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Shane Battier on Leadership and The Catalyst Effect

 

When most think about leadership, a CEO or All-Star athlete might come to mind. Think Bill Gates or LeBron James. However, according to recent research from two Lacy School of Business professors, we may have it all wrong.

Now, think retired NBA player, Shane Battier.

The book The Catalyst Effect highlights how the most successful organizations (or teams) are full of individuals who lead from wherever they are. In this interview exclusive to Butler University, Shane Battier shares his advice for leading from within with co-author and Butler MBA adjunct professor Jerry Toomer.

Stephanie Fernhaber: A Butler Professor Taking Learning Beyond the Classroom

by Sarah Bahr

While visiting a friend 4,300 miles away in Morocco last fall, Butler University Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship Stephanie Fernhaber came face-to-face with her first-world privilege.

She encountered a woman her age—43—who’d never attended a day of school in her life. The woman could neither read nor write.

“I’d read about the percent of women who are illiterate, but she wasn’t a number,” Fernhaber says. “She was an actual person.”

Fernhaber was inspired by the Moroccan mother’s determination to send her daughters to school, to break the cycle of illiteracy.

Back in Indianapolis, Fernhaber had a similar experience in 2017 when she discovered that the city she lives and works in was ranked last in the nation for food deserts, or areas where residents must travel a mile or more to reach a grocery store.

“I was shocked,” she says.

But, in both cases, she was also inspired. And she turned her shock into action.

All in the Family

Fernhaber grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin—Gresham, population 586 as of the 2010 census—as the daughter of community-minded parents.

“I was familiar with social justice before I ever learned the word,” she says.

She credits her father, who owned a construction company, for instilling her passion for community-conscious activism.

“I was always conscious of the balance between business, community, and social impact,” she says.

Fernhaber has now lived in Indiana for nine years—she moved after she took a teaching position at Butler in 2010—but her passion for social entrepreneurship, or using start-up companies to develop and implement solutions to community issues, transcends location.

A longtime dream came to fruition when she developed a social entrepreneurship course at Butler, which she inaugurated in spring 2014.

Nonprofits in Indianapolis were scrambling to address big-picture issues like food insecurity and refugee resettlement with limited resources.

She had a captive audience of 24 students for 16 weeks (and could have had even more, but she caps the class, which she says always fills, to ensure it remains meaningful for students).

What can we do to help?, she thought.

A Class of Dreams

Fernhaber calls the Social Entrepreneurship course her “dream class”—in more ways than one. Yes, it allows her to share her passion for utilizing entrepreneurship to create social justice solutions, but it also inspires students to exercise their creativity.

“I wanted them to have a chance to see what’s happening in the community and have the chance to dream, and this class allows me to do both,” she says.

This spring, her fifth semester teaching the course, her students will split into teams of three and partner with eight community organizations. Past partners have included the Indianapolis Canine Assistance Network, Exodus Refugee Immigration, and Indy Reads Books, but Fernhaber adds new ones each year.

Each team will assess their assigned organization’s business model based on the social enterprise concepts they’re learning in class, as well as provide recommendations for how the organization can better serve their target population.

They’ll also produce a short video that will highlight the impact the organization is having in the community. At the end of the semester, the videos will be shared on the Central Indiana Social Enterprise Alliance website.

Beyond the Classroom

Butler sophomore Jordan Stewart-Curet, 20, helped Boys & Girls Club Teen Council members develop youth empowerment initiatives as part of the communityINNOVATE project, an initiative Fernhaber developed in 2016 to inspire the community to co-create solutions for social issues.

“The best memories I have are from the group discussions that would take place with the teen groups,” Stewart-Curet says. “To see them transform from shy, reserved individuals to powerful, confident community leaders are experiences I will forever take with me.”

Stewart-Curet calls Fernhaber someone who “truly, truly cares” and “is full of passion and drive to better the community.”

“She is a phenomenal woman,” Stewart-Curet says. “She has a heart for not only the students she works with, but issues of justice and equality for the community around her.”

Case in point: Teaching a class on social entrepreneurship and empowering her students to better their community wasn’t enough.

Fernhaber does so in her free time as well.

She’s developed a myriad of social entrepreneurship initiatives in Indianapolis through her communityINNOVATE project, among them the 2018 Indy Youth Empowerment Challenge and the 2017 Indy Healthy Food Access Challenge.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could bring some of these processes from the class into the community?’” says Fernhaber.

Through communityINNOVATE, Fernhaber brings together a group of change-makers from Indianapolis businesses, nonprofits, and citizens to devise solutions to one social issue per year.

In spring 2017, she launched the Indy Healthy Food Access Challenge to facilitate discussions among businesses, church groups, and neighborhood residents to answer the question: “How might Indianapolis residents better access healthy and affordable food?”

She followed up the effort with the Indy Youth Empowerment Challenge in spring 2018, a four-month process designed to pinpoint the obstacles preventing youth empowerment in Indy — and implode them.

She worked with the Kheprw Institute, an Indianapolis nonprofit that works to empower young people through mentorship, to host workshops to teach young people about social capital—for instance, putting participants in groups and asking them to plan a trip to Florida in 10 minutes, including how they’d get there, where they’d stay, and what they’d eat.

The catch? They couldn’t use money.

Attendees instead had to think about how to leverage their existing relationships to make the trip happen, relying on social rather than financial capital.

As for 2019? She’s taking a hiatus from hosting a challenge to map out the initiative’s future, but with plenty of social problems left to solve—Indy’s increasing gap among the haves and have-nots, the race divide, and economic problems among them—she’s sure to be busy for the foreseeable future.

No Day But Today

Fernhaber’s Social Entrepreneurship students will soon dive into this spring’s projects with partner organizations ranging from Nine Lives Cat Café in Fountain Square to RecycleForce, a recycling company that employs formerly incarcerated individuals.

And some students, such as Stewart-Curet, might even come away from the class with changed career goals.

“I want to become a creative director for a nonprofit or minority-owned business that focuses on intercommunity efforts and youth empowerment,” she says. “This project definitely influenced that.”

Fernhaber is clever like that: Students think their work is impacting the Indianapolis community, but the greater impact may actually be on them.

PeopleCommunity

In National Survey, Butler Alumni Outshine Most Others

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 29 2019

For Jarod Wilson, work is much more than just a job. The 2008 Butler University graduate was a first-generation college student. He was able to attend Butler only after being named a 21st Century Scholar.

Now he works at the place that awards those scholarships.

Gallup Poll Results“It’s exciting to me to be able to work for an agency that helped me want to go to college and go to Butler, which was my dream school,” he says. “And the work that we do is so important and close to my heart, coming from a first-generation background. I have a close, personal connection to the work.”

Wilson is the Director of Post-Secondary Outreach and Career Transitions with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. He works with colleges to make sure they are providing support to students who receive financial aid. To him, his job and his mission is personal.

Through Wilson, it is easy to see why 78 percent of Butler grads say they are deeply interested in the work they do. That compares with 73 percent of college graduates nationwide, according to the Gallop-Purdue Index. The GPI is an annual survey of a representative sample of more than 70,000 U.S. college graduates who have obtained a bachelor’s degree. It measures overall well-being, workplace engagement, college experiences, and affinity and attachment to one’s alma mater.

Butler outperformed its peers by most GPI measures. For example, nearly nine in 10 Butler alumni are satisfied with the education they received, and 80 percent say Butler was the perfect place for them.

Mollie Thomas, a 2015 graduate, completely agrees.

Thomas majored in Arts Administration and minored in Art + Design. She now works as the Manager of Member and Donor Experience for Newfields, the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s campus. For her, Butler provided the perfect combination of being challenged, yet also providing a place to figure out exactly what path to take after school.

“I was able to pursue my passion in an environment where people helped me grow,” she says. “It was ideal. I feel way more equipped to navigate our world and our culture because of the education I got.

It is not surprising, then, that 42 percent of grads said they had a job waiting for them when they graduated, according to the GPI. That compares with 31 percent of college graduates nationally. And 53 percent say that Butler’s Internship and Career Services office was helpful in their preparation to land that job. Nationally, 43 percent say that about their alma mater’s career services office.

Aaron Smith doesn’t know where he would be without Butler’s Career Services Office. The 2017 grad knew he was passionate about clothing design, but Butler didn’t teach that. He sought out Courtney Rousseau, a Career Services Advisor who teaches a course called Career Planning Strategies. Her course covers topics like resume writing, networking, and interviews. After talking to Smith, Rousseau connected him with a professional in the clothing design field who was able to share her experiences.

Now, Smith works as a personal stylist for Dia & Co., a plus-size women’s clothing subscription company. He selects outfits for customers and helps them style the clothing he picks.

“Courtney making that happen—that was just the best for me,” he says. “I’m now doing something that I love, which is working in the realm of fashion.”

Butler President James Danko says he is pleased that grads appreciate what they learned and the attention they received while on campus.

“I’m so happy to see that Butler graduates have found their education worthwhile, and that they’ve been able to have meaningful, fulfilling careers,” Danko says. “This is what we strive for every day.”

PeopleCommunity

In National Survey, Butler Alumni Outshine Most Others

Butler Grads Excel in Well-Being, Work Place engagement, and college experience.

Jan 29 2019 Read more

Making a Career of Building Diversity

by Marc D. Allan MFA '18

In her first three years at Butler University, Valerie Davidson created the Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series, GospelFest, and the annual Volunteer-Study Tour Service-Learning Experience, which lets students do volunteer work and tour a major U.S. city.

She accomplished all of this while only working  part-time at Butler.

After she became full time in 1989, Davidson helped more than triple the number of African-American students on campus and helped the Black Student Union become a significant presence among student groups.

She had a hand in developing both the Dr. John Morton-Finney Scholarship Program—named for the alumnus who earned 13 academic degrees, served as a Buffalo Soldier in the Spanish-American War, and was a practicing attorney at the time of his death at age 108—and the Multicultural Resource Center, the forerunner to the Efroymson Diversity Center, which opened in 2006 and is home to seven diversity student organizations.

She assisted in creation of the Voices of Deliverance Gospel Choir, expanded the diversity lecture series to partner with the Office of the Mayor of Indianapolis (as well as the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation and several prominent companies), and created or shepherded a long list of programs that made Butler a more welcoming environment for multicultural students.

But now, Davidson, Butler’s Director of Diversity Programs and Director of the Efroymson Diversity Center, is retiring. After 32 years at Butler, her last day is January 2.

"I didn't plan to be here 32 years," she said. "I just looked up and I'd been here 20 years, and then a few more years went by and in October of 2018 it was 32 years. Having been at the forefront of building diversity on campus, I can see how much we've progressed as an institution. And I'm proud of that. I can also see areas in which we continue to need to improve. Now it's time for somebody else to take things to the next level."

*

Davidson grew up a few miles from Butler, the daughter of a distinguished musician/music educator father (Larry Liggett, who recorded for the Chess Records label, and led the Indianapolis Public Schools Music Department) and a mother, Earline, who was his business manager and a licensed booking agent. Jazz greats Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, and Clark Terry were among the visitors to their home when she was a young girl.

She finished her undergraduate degree at IUPUI, where she studied to be a high school social studies teacher, and did her master's in student affairs administration at IU-Bloomington.

After graduation, she accepted a paid internship that turned into a full-time job with the Indiana House Democratic Caucus. She'd been there eight months when a classified ad in the Sunday Indianapolis Star caught her eye: Butler University was looking for a part-time coordinator of minority student affairs. The University wanted someone to provide support services for the minority student population and serve as advisor for the fledgling Black Student Union. All in 15-20 hours a week.

Davidson got the job—and kept her full-time gig with the legislature. She'd drive from the Statehouse downtown to Butler Monday through Friday at lunchtime and also work at night.

One of the first things she did was reach out to the minority student population, predominantly African-American students, and ask for a meeting.

"I needed to get to know them and figure out what they wanted and needed to see happen," she said. "I wanted to know what their experience had been and what I could do to support them, to create an environment in which they felt at home, in which they felt they could be successful, in which they felt valued and embraced, and see what they wanted to see happen."

One thing almost all of them wanted was a cultural center. That would take until 2006, when Lori Efroymson-Aguilera and the Efroymson Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation gave Butler $1 million to create the Efroymson Diversity Center.

In the meantime, Davidson kept building up the diversity lecture series—bringing ex-Presidents (Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush), secretaries of state (Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright) and other dignitaries to campus—and GospelFest, which grew from the Johnson Room (capacity 100) to Clowes Memorial Hall (2,100). The Volunteer-Study Tour Service-Learning Experience, which started as a one-day trip to Chicago with a small group, developed into an annual long-weekend-before-Thanksgiving trip to New Orleans.

Forty-six students took part this year.

*

What she'll miss most are the students.

"Students are like her second family," said Bobbie Gibson, who worked with Davidson from 2001–2018. "She came to work every day with a glad heart, and she always found the strength to come through for them."

Whether celebrating their achievements—like getting to sing backup for Stevie Wonder at Banker's Life Fieldhouse—or getting them through a rough patch, "Ms. Valerie," as she is known, is there.

"I've always tried to be as supportive as possible of students and their individual needs," she said, beginning to tell the story of a student who attempted suicide. After several days in the hospital, the girl was released and temporarily dismissed from the University. As the girl packed up her belongings to make the drive home, Davidson packed up her son, Jason, then in middle school, and they followed the girl back to the Chicago area to make sure she got home safely. (The story ends happily: The girl came back to Butler, graduated, and is healthy and successful.)

Davidson said her greatest achievement was helping change the culture for diverse students on campus.

"Most of the students on campus were pretty isolated and invisible when I got here," she said. "It was a polarized campus. There wasn't a lot of engagement between the various subpopulations on campus."

She helped the Black Student Union develop a strategic plan. Its numbers started to grow, and the organization developed a presence on campus. In 1992, the BSU won the Lamp of Wisdom Award for Most Outstanding Student Organization on campus for the first of eight consecutive years.

"I can remember watching the vice president of BSU walk up onstage and accept the award," Davidson said. "I had tears in my eyes. To see them go from this struggling, little, isolated organization to emerge as a leading organization on campus was one of the proudest moment that I had."

Khayleia Foy '19, President of the Black Student Union, said that even though Davidson has not officially been the organization's advisor since 2015, she "was a great support system for BSU whenever we needed her."

In addition, Foy said, Davidson's work in planning and running the pre-welcome week program Dawg Days has been invaluable because "without this program and the relationships that I have built over the years because of it, I may not still be a student at Butler."

*

When Davidson started at Butler full time in 1989, she planned to stay for five years. She'd hoped to accomplish a few things and then go back to government. But by that point, her son, Jason, was ready to go into high school, and he'd grown up around Butler, so she decided to stay.

Then he graduated from Park Tudor in 1997 and was admitted to Butler. She figured she'd stay around till after he graduated, then enter the job market. (Jason Davidson graduated in 2001 and is an instructor in the Lacy School of Business.)

Then Bobby Fong was named President in 2001, and "he came to Butler with a strong commitment to diversity." That fall, she was integral in getting Butler and the Mayor's Office to partner on presenting the diversity lecture series. Coretta Scott King was the first speaker in that partnership.

Then Butler made diversity a funding priority in its capital campaign and the diversity center, "a 20-year dream," became a reality. It also became vital to students—not only for meeting space but because of who ran it.

"The Diversity Center has been like a home for me for the past three and a half years," Foy said, "and it will not be the same without Ms. Valerie there. I will miss the support, advice, sacrifice, and genuine care that Ms. Valerie has shown for anyone (not just students) that has come through the Diversity Center over the years."

PeopleCampus

Making a Career of Building Diversity

"Having been at the forefront of building diversity on campus, I can see how much we've progressed."

Making a Career of Building Diversity

by Marc D. Allan MFA '18

Hinkle Magic in Unexpected Places

by Sally Perkins

As we celebrate 90 years of Hinkle, we asked professional storyteller and adjunct professor Sally Perkins to share a few stories from its illustrious history. Sally is the creator and performer of “Keeping Hinkle Hinkle,” a story commissioned by Storytelling Arts of Indiana and Indiana Landmarks in honor of Butler receiving the Cook Cup Award for its historically accurate restoration of Hinkle Fieldhouse in 2014.

* * *

What six-year-old wouldn’t want to see Hinkle’s center court from a bird’s eye view??

After all, from one of the 10 trusses that hold up the building, you could see so many “Hinkle Magic” moments: Bobby Plump’s famous last shot in the 1954 Milan High School championship game; the 1955/1956 Attucks High School back-to-back championship games; Butler’s buzzer beater win over Gonzaga in 2013; Butler’s upset win over Villanova in 2017.

And so many not-so-famous “Hinkle Magic” moments: when the women’s team had to fight for their fair share of court time in 1976; when a Butler cheerleader’s boyfriend proposed to her on the Bulldog on center court; when average fans and hundreds of their children got to play on the court, no questions asked, after basketball games.

So many “Hinkle Magic” moments have occurred on that legendary court. But “Hinkle Magic” moments have also occurred in other less expected spaces of the fieldhouse as well…

Up High

Tony HinkleCountless people can tell you they’ve run around that track on the second level of the fieldhouse. But not everyone can say that from that track they successfully distracted Tony Hinkle from his work.

Back in the 1920s, through the 1970s, when Tony Hinkle was the basketball coach … and the football coach … and the baseball coach … and the Athletic Director … and a teacher … he was un-distractible. After all, it takes a person of focus to manage all those roles.

But one day he got distracted.

In the 1930s, Tony Hinkle typically came to the fieldhouse on Sunday afternoons to review film from the previous day’s game. Often he brought his daughter Patty with him. She thought the fieldhouse was her private playground.

One particular Sunday when Patty was about 6-years-old, she roller skated up and down the ramps, got bored with that, then decided she wanted to see what center court looked like …  from a bird’s eye view.

So Patty went up to the track on the second level and started crawling up one of the trusses, getting herself half way to center court. That’s way up there.

Now every so often, Mr. Hinkle thought he should probably check up on his daughter Patty. So he started looking around the fieldhouse. When he couldn’t find Patty, he stepped into the arena.

Maybe he heard a sound; maybe he just moved his head the right way, but he looked up and there he saw his 6-year-old daughter, like a sloth crawling out to center court. Gulp.

Lucky for Patty, her father wasn’t, well, Bobby Knight. Mr. Hinkle knew that yelling at Patty would likely scare her to her death. So he called the fire department who raced over to the fieldhouse with a net.

But Patty thought to herself, “Eh, if I can get myself out here, I can get myself back.” So she started crawling backwards along the truss, sliding down its arc until she landed on her feet, on the track … right across from her father. Patty stared at her father’s feet.

They stood in silence for a long time.

Until finally Mr. Hinkle said, “You got guts, don’t ya, kid?”  

He never said another word. And he never told her mother. A secret “Hinkle Magic” moment Patty and her father shared for the rest of their lives.

But that wasn’t the only time something on that track distracted Tony Hinkle.

On Track

In 1946, Charlie McElfresh—a man who was tiny enough to be a horse jockey—came to the fieldhouse when Mr. Hinkle hired him to be his equipment manager. Frankly, it was a low-paying job, but Charlie knew it meant his kids could come to Butler tuition-free. So he took the job and spent the next 33 years of his life down in the bowels of the fieldhouse in the equipment cage, which isn’t so unlike a jail cell: crowded, dark, cramped … odorous.

But Charlie rather preferred life down there. He always had a 6-inch cigarette holder hanging out of his mouth as he washed and dried every football, basketball, and baseball uniform, game after game after game.

Now if you met Charlie, you might wonder if he liked the athletes. Or any humans, for that matter.

His rather crass nature was especially obvious one day in the 1970s when the men’s basketball team went to Omaha for a game against Creighton. On this rare occasion, Charlie got to travel with the team.

The coaches and Charlie stayed up a little too late on Friday night in Charlie’s room playing poker. The next morning, all the team members and coaches were gathered for breakfast in the hotel lobby as the players all stuffed themselves with scrambled eggs and bacon before the game. But Charlie was nowhere to be seen.

One of the players asked, “Where’s Charlie?”

Knowing how small Charlie McElfresh was, one of the tallest players on the team, John Dunn, joked, “Heh. Heh. Maybe he couldn’t figure out how to jump out of his bed this morning!”

They all laughed and hollered until John Dunn happened to turn around, and there he stood face-to-face (well, chest-to-face) with Charlie, who barked, “Wash your own damn clothes, Dunn.”

And John Dunn did have to wash his own clothes for the next three weeks until Charlie was ready to forgive him. Charlie was nobody’s servant down there in the equipment cage.

But Charlie McElfresh was looking out for those boys. Whenever he thought Mr. Hinkle’s practices had gone on too long or that Mr. Hinkle was being too tough on the boys, Charlie would put on a giant cowboy hat he had in his equipment cage. Then he’d hop onto an old banana seat bicycle that was hanging around in the fieldhouse. He’d ride that bicycle up the ramp to the second floor where he’d ride around and around the track, wearing that huge cowboy hat until everyone would look at him and laugh. Finally, Mr. Hinkle would say, “Alright, alright Charlie. I get it. I get it.” And practice would end.

So once again, the un-distractible Tony Hinkle was distracted by a “Hinkle Magic” moment on that track on the second floor.

Down Low

Charlie McElfreshThere are a lot of Charlie McElfresh “Hinkle Magic” moments. Most occurred away from public view, deep down in the equipment cage, in the depths of Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Back in 1976, when the United States was celebrating its bicentennial, Barry Collier was a student athlete at Butler, mourning the loss of his final basketball game his senior year. It was an away game. So when the team got back to Butler the bus pulled into the fieldhouse parking lot, and the boys were told to go turn in their uniforms.

The team members all trudged down, down, down to the equipment cage. Barry lingered behind the rest of the team. Finally, with his chin sagging to his chest, he tossed his uniform into the bin and took some melancholy steps out of the equipment cage.

Suddenly he heard a raspy voice behind him say, “Check the ice machine before ya leave.”

Barry spun around. “What? What, Charlie?”

CHECK THE ICE MACHINE BEFORE YA LEAVE,” Charlie growled.

“Uh, alright. Alright. Sure, Charlie.”

So Barry walked over and opened the refrigerator door. In the ice box sat a single item: a brown paper bag with a six-pack of Stroh’s beer.

Barry spun around to say, “thank-“ but Charlie was gone. He smiled, took out the six-pack, and went to find a fellow senior teammate to share it with.

A “Hinkle Magic” moment from Charlie McElfresh.

Four years after Barry Collier graduated, on a September Sunday in 1980, Charlie McElfresh was washing and drying football uniforms when he had a heart attack and died in that equipment cage. That cigarette holder hanging out of his mouth.

He wouldn’t have wanted to have been anyplace else.

Why? Because Hinkle Fieldhouse is filled with “Hinkle Magic.” If you look hard enough and listen to enough stories, you’ll find that magic not just on the court, but in the nooks and crannies, the bowels and cages, the tracks and bleachers … and mostly in the hearts of the people who dedicate their souls to one another in that special space we call Hinkle Fieldhouse.

PeopleCampus

Hinkle Magic in Unexpected Places

If these walls could talk…oh, the stories they would tell.

Butler Year in Review: The People of 2018

In March of 2018, we launched Butler Stories, a place to share news, tell tales, and engage more deeply with our community. Over the course of the year we have shared more than 100 stories about the Butler community and its impact.

People are what make Butler so extraordinary. Every day, we are reminded of just how compassionate, tenacious, and curious Bulldogs can be. From a patient’s bedside to the sideline at Hinkle, some of our most notable stories of 2018 were about some of the most exceptionable members of our Butler Family.

Here are just 5 of the top profiles of the year:

 

Butler Roots Run Deep

Having spent much of his youth on the sidelines of Hinkle, Campbell Donovan’s path to playing for the men’s basketball team was a dream come true for both him and his family.

 

Perseverance and Patients

Cancer kept Trent Tipple from officially receiving his Butler degree until May 2018, nearly 27 years after he enrolled, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his dream to become a Neonatal physician.

 

Let Passion Lead You

In the spring of 1985, just days before graduating, Dave Calabro skipped his math final to announce for the first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The decision paid off for the man who eventually became the official voice of the Indianapolis 500.

 

Shelvin Mack’s Homecoming

Shelvin Mack decided to leave school early to pursue his NBA dream. 7 years into his successful professional basketball career, he’s pursuing a old dream – a Butler degree.

 

Lee-gacy

Award-winning reporter and current editor for Butler’s Collegian Dana Lee ’19 has written for ESPN and hobnobbed with celebrities, but it’s impossible to tell her story without bringing up her two younger siblings, Jessica and Michael, who also happen to attend Butler.

PeopleCampus

Butler Year in Review: The People of 2018

From a patient’s bedside to the sideline at Hinkle, here are some of our most notable stories of 2018.

GivingPeople

Donors Give $1 Million to Honor Lacy School of Business Visionary Dick Fetter

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Dec 03 2018

The vision for the Butler University Lacy School of Business can be traced back to a drawing of a barbell on a crumpled-up napkin.

Instead of 25-pound weights on each side, there was the First-Year Business Experience and the Butler Business Consulting Group. Each side, then-Dean Dick Fetter would explain, represented a key aspect of what the school’s curriculum would be built around: real life experience. This, Fetter explained to anyone who would listen, was exactly what was missing. In fact, he felt, it was what was missing from most business school curriculums. Nearly 20 years ago and ahead of his time, Fetter thought that the key to taking Butler from a fine business school to a great one was to get students more exposure to the business world from day one.  

A former fertilizer business owner, Fetter entered the academic world and saw a disconnect between what was needed in the business world and what students were getting on campus. So, he wanted to change it. And he took to napkins, whiteboards, scraps of paper, anything, to show people his ideas.

The ideas, explains Dan McQuiston, Associate Professor of Marketing and the man largely responsible for hiring Fetter, had been floating around Fetter’s head for years. But, once he was named Dean of the College of Business in 1999, he started to really put his vision into motion. He would diagram out what a revamped curriculum would look like to solve this dilemma—to turn a fine school, McQuiston explains, into a top-quality one on the cutting edge of experiential learning before it became the go-to-catch-phrase-every-school-touts-themselves-as-being.

About 20 years later, a $22 million Lilly Endowment grant, an overhauled curriculum, and a new building on the way, much of the progress behind the Lacy School of Business, and its national recognition as a result , can be traced back to Fetter’s trailblazing ways. And napkins.

“Dick is a visionary,” McQuiston says. “He really was able to see where education was going, what was needed, and how to get us there. He put into place the programmatic things that we are still doing today, the very things that give us a tremendous competitive advantage.

audience clapping for Dick Fetter“We went from the school no one really knew about to a model school. Now, we cannot fit anyone else in here with a shoehorn. Because of the programs Dick put into place 15 years ago when no one else was thinking about experiential education, we have been able to attract students from all over the place. We would not be putting up a new building if it wasn’t for Dick.”

So, it is only fitting that the new building honor the man friends, co-workers, former students, and business partners say is largely responsible for it. When fundraising for the new Lacy School of Business building started three years ago, recognizing Fetter, who is now an Associate Professor of Marketing, in some way was immediately a priority, says Graham Honaker, Executive Director of Principal Gifts.

Fifty-five donors and $1 million later, the Dean’s Suite in the new Lacy School of Business building will be named in Fetter’s honor. Donations came from members of Fetter’s own family, from individuals representing seven different states, from Butler graduates from the class of 1962 to the class of 2016. There were several first-time donors, long-time donors, faculty members, former students, and some with no connection to Butler except Fetter.

“This was really a grassroots effort and the more people we talked to, it just took off and kept going because Dick has influenced and helped so many individuals,” Honaker says. “There were not a lot of no’s in the process. Everyone gave a different amount, of course, but it all helped us get to our goal. It shows the influence Dick has had and the power of every gift.”

And even more impressive, this fundraising effort was all kept a secret from Fetter the entire time. But those who know him best say that if he knew, he would have attempted to shut the entire thing down.

On a recent Friday evening, a group of Fetter’s family, former students, colleagues, President James Danko, and others gathered in Fairview House to reveal the $1 million surprise. Fetter showed up in a hardhat—he thought he was there to give a tour of the new business school building. He knew something was awry when he saw his four sisters from Ohio in the room.

“Rarely am I speechless, but I’m almost at a loss for words,” said Fetter.

About 95 percent of those who donated to the $1 million were there to celebrate—from Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio, to name a few—Fetter’s vision and leadership, and to return the gifts he had given all of them.

**

Dan McQuiston first met Dick Fetter at the copy machine.

Dean's Suite RenderingLet’s be clear. McQuiston had certainly heard of Fetter. Everyone at Indiana University had. McQuiston was a professor and Fetter was a star doctoral student. Professors would seek Fetter out to do their data analysis and research because he was so skilled, says McQuiston.

“I remember when I first actually met him he said, ‘hi, my name is Dick Fetter,’ and I just kind of laughed because of course I knew who he was,” McQuiston says. “But that is the kind of guy Dick is. He is the most humble, unassuming, deferential person you will ever meet.”

The two chatted and right then and there McQuiston was impressed. Shortly after that, McQuiston took a job at Butler and his first mission as department chair: hire Dick Fetter.

“I didn’t think we had a snowball’s chance in Haiti of getting Dick here, but I knew I was going to do whatever I could to try,” he says. “His older daughter was thinking of going to North Carolina for school and I knew Dick had an offer from Wake Forest, so I figured we were done.”

McQuiston was giving his daughter a bath when the phone rang. It was Fetter. He braced for the bad news. But, he will never forget the words on the other end.

“Dick said, ‘I am coming to Butler,’ and I nearly dropped the phone in the bath,” says McQuiston.

But what came next, he says, was foreshadowing at its finest. McQuiston asked Fetter why he decided on Butler and his answer was simple. Fetter told McQuiston that he is a builder and he wanted to build things. That, McQuiston says, is how it all started. For the next couple years Fetter commuted from Bloomington, often times sleeping in a bed in Robertson Hall.

Fetter became interim dean in 1999 and started to put into play many of the programmatic changes that the Lacy School of Business is known for today, says McQuiston. For example, at the time, first-year students didn’t take any business classes. He changed that by putting into place the First Year Business Experience, which gave students experience working with corporate partners. He implemented the Real Business Experience for sophomores, which is essentially a mini-Shark Tank.

“These were, and continue to be, tremendous competitive advantages for our school,” McQuiston says. “Coming in as interim dean, he could have just kept things status quo and made sure things ran smoothly. But that’s not Dick. He had ideas and knew how to make us go from good to great. He put everything together that you now see as cornerstones of our school.”

Then there was the Butler Business Consulting Group. This was Fetter’s model for how Butler could serve as a place to attract businesses, and in turn, get students more real-life experience. Butler received a Lilly Grant for this to the tune of $22 million.

“Every decision he made was about students. With him, it is always about the students and how to make their experience better,” he says.

**

Dick Fetter embraces donorJulie Hoffmann was set on Drake University. She had been to campus multiple times, her living arrangements were finalized, and there were only three days left before her decision would be official in April of her senior year of high school.

But, there was that scholarship offer from Butler, and she hadn’t visited campus yet, so she hit the road with her dad from Wisconsin just to make sure.

She went through her visit, took a tour, sat in on a class, ate lunch, and was unswayed, she says. The last thing on her schedule was to meet with Dick Fetter. She told her dad to wait outside, she would be out in 10 minutes.

An hour-and-a-half later, she walked out, and on the car ride home she told her dad she was going to Butler.

Fetter knew Hoffmann’s interests, he offered her a job as his student assistant, he gave her his home phone number, and he was well aware of what she did in high school.

“Nobody is better at subtle sales than Dick,” says Hoffmann, who graduated from Butler in 1998 and is now Assistant Director of the IT Help Desk at Butler. “At that age, hard selling wouldn’t have worked. He was a great listener, he remembered what I said, he made me feel like an adult, he read my file carefully, he never was in a hurry. I will never forget my first encounter with him.”

Her second semester on campus she was in a bad car accident and couldn’t get home to Wisconsin. She needed some time to recover and couldn’t use stairs, so the Fetters invited her to stay in their home for a couple weeks. It just so happened to be the exact same day a foreign exchange student arrived at their home, as well, but that didn’t matter to the Fetters, Hoffmann says. Dick’s wife, Peg, stocked the house with all her favorite snacks, like iced animal crackers, and made her grilled cheese sandwiches and mashed potatoes to make Hoffmann feel at home.

Hoffmann went on to work for Fetter for all four years she was at Butler. She roomed with their youngest daughter, Sara, three different times in her life. When Hoffmann needed surgery on her wrist her senior year, the Fetters took her. When a job opened at Butler in 2000 doing marketing research in the Office of Admission that initially brought Hoffmann back to campus, it was Fetter who told her about it. And when her dad died three years ago, it was the Fetters who drove 350 miles each way in one day to attend his funeral.

“The depths of how many different things I am grateful to the Fetters for is limitless,” Hoffmann says. “At every turn in my life when I needed something, they never hesitated. And my story is not unique. There are lots of Butler students who have lived with them for a summer. Their door has always been open, they have always been there for whoever needed them.”

Just ask J.J. DeBrosse.

DeBrosse first met Fetter when he was an undergrad and Fetter became his advisor his senior year. The two developed a relationship and Fetter was someone DeBrosse could go to for financial, personal, and career advice.

But, DeBrosse will never forget the day he lost his first child to SIDS, and the first people at the hospital were Dick and Peg Fetter. DeBrosse still isn’t sure how they found out, the day was a blur, but the Fetters were there when DeBrosse needed them most. The Fetters drove J.J. and his wife home, let their friends and family know, arranged for food at the house, and made sure their cars ended up back at their house.

“You are so helpless in that moment, and for them to drop everything and be there for us at our lowest moment and make sure everything was taken care of, and then just disappear, that is who they are. They are behind the scenes people who are so big hearted, but don’t want any attention,” says DeBrosse.

There isn’t a moment, DeBrosse says, in his life that Fetter hasn’t been a part of. DeBrosse is now the Director of Graduate and Professional Recruitment in the Lacy School of Business, a position Fetter pushed him to interview for.

He meets with Fetter weekly and can count on honest feedback, just as it was when he was an undergrad.

“Dick is so generous and never judges you. I know he will always give advice, and will push back on an idea I might have, but in a way that is thoughtful and smart and you know he is making you better and making you think differently,” DeBrosse says. “If there is one thing in life I fear it is disappointing people I care about and for me that is my parents, my wife, and then Dick is next in line. I have seen him help people in so many different ways, from personal matters, to helping with major business advice.”

**

Dick Fetter claps for speakerLaura Yurs was frustrated. She knew something was wrong with the financials of her family business, but she couldn’t get a straight answer from her accountant. She knew exactly who to call.

“I knew I could trust Dick. I knew he wouldn’t beat around the bush about it, I knew he would be direct,” says Yurs, who graduated from Butler in 1998 and worked for a professor down the hall from Fetter as a student.

So, Yurs met Fetter for dinner, explained what was going on, and a week later, the two met at Barnes and Noble to go over the financials. Fetter kept asking questions as he poured over the papers, as Yurs fed her eight-month-old daughter. Fetter calmly asked for the weekend, and said he would be in touch on Monday.

Monday came and Fetter confirmed Yurs’ hunch. The financials were not in good shape. But, he also had a plan. He identified the problem, had steps to take to turn things around, and suggested Yurs sign on with the Butler Business Consulting Group (BBCG).

“He changed our lives,” Yurs says. “He could have turned and ran and said I cannot help you, but he stood by us. A lot of people would have run for the door. Now, 10 years later, we are still in business and it is because of that pivotal moment. If we hadn’t called him, if he didn’t help, I think we would no longer be in business.”

Laura and her husband, Kevin, signed up with the BBCG. Student interns sat in on their business’ meetings, their situation was used as a case study, and while the Yurs participated in MBA classes at Butler, Peg Fetter babysat.

“Dick understood what we were facing very quickly, and he had the desire to see us get through it,” Kevin says. “Whenever we have had something pivotal—kids, business—he has been the critical difference and been there for us. But if you ask him, he will say he didn’t do anything. He is really great at understanding a situation, analyzing it for what it is, but then caring enough to help.”

**

Butler has also been there for the Fetters.

Alli, Dick’s oldest daughter, got her master’s degree from Butler’s College of Education in 2002. Sara, Dick’s youngest daughter, graduated from Butler with a degree in Anthropology in 2001. Peg has taken many classes at Butler over the years.

“My dad’s students and peers have meant so much to our entire family over the years. We have met so many amazing people because of Butler,” Alli says. “My dad would say the advancement of the College of Business over the last 30 years has been the product of the work of so many.”

When Alli found out about the 55 donors, she broke down for about 10 minutes. She started thinking about all that has taken place. There was the time Bob Mackoy gave up his sabbatical so Fetter could be with his family during a really difficult time. There are the lifelong friends that she met when she was a teenager that stayed in their home over the summer.

“Butler instantly became family when my dad accepted the job and since then my dad’s colleagues and students have meant so much to our entire family,” Alli says. “We are so grateful and moved and feel humbled by the whole thing.”

**

When Steve Standifird became Dean of the Lacy School of Business, he had to go out of his way to track Dick Fetter down.

“I had to seek him out and convince him that I wanted his feedback,” Standifird says. “He didn’t want to be in my way, or impose his vision. He is so wonderful about stepping forward any way he can and supporting you however he can. It is a rare gift to have a colleague like him.”

And so, it made perfect sense to honor Fetter with the naming of the Dean’s Suite, explains Standifird. The pivot point of the school can be traced back to when Fetter served as dean. But more than that, Standifird explains, as Fetter exemplified, a dean leads best by supporting others.

In the new building, the Dean’s Suite is intentionally on the fourth floor in a back corner because it is not the star of the show.

“A leader is doing the best job when leading by developing others and that is exactly how Dick leads. He leads by empowering others. The Dean’s Suite is a support center for the rest of the school and that is exactly how Dick leads, out of the way, not on the main floor, supporting and developing others,” says Standifird.

And Standifird is not the only University administrator to seek out Dick Fetter. When Jim Danko became Butler’s 21st president, it didn’t take him long to understand the value of Fetter’s input and counsel. 

“I’ve always appreciated the wisdom in his advice as I’ve worked to move the University forward. He’s been tremendously helpful to me, and I know the same is true of countless others at Butler and in the Indianapolis community,” says Danko. 

**

Jeff Blade remembers the napkin. It seems to him like that was one of the first things Fetter showed him when the two met back in 1996.

Blade, who graduated from Butler in 1983, had just joined the College of Business’s Board of Visitors and Fetter was eager to show him the barbell model. A napkin was all that was available. So, Fetter got to sketching.

“Next thing I know, he is drawing his barbell, and explaining, essentially, the future of education on a napkin,” Blade says. “He’s graphically depicting experiential education, but at the time that was not the hot phrase that it is now. He was talking about getting students involved in real life projects and his vision for how the curriculum would work.”

Blade worked for Kraft Foods at the time, and he worked closely with Fetter to make real marketing data from Kraft available for Butler students. The two became close friends, and Blade turned to Fetter for career advice later on.

As a business person, Blade thought Fetter’s model made a ton of sense. He was energized by the idea of hiring students who had more real-life business experience during college and tailoring the curriculum toward that.

“I remember thinking then much of the same things I think today—Dick is a transformative leader and someone who thinks big thoughts and has a vision of where things should go,” Blade says. “But he also has the unique ability to draw people in and relate to people. At his core, he is an individual who wants to make a difference in the lives of everyone he meets.”

GivingPeople

Donors Give $1 Million to Honor Lacy School of Business Visionary Dick Fetter

$1 million gift was raised from 55 donors, including Fetter’s family, friends, colleagues, and former students.

Dec 03 2018 Read more

Giving Thanks: Student Reflections

Sam VarieIn reflecting on the pieces of my life I am thankful for, I am drawn to the relationships I have formed with members of the Butler family.   

I am thankful for friends like Alex Kassan who teaches me something every time I am with her. She challenges the way I think, pushes me to work harder and sets an example of how each of us holds a commitment to choose love over hate.

I am thankful for staff members like Caroline Huck-Watson who empowers me to be a student-leader. Her dedication to the student experience has changed my, and many others, time at Butler for the better.

I am thankful for faculty members like Dr. Levenshus who have kept me passionate about learning in the classroom. She shows me what it means to love learning and invest wholeheartedly in education.

I am thankful for administrators like Dr. Ross who puts student well-being at the forefront of his decisions. He shows me and my peers compassion in the face of hardship and guidance in the face of adversity.

What each of these people have in common is their commitment to their fellow Butler family member. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for each of them, and the community I get to be a part of.

Sam Varie
Class of 2020

 


This year I am extremely thankful for my family, for my little sister especially, and the innocence that youth can bring. I am thankful for diversity and inclusion board and my role in SGA that affords me the honor of fighting every day injustices in whatever way I am able, of creating spaces for people that didn’t previously exist, and celebrating the cultures—and the folks that inhabit those cultures—that don’t get the love they deserve. I am thankful for black women. I am thankful for my friends, the people that I work with in every capacity, and thankful for the kindness of those around me.

Alex Kassan 
Class of 2020

 


Kelly StoneThanksgiving is such a wonderful time of year and I think it is important that we do not overlook the reason for the holiday: to be grateful. This year, as I reflect on what I am grateful for, my heart is overjoyed because there are so many people and experiences that have broadened my views and changed my life for the better. I find myself mostly thinking about people when I think of what I’m thankful for. From family and friends, to people I have never met, I feel lucky that I am surrounded by amazing humans who make me a better me.

Since moving to Indy and attending Butler, I am grateful for the incredible people that have opened their arms and welcomed me on campus. I am grateful to be surrounded by a “Community of Care” and a whole campus of students and staff who love and support each other. I am grateful for the warm smiles and genuine conversations with both friends and strangers on campus. I am grateful for the people who have guided me, encouraged me, welcomed me, challenged me, and accepted me, since I arrived in August. I could not imagine myself at another school and most importantly I am so grateful to be a Bulldog!!


Kelly Stone
Class of 2022

 


IBen Martella am most thankful for the valuable time I get to spend with my family during the holidays. Me, my brother and sister are all out of state which makes it hard to see each and my parents during the school year. Luckily, I have an amazing community at Butler to help me feel at home. Even with most of my family over 1,000 miles away, I still feel welcomed and loved at Butler. I am endlessly grateful for my friends, professors and coworkers at Butler that are always there for me.

Ben Martella
Class of 2020

 

 


Jaylah DeGoutI am thankful for the people that Butler has introduced me to. Whether that was through my first-year seminar class, my Resident Assistant staff, or my engineering classes, the people I have met continue to make a positive impact on my life every single day. They constantly inspire and motivate me to become a better version of myself, and to make a positive impact on our community. Without these people in my life, I would not be the person I am today. They make Butler feel like home away from home. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jaylah DeGout
Class of 2020

 


Natalie OstoicLooking back on my four years at Butler, I am forever grateful for all of the opportunities that I have been given. Butler has introduced me to the most influential and incredible people that I have ever met. I am grateful for each person I have come into contact with at during my time here and am not looking forward to saying goodbye in the Spring. I have found friends that will last me a lifetime, faculty and staff who have allowed me the opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally, and alumni who become the best mentors I could have asked for. If you would have told me that I would be living with my first-year roommate for my third year, as a senior, I would not have believed you. This goes to show that the relationships I have built will last me not just one year, but many and many to come. I am not only grateful for the people, but the way that this University has shaped me for the future, allowing me to feel confident and excited for life after Butler.

In my final year, I know that Butler will never leave my heart, will always be my home, and will continue to impact those who walk its campus for years to come. I am grateful for the community that Butler creates and the people that have supported me during my lows and encouraged me during my highs, always allowing me to do my best. Thank you, Butler, for being a community I will forever be grateful for… and Go Dawgs!

Natalie Ostoic
Class of 2019

 

ThanksPeopleCampus

Giving Thanks: Student Reflections

  As we celebrate the holiday, six students tell us all the reasons they have to be thankful. 

AcademicsPeople

Brooke Barnett Named New Dean of CCOM

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 15 2018

Brooke Barnett, a Professor and Associate Provost at Elon University who earned her master's and doctorate from Indiana University, will be the new Dean of Butler University's College of Communication (CCOM), Provost Kate Morris announced today.

Barnett will join Butler on June 1, 2019. She replaces Jay Howard, who has been serving as Acting Dean of CCOM and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since July 2017.

"Dr. Barnett will bring with her to Butler a wealth of experience as a teacher, scholar, and administrator," Morris said. "During her time as a faculty member at Elon University, she has been part of a strategic effort to grow a relatively small academic program into a signature school of communication. As an academic administrator, she developed and grew various academic programs, with a special emphasis on building a diverse and inclusive community.

"I believe that the combination of the excellent faculty and staff in CCOM and the experienced and engaged leadership Dr. Barnett will bring as Dean, our College of Communication is poised for a successful and exciting future."

Barnett, a Kentucky native, has taught in Elon's School of Communications since 2001 in subject areas that include Broadcast Journalism, Communication Research, Documentary Film, Freedom of Expression, Global Studies, Intellectual Property Law, Journalism and the Law (at Elon School of Law), Literary Journalism, Media and Culture, and Media Law and Ethics.

During her time at Elon, Barnett was awarded the School of Communications Distinguished Scholar award, was founding director of the Elon Program for Documentary Production, served as Faculty-in-Residence for the Elon London Centre, and served as chair of Elon’s faculty governing body.

She has been a member of the president’s senior staff since 2010 and has provided leadership for academics (five university-wide scholar programs, and national and international fellowships office) and inclusive excellence (diversity, and inclusion efforts, civic, global, and community engagement, education access programs, a lifelong learning program for community members). She has secured major and planned gifts, co-created two university centers and worked collaboratively to create two alumni groups.

Barnett said she is looking forward to joining Butler and leading CCOM.

"I'm excited about the different disciplines that are in CCOM," she said. "I think there are great opportunities for synergy across the areas and also continued honing of distinction within specific disciplines. CCOM faculty and staff are stellar and clearly focused on student learning and providing a meaningful student experience. The students I met on campus and the alumni featured in the Butler Magazine are testimonies to the strength of the College. I love the idea of Indianapolis as a backdrop for experiential learning and all the potential leverage points in CCOM within the College, across campus, and with alumni."

Barnett earned her Bachelor of Arts at Georgetown (Kentucky) College, where she majored in English and Communication Studies. She went on to get her Master of Arts in Journalism and doctorate in Mass Communication with concentration in Law and Visual Communication at IU-Bloomington. She earned a Diversity Management Certificate from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Barnett is a 2011 alumna of the HERS program for women in higher education leadership and a 2016 alumna from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Institute for Educational Management program. This year she was elected to the board of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, a leading national higher education group with 1,400 member institutions.  

Barnett started her teaching career in the IU-Bloomington School of Journalism. She also has been a News Director, Reporter, and Host on WTIU, the public television station in Bloomington.

Because of the strong leadership Howard has provided the CCOM, Morris said, she is confident the College is ready for a strong transition.

"I am extremely grateful for the leadership Acting Dean Jay Howard has provided to CCOM," Morris said. "In addition to all the regular College operations, Dr. Howard led the CCOM through a structural reorganization and through review of both college level curriculum and college level policies. His leadership and the good work of the CCOM faculty and staff have positioned the college to move forward effectively and efficiently after Dean Brooke Barnett arrives next summer.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
News Manager
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822  

AcademicsPeople

Brooke Barnett Named New Dean of CCOM

Brooke Barnett, Professor and Associate Provost at Elon University, will be the new Dean of CCOM.

Nov 15 2018 Read more
AthleticsPeople

Albert at the Bat

BY Brock Benefiel ’10

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

Jeff Albert didn’t want to get into his car. It was winter break 2001 and Albert was staring down an almost nine-hour road trip from his hometown in Rochester, New York, to Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana—a school he had already decided not to attend.

Weeks before, Albert had cold-called Steve Farley, then Butler’s head baseball coach, to request the visit. So he made the drive, despite blizzard-like conditions.

At that point, Albert was a junior. He’d already attended Johns Hopkins University and the Rochester Institute of Technology, enjoying academic life and playing Division III baseball. But before finishing his playing days, he wanted a crack at playing Division I while still attending a school with a great academic reputation.

Butler offered that opportunity. But, so did the University at Buffalo, which was only an hour’s drive from Albert’s home in Rochester, and was about to restart its D-1 baseball program with several of his former high school teammates and opponents. At Butler, Albert knew no one.

After meeting with players and coaches, experiencing the small campus environment he craved, and catching a basketball game at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Albert’s plan was flipped on its head. He was convinced Butler was the place to spend his remaining college years.

He enrolled the following semester without an athletic scholarship or a promise from Coach Farley that he’d ever play an inning for the Bulldogs. And because he had already transferred twice, Albert had to sit out the entire 2001 season and wait a year before he’d get his chance to take the field. The odds were against him, but he knew the campus felt right that day, so he took the chance.

“I basically walked in there and no one knew anything about me,” Albert said. “I wasn’t even the backup going into the 2002 season. I put myself in a position where I knew I was going to be behind a bit. But that was the point.”

He wasted no time making strides to improve as a player and also felt increasingly more comfortable on campus.

“If you live on campus, you really assimilate into Butler life,” Albert said. “Being away from home, that made it feel better for me socially.”

By the end of his Butler career in 2003, Albert went from a roster afterthought to an All-Horizon League infielder. During his two-year career, he batted a respectable .284, hit 10 career home runs, seized the starting third baseman role, lead the team in runs batted in one season, and helped the Bulldogs set a school-record with 34 wins in each of his two seasons. 

And this was all years before he embarked on the fast-tracked professional career that led him to being named the head hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals in October.

*

No one who watched Albert beat the odds at Butler is surprised that he’s continued to trek an unlikely path to success all the way to the dugouts of Major League Baseball. Paul Beck, a fellow infielder and 2003 Butler graduate, remembers Albert as a soft-spoken, hard-working teammate who immediately fit in despite being one of the few players who came from outside the Midwest.

“He was the definition of a grinder,” Beck said. “Always in the weight room. Always looking to improve himself.”

Beck also remembers Albert as an unofficial hitting coach for several players. Before he arrived at the highest levels—earning praise from future Hall-of-Famers and World Series champions—Albert was helping his college teammates and developing his own swing. He often took an approach that was unconventional for college baseball in 2002, like setting up a camcorder to film batters’ swings.

“He was very ahead of time in video analysis,” Beck said. “He always had a video camera at practice.”

Farley chuckles when he thinks back to the technology his players used in the early 2000s. Before smartphones made video recording almost ubiquitous, Albert was forced to lug around a large camcorder to document batting practice. One time, Farley said, he brought in a computer expert who had figured out how to capture slow-motion video from high-profile MLB players. Once this new tool was shared with the team, Albert spent hours breaking down the swings of major league players like Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Delgado and comparing their approaches with frame-by-frame breakdowns of the swings of his own Butler teammates.

“He was diligently recording swings and constantly analyzing them,” Beck said.

Away from the team, Albert put in even more work on himself. In the mornings before class during his first winter at Butler, he’d scrape the ice off his car windows and make the 20-minute drive north to Carmel, to his cousin’s house, where he could take extra swings in the garage to help increase his bat speed. In the weight room on campus, Albert developed the power that led to his double-digit career home run total. Farley estimates Albert put on about 15 to 20 pounds of muscle over the course of his college career to fill out what had been a scrawny, 5-foot-10 frame.

If Farley has any criticism of Albert, it’s that his former player was almost too focused on tweaking his swing, that his aim to improve often bordered on obsession. Farley said he sometimes worried Albert might fall victim to “paralysis by analysis” by picking over every minor detail of his hitting approach and overthinking the split-second decision to swing.

However serious he might have been in the batter’s box, Albert said he looks back on his Butler years as a remarkably fun time. Both on the field and off it, Farley said his former player fell in with a core group of guys in his class who worked hard in school, put together record-setting win totals on the field and, most importantly, graduated college.

Albert said his fondest memory at Butler was spending countless hours in the collection of dorm rooms on the second floor of the Residential College (ResCo) that was occupied entirely by baseball players such as Beck, and two-time MLB All-Star pitcher Pat Neshek.

“We had our share of fun,” Beck said. “And we always rolled like 30-deep everywhere.”

*

Albert’s time at Butler convinced him that he wanted a career in professional baseball. After a brief stint playing with the Washington Wild Thing of the independent Frontier League, he prepared himself to switch to coaching. He went back to school and earned his Master of Science in Kinesiology at Louisiana Tech University, doubling up his course load so he’d finish in time to be able to join an MLB organization by spring training in 2008.

He did.

The St. Louis Cardinals offered him a role as a hitting coach for their minor league affiliate, the Batavia Muckdogs. Albert moved on from the Cardinals to join the Houston Astros organization in 2012. With the Astros, as a minor league hitting coach, he helped coach another core group of talented young players—just like he did with his teammates at Butler—on their way up the minor leagues to eventually win the organization’s first World Series in 2017.

As a result of his minor league success, this past season Albert was promoted to join the major league club as the Astros’ assistant hitting coach. And when the head hitting coach role opened up this offseason with the St. Louis Cardinals, John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, offered his former employee the job.

“No one is shocked that he’s advanced as far as he has,” Beck said. “But it’s still so cool to see him in the dugout now.”

Though the technology he uses now has dramatically advanced from his college years, Albert still looks for tools that provide an edge for his hitters. He also learned to speak Spanish so he could better communicate his instructions to even more players. Albert combines his background in kinesiology, strength training, and advanced measurement to provide a unique approach to the old art of swinging a wooden baseball bat.

When asked what makes him a “good” hitting coach, Albert said he doesn’t assess himself in those terms.

“I don’t think I’m good or bad or anything,” Albert said. “I just stay focused on making progress. If I‘m making progress myself, that gives me more tools to help the people I’m around.”

AthleticsPeople

Albert at the Bat

Albert was just called up to the majors as Head Hitting Coach for the St Louis Cardinals.

Nov 14 2018 Read more
AcademicsPeople

Grand Finales

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

It's been more than 11 years since the landmark TV series The Sopranos cut abruptly to black, but people still talk about the final episode and its significance in television history.

Butler University Professor of Communication Gary Edgerton certainly does. In fact, he's written about that episode, "Made in America," in the new book Television Finales: From Howdy Doody to Girls. The book features more than 70 essays by television scholars and critics.

Edgerton, who wrote a 2013 book about the series called The Sopranos, says the final episode in the saga of New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano and his family was "much like the series itself: unconventional, audacious, often incisive, occasionally enigmatic."

"In the final analysis," he writes, "(series creator) David Chase refused to let either Tony Soprano or the audience off the hook. He defied generic convention by delivering an open-ended conclusion that closed with a whimper not a bang, dooming Tony to nervously live out whatever time he has left looking over his shoulder for either the FBI (which is closing in on him fast) or one of the many underworld enemies he has made over the years. Right up to the last shot, Chase preserved the rigorous fidelity of the fictional world he had created."

In an interview, Edgerton talked about The Sopranos and its memorable conclusion.

Q: The final episode of The Sopranos is probably the most controversial of all finales because of its lack of closure. What do you think?

A: If you take the series as a whole, there's actually lots of closure. It's just that the closure people are conditioned for—what happens to the gangster going out in a blaze of glory—was upended. David Chase was very influenced by European films, art films from the '60s and into the '70s, and it was a very Truffaut kind of move at the end.

There were all kinds of trigger shots in that last scene, like something was going to happen. The 180-degree rule, where you have continuity editing, you don't break that. You keep the audience comfortable. And he jumped the line multiple times.

If you remember Meadow trying to parallel park in that final scene, it just builds tension. And if you know the guy in the Members Only jacket is like Michael Corleone going to the bathroom (to get a gun in The Godfather), there's lots of triggers. Then all of a sudden, it's smash cut to black—like something Fellini would do or some of Chase's favorite inspirations.

Q: I assume that to write this essay, you watched the finale of The Sopranos again. Did it stand up?

A: I think the whole series still stands up. In my class Television Authorship: The Showrunner I showed it to the students. I showed them four episodes of The Sopranos to show them how television has changed since then. Students this age really don't know The Sopranos.

Q: When you watched the finale for the first time and the screen went black, what was your reaction?

A: As the episode unfolded, I thought—and this was in the recesses of my mind—God, I hope he doesn't get killed. There was nothing redeeming about Tony in the second half of the last season, but I thought about how invested we become in this narrative and in these characters. And when it did end, I had a sense of relief. I'm much more invested in character than I am in plot. The fact that it ended the way it did, I wasn't disappointed. I wasn't looking for a Sonny Corleone ending where he would get machine-gunned down.

Q: What is it about characters like Tony Soprano that fascinate us?

A: It's the gangster narrative. But it's not that it's Italians—or Irish or Jewish or African-Americans or Chinese. It's that it's outside the WASP establishment. For some of those cohorts, the American dream was just as compelling, but their only path to realizing the American Dream was outside the law.

Q: Where does The Sopranos rank among the best shows of all time?

A: There's so much good television. I would say the Mount Rushmore of television is The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Wire, and Mad Men. Those shows set a template that freed up television in a way that had never been done before.

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Grand Finales

Edgerton talks The Sopranos in the new book Television Finales: From Howdy Doody to Girls.

Nov 14 2018 Read more
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As Female Veteran Population Grows, So Do Their Healthcare Needs

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Nov 12 2018

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS—Veronica Vernon has, essentially, two jobs.

The Butler University Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice spends about half her time teaching student pharmacists and student physician assistants in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the rest of her time is spent at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. At the VA, where she has worked since 2011, she sees Iraq veterans, Afghanistan veterans, male veterans, and transgender veterans. But there was one segment of the population she noticed she was seeing more and more of: female veterans.

The total veteran population is projected to decline from 20.0 million in 2015 to 11.9 million in 2045, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. And male veterans are expected to diminish by nearly half over that same time period. But despite all of this, the number of female veterans has been on the rise, and is projected to continue going in that direction.

However, Vernon says, services have not necessarily matched that trend.

“For the foreseeable future, there will be more and more female veterans coming through the VA and we need to adapt and learn how to provide the best possible care for them, just as we have done for men,” Vernon says. “A team-based approach to care of female veterans is required. The VA desires to be a leader in women’s healthcare.”

So Vernon, who specializes in women’s health, took matters into her own hands. She, along with Butler graduates Maggie Meuleman and Christina White, and Butler undergraduate Sarah Lenahan, assessed menopausal symptom management by a clinical pharmacist at the Indianapolis VA.

Their research, which they just presented at the annual North American Menopause Society Conference, showed that female veterans who received care for menopausal symptoms by a clinical pharmacist specializing in women’s health, saw a significant decrease in symptoms.

“We saw major resolution for these patients at the end of this specialized care,” Vernon says. “That highlights two important things. One, pharmacists bring a real value to the healthcare team when it comes to managing disease states. And two, which is probably even more important, is that most VA’s don’t have a pharmacist who focuses on women’s health issues. Women’s healthcare is a rapidly growing area in the vet population and the more we focus on it, evidently, the better off patients will be. This population deserves the best possible care and we need to start giving that.”

From August 2013 to August 2017, Vernon and her team tracked a total of 121 patients at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. The average age of the female veteran patients was 52.

When Vernon and her team started seeing patients, the average number of hot flashes or night sweats reported was 11.9 per day. After a year of being treated by the team of pharmacists dedicated to women’s health, the average number of hot flashes or night sweats reported was 1.4.

The percentage of patients reporting vaginal dryness, irritation, and pain during intercourse prior to pharmacist management was 57 percent. After a year of pharmacist management, the average was 6.6 percent.

In all, 88.4 percent of patients who had vaginal dryness, irritation, and pain during intercourse, saw resolution, Vernon says. The team followed up with patients, on average, every three weeks, and used different therapies depending on the situation. Some therapies were hormonal agents, non-pharmacological, Gabapentin, and Clonidine.

“Physicians have limited time to fully dive into the different obstacles patients are facing and then counsel the patient all the time. We believe this research shows the power of having a pharmacist as part of the care team,” Lenahan says. “After the initial diagnosis is made by the primary care physician, the pharmacist can enter the picture and manage the disease state from there in a much more specialized, specific way.”

And nowhere is the power of this continuity of care clearer that at the VA, Vernon says, where female veterans are on the rise, yet there is a real gap when it comes to adequate services. Many providers at the VA have never had a female patient so there is a discomfort and lack of knowledge when it comes to treating things, such as menopausal symptoms, she says.

But as this segment continues to grow, the reality is that providers at the VA will have to treat a female veteran. Having a system in place that utilizes the pharmacist fully, Vernon says, clearly produces results that will benefit patients.

“Our research shows the power of the right care,” she says. “Most VA’s don’t have a pharmacist that focuses on women’s health but the hope is that this data shows how impactful it is, and as this population grows, awareness too grows, in hopes our female veterans get the best possible care. This is about improving access for female vets.”

Media contact:
Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656

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As Female Veteran Population Grows, So Do Their Healthcare Needs

The number of female veterans has been on the rise, and is projected to continue going in that direction.

Nov 12 2018 Read more

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