,000 to help support sports training and athletic competition for more than 13,000 Special Olympics Indiana athletes. BASO is about 25 percent of the way toward that goal.

The Polar Plunge is now 16 years old. Most of the events take place on college campuses "because there is a big support system within campuses and it promotes inclusivity and raises money for a great cause,” Del Priore said.

But Butler's Polar Plunge is not only for Butler students.

“Anyone can participate," DelPriore said. "Students, faculty, members of the Butler/Indianapolis community, family members, friends, anyone and everyone as long as they are at least 15 years of age or a freshman in high school.”

Although jumping into the body of water will be the main attraction, there will also be various activities and games that will bring the Butler community and athletes of the Special Olympics together.

Alyssa’s Fundraising Tips

  1. Don't be afraid to ask. Most people will be willing to donate once they learn about the cause.
  2. Tell them why you are plunging
  3. Stress what Special Olympics means to you
  4. Tell them who it is for
  5. Speak up about your fundraising goal is so everyone can help you achieve it
  6. To sign up or donate, click the link below.


GivingStudent Life

Freezing for a Good Cause

The annual Polar Plunge takes place February 10.

Jan 23 2018 Read more
Lab School Insect Farm

Butler Lab School Receives PNC Foundation Grant


PUBLISHED ON Aug 14 2017

Return on investments in high-quality, early childhood education is significant and long lasting, PNC regional President says.

The Butler Lab School has received a three-year, $150,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to support the school’s preschool program, improve the students’ emotional skills through the practice of yoga, and increase the quality of early childhood education in Indiana through multiple professional development opportunities for the community at large.

Connie Bond Stuart (left) and Ena Shelley
with Lab School student Lucy Ansell.

The grant will address the needs of underserved children in a school where 73 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch. The Lab School now has 22 half-day students and nine full-day students. Of those 31 students, 22 are on scholarship.

“Because of PNC’s financial involvement, these children’s educational dreams are being realized,” said Ena Shelley, Dean of Butler’s College of Education, which operates the school in partnership with the Indianapolis Public Schools.

In addition, preschool students will be taught yoga, which has been shown to improve social-emotional skills. Yoga relieves stress, gives the students a chance to move purposefully, and teaches them how to calm down and focus.

Shelley said Assistant Professor Lori Desautels, a nationally recognized expert in the area of applied educational neuroscience, is researching effective strategies to help children take control of their behaviors and potentially change the direction of their learning and emotional well-being. Applied educational neuroscience, coupled with focused attention practices as a part of a yoga program, would be implemented to train teachers.

The third part of the grant will offer opportunities such as support for 20 educators to attend Indiana Partnership for Young Writers (IPYW) workshops, where topics such as Math, Reading, Writing, and Early Childhood will be addressed by the nation’s most respected education experts.

“Extensive research shows the return on investments in high-quality, early childhood education is significant and long lasting, positively impacting our children, society and economy,” said Connie Bond Stuart, PNC regional President for central and southern Indiana. “Through PNC Grow Up Great®, our signature cause in early childhood education, we contribute to the future of this region and help close learning readiness gaps faced by many children as they enter kindergarten. Our support provides area preschoolers and their families the resources to better prepare for success in school and life.”

Lab School Insect Farm

Butler Lab School Receives PNC Foundation Grant

Return on investments in high-quality, early childhood education is significant and long lasting, PNC regional President says.

Aug 14 2017 Read more
Donor Event

Butler's Successful Fundraising Continues


PUBLISHED ON Jun 29 2017

The generosity of more than 14,000 Butler University alumni and friends made fiscal year 2017 one of the University’s best fundraising years on record—generating $35.6 million to enrich academic programming and student life at Butler.

Gifts and commitments included contributions from the estate of Winstan R. “Bud” Sellick ’47 and his wife, Jacqueline (Blomberg) ’44, which will be shared among Butler Athletics, the Lacy School of Business, and general University support; $5 million from alumnus Frank Levinson ’75 for expansion and renovation of the University’s science facilities; and $5 million from Old National Bank to establish the Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business.

“We are deeply grateful to our alumni and friends for supporting Butler’s mission and vision,” Butler President James M. Danko said. “The generosity of our donors has a direct impact on the quality of the student experience at Butler. It creates new opportunities for each student’s intellectual and personal growth. It helps finance upgrades to academic, research, performance, and athletic spaces. It provides scholarships. Put simply, donor support changes lives and helps secure our University’s future.”

Highlights of the contributions to Butler during fiscal year 2017 included:

  • $9.9 million in new bequests.
  • $2 million for new endowed chairs.
  • $4.8 million in new gifts and commitments for the Lacy School of Business building project.
  • $2 million in capital commitments for Butler Athletics.
  • A 16 percent increase in dollars raised through The Butler Fund, which supports student scholarships and key University priorities.


In addition, Butler University’s second annual Day of Giving in February surpassed expectations, with faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and friends making 894 gifts totaling more than $140,000. Through Day of Giving participation, the University was also able to raise an additional $103,000 in matching challenge gifts.

“Our alumni continue to show their appreciation for the opportunities that Butler University has provided to them, and our friends are demonstrating their clear support for all that Butler does in the community,” said Jaci Thiede, Vice President for University Advancement. “They know that every gift is appreciated and put to the best possible use.”

Butler’s enormously successful fundraising year comes following a record-setting fiscal year 2016, when the University received nearly $45.4 million in gifts and commitments. This included the largest single commitment from an individual or family in the University’s history, $25 million, which was donated by Andre B. and Julia Lacy to name the Lacy School of Business.


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Donor Event

Butler's Successful Fundraising Continues

The generosity of more than 14,000 Butler University alumni and friends made fiscal year 2017 one of the University’s best fundraising years on record.

Jun 29 2017 Read more
Gallahue Hall

Butler Receives $5 Million Gift from Frank Levinson '75


PUBLISHED ON Jun 08 2017

Transformational gift will improve science facilities, enhance undergraduate research.

Butler University alumnus Frank Levinson ’75, a longtime Butler benefactor whose past gifts enabled Butler to upgrade its science programs and purchase its first supercomputer, is generously providing the University with a new $5 million gift to support the sciences. Enrollment in the sciences at Butler has increased nearly 50 percent over the last decade.

Frank Levinson

Levinson’s gift will be integral to the transformation of Butler’s science teaching and laboratory spaces, building on the University’s undergraduate research emphasis—recognized by U.S. News & World Report as among the best programs of its kind in the nation. The new facilities, designed to complement those of local and global science and health/life sciences companies, will enable Butler to collaborate more fully with and provide talent to these firms as well as prepare students for further study in the best graduate and post-professional programs.

Levinson grew up in Indianapolis and he and his family have a deep, multigenerational relationship with Butler University that goes back nearly 70 years. Levinson earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics from Butler in 1975, and in 2006 he received an honorary doctorate. His father, Alan C. “Buzz” Levinson, received his Master of Science in Education from Butler in 1953, during which time he helped install and align the telescope at Holcomb Observatory. Buzz frequently brought young Frank along, helping kindle Frank’s interest in science and optics.

Levinson’s mother, Winifred B. Levinson, received her Bachelor of Arts in French from Butler in 1951, and his brother Carl A. Levinson received his Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics in 1978.

“I have been so grateful for all the things that a Butler education has done for so many members of my family,” Levinson said. “Over many years, my family has seen how valuable and recognized this education has been. Looking forward, I know it takes a big commitment to stay on the cutting edge of the sciences. This gift aims to help keep this commitment high for many years to come.”

Levinson is an entrepreneur and investor who co-founded Finisar Corporation, a manufacturer of optical communication components and subsystems. He is currently the Managing Director of the early stage fund and incubator Small World Group, which engages in a mixture of venture capital, engineering, and philanthropy to help start companies or research efforts with a focus on “clean tech”—technology that helps improve the quality of life on earth.

He also is a partner in the San Mateo, California-based venture capital fund Phoenix Venture Partners, which invests in start-up teams developing advanced materials innovations for major industries such as photonics, health care, and sustainable products.

In 2007, Frank Levinson enabled Butler to establish a partnership with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), which affords Butler undergraduates opportunities to study in Panama with scientists who conduct long-term ecological research addressing nearly every aspect of tropical biodiversity from genetics, physiology, and ecology to the structure and function of ecosystems and the biosphere.

Levinson’s 2007 gift also supported Butler’s participation in the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy, or SARA, a telescope consortium that allows students to see the solar systems from various vantage points around the world, as well as the purchase of Butler’s supercomputer, nicknamed “The Big Dawg.”

The supercomputer—essentially two 7-foot by 3-foot racks of processing units that run hundreds of times faster than a conventional desktop computer—has enabled faculty and students to do advanced research, transform the teaching of math, computer science, and the sciences at Butler, and been a key selling point in the recruitment of the next generation of computer programmers.

“Frank has been a loyal and generous alumnus for many years, as well as a visionary who works to make our world better,” Butler President James M. Danko said. “His financial support has made a transformational impact on the sciences at Butler and will continue to help us enhance Butler’s commitment to developing critical thinkers who will go on to make contributions to Indianapolis, the region, and the world.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Gallahue Hall

Butler Receives $5 Million Gift from Frank Levinson '75

Butler University alumnus Frank Levinson ’75, a longtime Butler benefactor whose past gifts enabled Butler to upgrade its science programs and purchase its first supercomputer, is generously providing the University with a new $5 million gift to support the sciences. 

Jun 08 2017 Read more

COB Renamed the Andre B. Lacy School of Business


PUBLISHED ON Apr 26 2016

Butler University’s College of Business has been renamed the Andre B. Lacy School of Business, in recognition of a $25 million commitment from the Chairman of the Board of Indianapolis-based LDI, Ltd (Lacy Diversified Industries) and his wife, Julia, Butler President James M. Danko announced today. In addition, Lacy will serve as senior adviser to the School of Business.

The gift is Butler’s largest ever from an individual or family.

Andre B. Lacy

“The Butler community is deeply grateful to Andre and Julia Lacy for this transformational investment,” said Danko. “This partnership brings together recognized champions of business and education, and will further extend Butler’s national reputation as an innovative, world-class institution.”

“Butler has long been an excellent school and an anchor to the Indianapolis and Central Indiana community,” Lacy said. “But in the last five years, under President Danko’s leadership, I have seen Butler grow into a national player, especially when it comes to the University’s focus on innovation, experiential learning, and outcomes.”

In 2015, Butler was recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the Midwest’s most innovative school, and among the best in the nation for internships, study abroad, and undergraduate research. Just last week, Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranked Butler’s School of Business No. 1 in the nation for internships, and the School’s 2015 graduating class achieved a 99 percent placement rate.

“We hope this investment further establishes the Lacy School of Business—and Butler University overall—as the premier destination for students, faculty, employers, and community partners in Central Indiana and across the country,” Lacy said.

Lacy To Serve As Senior Adviser

Lacy has worked with Butler for more than a decade, serving on the Butler Business Consulting Group Advisory Panel and endowing a student scholarship within the School of Business. As part of this new partnership, Lacy will serve as a direct resource to the Lacy School of Business and Butler University community.

Stephen Standifird, Dean of the Lacy School of Business, said that Lacy will be an extraordinary asset to the School as senior adviser. “To do what we do well, we must have a strong group of people in the business community who are willing to advise us on what’s really happening—the dynamics of the marketplace, how we can increase connections with industry, and continue to be relevant,” Standifird said. “I can’t think of anybody better suited for that role than Andre Lacy. He is passionate about closely held business and developing the next generation of business leaders. We share these passions, which makes for a great partnership."

Lacy said he sees his new role at Butler as an opportunity to pass down what he’s learned and what he knows.

“The adviser role,” he said, “provides that opportunity to share, mentor, and help students see that prospering an entity is bigger than any one individual—and it gives back exponentially to the communities where they live. That’s a desire we see in this generation—to be part of something bigger than themselves, and to be on the ground floor of establishing something that has meaning and value.”

A Differentiated Experience

Two areas of particular focus for Lacy and Standifird will be helping the School build upon its signature experiential approach to teaching and learning, and expanding its focus on closely held businesses. In the School of Business, students create a business plan their first year, launch a company as sophomores, and complete at least two internships before graduation—a series of experiential requirements unmatched in the business school landscape.

Lacy sees these strengths as key to Butler’s differentiation. “Butler’s business program presents two main points of value proposition for the student that differentiate it from Kelley, Krannert, Harvard, and the like,” he said. “The first is focusing on closely held businesses—meaning small businesses and family-owned businesses—which drive the nation’s economy and make up 90 percent of Indiana’s business sector. The second is giving students the real-world experience of working directly with local businesses, seeing first-hand the challenges they face, and learning the art and science of developing and selling solutions that have real value in the business market.”

An Everlasting Alignment

Butler President Danko said Lacy’s approach, which stresses leadership, character, and integrity, strongly aligns with The Butler Way.

"Andre Lacy has demonstrated through his business success, community leadership, and principled life a strong conviction to improving society and the well-being of others,” he said. “The financial commitment from Andre and Julia is extraordinary, but of equal or even greater value will be the everlasting alignment of the Lacy name and Butler University."

Media contact:
Marc Allan



Author Michael Martone's Gift to Butler Will Spur Writing About Indiana


PUBLISHED ON Oct 07 2014

Author Michael Martone will make an endowed gift to Butler University in honor of his parents, Patricia ’53 and Anthony Martone, to support undergraduate English majors as they travel to conduct research and publish work about the state of Indiana and its citizens.

“My main interest is not to have another contest or award, but instead encourage writing,” Martone said. “Especially writing that is about place, since my own career has been about writing about Indianapolis and about Indiana, and my mother, who wrote a lot in her retirement in Fort Wayne, wrote specifically about her community and the state.”

Michael_Martone-lgOnly half-jokingly, he added, “If somebody wanted to write a proposal about going to Shapiro’s downtown and then write about the experience, that would be great.”

Martone, a novelist known for the book Fort Wayne is Seventh on Hitler’s List and several fake biographies – including one about him – has taught writing at the University of Alabama since 1996. He also has taught at Iowa State, Harvard, and Syracuse universities. Martone has won two NEA fellowships, and his stories and essays have appeared and been cited in the Pushcart Prize, The Best American Stories and The Best American Essays anthologies.

He attended Butler for five semesters in the late 1970s and has several ties to the University as a writer. He and English Professor Susan Neville co-edited a book called Rules of Thumb: 71 Authors Reveal Their Fiction Writing Fixations, which came out in 2006. This year, he and English Department Instructor Bryan Furuness finished collaborating on a book called Winesburg, Indiana, about “a sad town populated by people who have desperate, writeable private lives.”

The book, to be published next spring by IU Press, collects stories that originally appeared in Booth, Butler’s online literary magazine.

Martone has always written about Indiana. He’s currently working on The Collected Writings of Art Smith, the Bird Boy of Fort Wayne, a fake biography of an early aviation pioneer from Fort Wayne who’s also the inventor of skywriting.

“Art Smith was real,” Martone said, “and there’s evidence that he invented skywriting – which is exciting that the first writing in the sky was done over my hometown by this hometown hero. But there’s no documentation of that skywriting, so the book will be pictures that pretend to be actually taken of the skywriting, and the writing that I’ll do will be sort of faux scholarly ideas about that. I’m interested in satire and parody and examining what we believe to be fake and what we believe to be real. ”

Martone will return to Indiana on Oct. 24-25 for the Indiana Authors Awards and will officially give his gift then. He said he hopes the Patricia and Anthony Martone Endowed Gift Fund will attract contributions from his mother’s Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sisters and alumni who worked on Manuscripts, the campus literary magazine.

The gift agreement with the University specifies that special attention be paid to students who write about Indianapolis, Indiana and the Midwest, and, if possible, preference should be given to students who are involved with Manuscripts.

Patricia Martone graduated from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1953 with a degree in English. While at Butler, she was a member of the varsity debate team and also participated in speech and theater. She also contributed to The Drift (yearbook) and The Collegian (newspaper). Martone said some of her fondest memories were acting in A Midsummer Night's Dream produced outdoors in Holcomb Gardens and debating the touring team from Oxford.

Anthony Martone did not attend Butler, but he was engaged with the University through his wife’s and son’s on-campus involvement.

Andrew Levy, Chair of Butler’s English Department, said Martone’s gift “celebrates both the creative potential of our students, and the undervalued cultural possibilities of Indiana and the Midwest. It’s incredibly thoughtful, and pitch-perfect, and we’re truly grateful for it.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan