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Eric Buenger ’12

You won’t find his name in any record books or box scores, but Eric Buenger registered an assist for the 2010 Butler men’s basketball team.

It was on the plane home after the win over Kansas State in the Elite Eight. Buenger, who played baritone in the Basketball Band, was sitting across the aisle from Coach Brad Stevens. Stevens asked his wife if she had any sour cream and onion potato chips. She didn’t. But Buenger did. He gave his chips to Stevens, which prompted the coach to say, “You’re the man!”

“‘You’re the man,’” Buenger said, still reveling in the memory. “Brad Stevens just called me the man—after all that just happened on the court. But no, I’m the man.”

That’s just one of many happy Butler memories for Buenger, who chose Butler because it offered the major he wanted—Actuarial Science—taught in small classes. He said he made up his mind after coming to campus to interview for a departmental scholarship. Afterward, he received a handwritten card from the people he interviewed with saying how excited they were to potentially have him as a student.

“With that level of connection I felt in the interview and then that follow-up afterward, I thought: ‘These are going to be people who care about me and my progression and my career.’ That’s really what drew me in. And then the faculty was great once I got there.”

During Buenger’s time at Butler, he worked as a Resident Assistant in Ross Hall for three years, which helped him develop interpersonal and conflict resolution skills as well as the ability to communicate in front of a large audience. “All of those things definitely helped me moving forward in my professional life.” He also played in the Marching Band, was a member of the national honorary band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi, interned with Prudential on the East Coast, and met his future wife, Lauren, a Pharmacy major.

After graduation, Buenger worked for Torchmark Corp. in Texas before moving back to Indiana to work for Anthem. He said Butler prepared him well for his career. While in school, he even passed his first two actuarial exams (out of upwards of a dozen milestones he'll have to pass).

“That,” he said, “really helped me with my job search. They saw that I had two of these exams down, and that was definitely a good starting spot.”

Eric Buenger

Eric Buenger ’12

  “These are going to be people who really care about me.”

Bettine Gibbs ’19

Student Profile

Bettine Gibbs said their “Butler moment” came at the beginning of her third year, during the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences’ White Coat Ceremony that marks students’ transition from the study of preclinical to clinical health science.

“It lets the students know that this is the time to be serious,” they said. “It’s not a game. You have people’s lives in your hands. Having all the faculty participate was really nice, and the speech the Dean gave was helpful in guiding me, having me think about which route I want to take and understanding that it’s not always going to be a straight line to where you want to go.”

Gibbs, who chose Butler because earning their PharmD degree would take six years here rather than eight at another school, has often traveled the road less taken. For starters, while Pharmacy is typically all-consuming for students, they found time to walk on to the track and field team for two years, competing in the BIG EAST outdoor championships at Villanova and indoor championships in New York. In addition, they have been an officer in the Black Student Union, where they have pushed for more diversity and inclusivity at Butler.

Then, because they had an internship over summer 2017—at Eli Lilly and Company, in the Bioproduct Research and Development sector—they spent the fall 2017 semester finishing her Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences at IU Health Methodist Hospital. They worked a full eight-hour day each Saturday or Sunday alongside pharmacists and physicians, making medication recommendations. (Their classmates completed their IPPE’s in larger blocks of time.)

And finally, while most of their classmates tend toward clinical pharmacy, Gibbs has decided they want to be a pharmaceutical scientist. Their goal is to either work for a company like Lilly, become a tenure-track professor at a research institution where they would have her own lab, or teach at a liberal arts college like Butler.

Gibbs said professors at Butler have backed her decisions.

“Finding a home in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department has been the best thing about Butler,” they said. “I found support there when I didn’t want to go the traditional clinical route. I was able to find support in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department as well as the Chemistry Department—and even some professors in Political Science and History and Anthropology helped me have ideas about what route I would like to go. It taught me that you don’t have to stay in one place in this University. You can go to different colleges and people will help you out.”




Bettine Gibbs
Student LifePeople

Bettine Gibbs ’19

Gibbs, who chose Butler for a PharmD degree has often traveled the road less taken.

Bettine Gibbs

Bettine Gibbs ’19

Student Profile

Darius Hickman ’21

Student Profile


Major / Program: Dance Performance


It’s fall semester 2017, and first-year student Darius Hickman is getting his first impressions of Butler.

“I love it so far,” he said. “The thing I love the most is the people. I didn’t realize the people were going to be so nice. I really enjoy the people here—as well as my classes; I love all my classes—but the people, I really enjoy. I love meeting new people every day. So that’s been great.”

The Dance Performance major and Education minor said he didn’t know what to expect from Butler. In fact, for a long time, he planned to join a professional ballet company after high school rather than attend college. But his mother pointed out that dancers get injured and he should have an education to fall back on.

So he went to a college fair in Boca Raton, took a class with Butler Dance Professor Marek Cholewa, “and I fell in love with everything about it.”

Hickman came to Butler a bit of a celebrity—this summer, he was a contestant on the Fox network series So You Think You Can Dance, where he finished in the top 100. He also learned a few things about himself during that process: He’s persistent and resilient (the day he auditioned, he spent six hours in line and another four waiting once he got inside), and celebrity makes him a little uncomfortable.

Rather than shoot for superstardom on television, he said, he’s excited to experience personal growth over the next four years. “I’m excited to see where I will be in 2021 and see how I’ve changed. Because change is good, I think.”

He plans to spend the next four years preparing to be in a professional ballet company.

“I think I’ll definitely be ready by then, especially by being here,” he said. “I know they’re going to take care of me and make sure I’m ready when that time comes.”

Darius Hickman
Student LifePeople

Darius Hickman ’21

The Dance Performance major and Education minor said he didn’t know what to expect from Butler.

Darius Hickman

Darius Hickman ’21

Student Profile

Chelsea Groves ’20

Student Profile

Major / Program: Sports Media

Chelsea Groves is the poster child for the importance of paying attention, showing up, and doing your best work.

In early September of her first year at Butler, she and the other Sports Media majors received an email from Creative Media and Entertainment Professor Christine Taylor asking them to contribute to the Bulldog Blitz, a weekly show spotlighting Butler sports. Groves jumped at the chance. She set up an interview with Volleyball Coach Sharon Clark, “and it just started to expand through that.”

Her work on the Blitz, which aired during halftime of games that aired on, led to work with Butler Athletics, where she reported stories about Butler Baseball, the men’s and women’s golf teams, and several other sports.

“I put myself out there and responded to that email,” she said. “It was a big deal for me.”

Now in her sophomore year, “I just want to get better,” she said. “I want to be my absolute best and watch myself grow in other areas. I want to be better in the broadcast area and be prominent and be known for doing a great job.”

Groves came to Butler from Walkerton, Indiana, where her dad was the high school varsity football coach and also coached eighth-grade boy’s basketball. She remembers bringing her stuffed animals and American Girl doll to games when she was little and learning to keep score as she got older.

“I had one of the rosters, I got a pen from my grandma’s purse, and I would put a tally mark next to all the people who scored,” she said. “I just became enthralled with it. My dad was a big reason why I fell into sports.”

Her plan now is to develop her skills in school and ultimately become either a sideline reporter or analyst for men’s college basketball or baseball.

She said Butler is making her better.

“So many people around me—basically everyone—pushes you to be your absolute best all the time,” she said. “They critique me, tell me what to do—and what to do better—and I listen to them because they know what they’re doing and I trust them and I want to step up my game all the time. Butler is an amazing place, and I’m so glad I’m here.”





Chelsea Groves
Student LifePeople

Chelsea Groves ’20

Chelsea Groves is the poster child for the importance of paying attention, showing up, and doing your best work.

Chelsea Groves

Chelsea Groves ’20

Student Profile
Doug King

Doug King '73 Named 'Diplomat of the Defense'


PUBLISHED ON Dec 18 2017

For civil defense attorneys, it’s the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award.

Doug King ’73 describes himself as someone who “goofed around a lot” at Butler, “was not very academically oriented,” and “barely got into law school.”

He can smile about those work habits now that he has been named the 2017 Diplomat of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, a lifetime achievement award-like honor bestowed by the officers and Board of Directors of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana.

“When you are recognized by your peers, by people who do the same thing you do, and they know how hard it is to do, that really means something,” King said, sitting behind the desk in his 18th-floor corner office in downtown Indianapolis.

King is now 41 years into his career as a Civil Defense Attorney with Wooden McLaughlin, where he defends companies in asbestos and medical device product liability cases. (More about his notable cases can be found here.)

His roots, though, are decidedly blue collar. He grew up in Chesterton, Indiana, the son of a steelworker, and dreamed of becoming a lawyer. He chose Butler for undergraduate studies, following in the footsteps of his brother Jon ’68 (now CEO at Synovia Solutions in Indianapolis).

To pay for school, King worked in the mills every summer during college. He keeps a picture of himself and others from the steel mill on his desk “to remind me that whatever kind of pressure I may be feeling, I’m not there.”

At Butler, King double-majored in History and Political Science. He was elected President of Phi Delta Theta twice. (He boasts that he works alongside Butler Phi Delt brothers Ron Salatich ’67 and John Nell ’68) and worked as an Office Assistant for Professor George “Mac” Waller, who later wrote Butler University: A Sesquicentennial History.

King also had a hand in a campus protest against the rule that women had to be inside by 11:00 PM weekdays and 1:30 AM on weekends. He remembers University President Alexander Jones calling the police, who brought dogs to chase the protestors into the Phi Delt house.

“It was women’s hours—not exactly an earthshaking issue—but to us it was a big deal,” he said. “Everybody thought it was unfair and paternalistic and that we were adults. Which, of course, we weren’t.”

When he got to Indiana University School of Law, King turned his academics around, thanks largely to professors who scared him with statistics about the number of students who flunk out. King decided he wanted to be a Criminal Defense Attorney, a real-life Perry Mason. But as a second-year law student interning for a Public Defender, he helped acquit a man who had stabbed a high school cheerleader 56 times.

“That really turned me off,” King said. “I never wanted to do criminal law again after that.”

King graduated summa cum laude and fourth in his class in May 1976. He started with the Wooden firm that August. One of his mentors was Bill Wooden, one of the founders of the firm, who was a Civil Defense Attorney. King became his protégé.

Over the years, King has tried more than 100 cases, including representing Bloomington Police in the shooting death of former IU football player Denver Smith. King was named Indiana Defense Lawyer of the Year in 2003 by the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, and in 2005 the American College of Trial Lawyers elected him a fellow.

King said studying History at Butler has served him well throughout his career.

“Almost every time I get involved in a case, I start a timeline,” he said. “You’ve got to have that historical sense. An integral part of the defense case in asbestos litigation is: What did you know and when did you know it? When did you know that asbestos was dangerous? When did you know that there was a health hazard associated with it? That’s not just true in asbestos. With medical devices, it’s the same concept: When did you know there was a risk associated with this medical device? That history background is something I use all the time.”

And he has stayed close to Butler. He travels with the men’s basketball team—most recently to Portland for the PK80 tournament in Portland, Oregon—and proudly displays Butler memorabilia in his office.

“Butler helped me be who I am,” he said. “It’s a great school.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Doug King

Doug King '73 Named 'Diplomat of the Defense'

For civil defense attorneys, it’s the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award.

Dec 18 2017 Read more

Amber Mills ’14

Amber Mills ’14 said Butler provided her with a blank canvas—a fitting analogy for someone whose profession is graphic designer.

“I got to explore who I was, what I was passionate about, and who I wanted to become, and then Butler gave me the tools and the confidence to go out and get it,” she said.

Mills, one of the University’s first Art + Design majors, is now a Graphic Designer at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, the largest fully professional resident non-profit theater in Indiana. In that role, she works on the website (, designs ads, marketing materials, and does some photography. The job “changes by the minute,” she said. She even designed the theater’s current logo during its 2015 rebranding.

She said Butler prepared her well—whether it was what she learned in the classroom or in her internship with the University’s Marketing and Communications Department, where she designed the Hinkle Fieldhouse replica doghouse that is still on display in the campus bookstore. Mills did four internships while in school.

“Butler goes beyond teaching just the basic skills and theories in the classroom,” she said. “It teaches you how to communicate effectively. It teaches you how to solve problems. It teaches you how to think critically. And then it sends you out into the world to apply those skills and really gain the experience that sets you apart. There’s nothing like going into a job interview right after you graduate and being able to say, ‘Hey, I know I just graduated from school, but I’ve been making money as a graphic designer for two years and here’s my portfolio and my references to back that up.’”

Mills grew up in New Carlisle, in northern Indiana, and wanted a small school in a city. She found Butler to be “a nice steppingstone” with a community feel that reminded her of home. And she found people who are “exemplifying and living out the golden rule—being kind to one another, helping each other out, lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down. That’s the Butler Way.”

Amber Mills
OutcomesArts & CulturePeople

Amber Mills ’14

  Butler provided her with a blank canvas.

Warren Morgan ’06

Before classes had even started, Butler University had already changed Warren Morgan’s life. He’d volunteered for Ambassadors of Change, a pre-orientation program that focuses on leadership development.

“Those types of experiences, you just learned so much about yourself and so much about the world,” Morgan said.

For the next four years, Butler brought out his ability to lead. While he studied Psychology and Pre-med, he also ran an after-school program at what then was Shortridge Middle School. There, he came to realize that, “we need to invest in our children and begin to turn their lives around.”

As a senior, he served as President of the Student Government Association. He also had the opportunity to meet and introduce two speakers on campus that year, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. He told them he might go to medical school after he graduated from Butler. They suggested he consider government policy.

“To hear this from two United States presidents,” he said, “it really changed my trajectory.”

After graduation, the Chicago native earned a fellowship working on education policy for the Illinois Senate. He felt that if he wanted to make change, he had to get into the schools to know what was going on. He was accepted in Teach for America and spent the next two years teaching science in St. Louis and earning his master’s in leadership.

That led him to Chicago, where he rose through the ranks from teacher to department head to principal. But he wanted to affect change on a broader scale, so in 2014 he became an academic superintendent in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Since then, he also has:

  • Earned his doctorate in Urban Education Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Was competitively selected and participated in the prestigious White House Fellows program under the Obama and Trump administrations. He was part of the 2016–2017 fellowship class.
  • Been hired as the Executive Director for Teach For America in St. Louis.

Morgan said Butler changed his life. When he gets together with friends, “We always talk about how Butler formulated our thoughts. Butler shaped our beliefs in some ways and influenced us to be the leader that we were destined to be.”


Warren Morgan ’06

  A leader then, and a leader now.

Trae Heeter ’14

The opportunities to get a great education and play Division I football were what brought Trae Heeter ’14 to Butler, and he made the most of both.

As an Elementary Education major, he spent four years in local classrooms—in field experiences and as a student-teacher—preparing to teach fifth grade, which he’s now doing at the Indianapolis Public Schools/Butler Lab School.

As a running back for the Bulldogs, he led the Pioneer Football League in rushing his junior and senior years, rolling up 2,478 yards and scoring 27 touchdowns.

“Education is huge in my family,” Heeter said. “I saw that Butler would be a place where I could really blossom as a football player and find a career and passion in the classroom.”

Heeter grew up in Indianapolis. Several state universities offered him scholarships or preferred walk-on status, but football Coach Jeff Voris convinced him to visit Butler. “As soon as you walk on campus, you see how special a place it is,” Heeter said.

Voris told him, “You might not get the athletic scholarship, but there’s ways to make sure you have the resources you need, as well as graduate with a great degree and be ready to start a career.”

Heeter said he was prepared, beginning the day he started in the College of Education. Like all Butler Education majors, in his first-year courses, he began going to area schools to observe veteran teachers and learn to work with students. By senior year, he was student-teaching full-time at the Lab School.

After graduating in December 2014, Heeter took a job as a fifth-grade teacher in the Washington Township school district in Indianapolis. When Lab School Principal Ron Smith ’88 MS ’96 called and said he had a similar position open beginning in August 2015, Heeter jumped at the chance to return.

In addition to teaching, Heeter’s now back at Butler, working on his master’s degree in the EPPSP (Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals) program. His goal is to become either a principal or an athletic director.

In either case, he said he will share the Butler Way principles with his students.

“Know your role, do the right thing when nobody’s looking, and put in the time and effort,” he said. “The results really do show.”

Trae Heeter

Trae Heeter ’14

Football star turned educator

Ron Smith ’88, MS ’96

Ron Smith ’88, MS ’96 likes to tell a story about his Butler experiences. It starts when he was a first-year student in an education course where he was expected to spend time in a classroom. At that time, he thought he was going to be a high school teacher and a coach, but the professor placed him in a kindergarten class.

Smith recalled: “After 10 minutes of arguing with him about my placement, he said, ‘Ron you’ll learn a lot about child development. I’m not changing the placement. I think you should do this.’”

Smith was assigned to a male kindergarten teacher who was “magic” in front of young children, and he ended up changing his major that semester to elementary education.

Two years later, Smith was taking an early childhood class focused on preschool. The professor put him in a preschool setting for field experience. Again, he stayed after class and argued with the professor, saying he would probably teach kindergarten or older and didn’t want to work in a preschool because “there’s no money in preschool.”

“And he said, “Ron, you’ll learn a lot about child development. I’m not changing the placement. I think you should do this.”

“I did,” Smith said. “And I loved the preschool experience. It was magic working with those children.”

A few years later, Smith became the director of Warren Township’s Early Childhood Center, one of the largest preschools in the Midwest.

“And I made a good living doing it,” Smith said with a smile. “I share that story often with students from the College of Education to let them know that sometimes professors see things in you that you might not see in yourself yet. It’s good to pay attention to what they have to say.”

Smith, who grew up in Portage, Indiana, came to Butler on a cross country and track scholarship. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, he taught elementary school for seven years while earning his master’s in school administration at Butler. He took a job in Wayne Township as an assistant principal, then spent 10 years running Warren Township’s Early Childhood Center.

He’s now in his sixth year as principal of the IPS/Butler Laboratory School, a partnership between Butler and Indianapolis Public Schools.

Smith said he owes his success to Butler.

“Butler is a unique place,” he said. “And it’s a really special place. I never felt like a cog in the wheel or a number here. My experience was very personal, and the connections that I made with my professors here at Butler continue to this day.”

Ron Smith

Ron Smith ’88, MS ’96

  The Lab School principal has learned to adapt.

Rachel (Hahn) Arkenberg ’16

When she was in high school, Rachel (Hahn) Arkenberg ’16 started looking for a college with a great Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) program. She thought she’d found the right one, but they told her, “We’d love to have you, but honestly, with your credentials, you need to look at Butler’s program.”

“That was something you’d never expect,” she said. “I was totally shocked.”

But that turned out to be great for Arkenberg, who proclaimed Butler’s CSD program to be “the best program in the nation.”

“Because we don’t have a graduate program, we as undergrads get to do all the experiential, clinical experiences that are within our scope of practice and our ability,” she said. “Not only did I get to do the community screening with preschoolers in the Indianapolis area, I did research.”

And she got to work with the Butler Aphasia Community, in a course where she helped an adult client in need of language therapy while working under the supervision of a certified speech pathologist.

Arkenberg, who grew up 20 minutes from campus in Zionsville, Indiana, said she also was attracted to Butler because of the opportunities it offers for service. She was a Resident Assistant in ResCo, a multiyear participant in Fall Alternative Break, a tutor in a local high school English as a New Language program, and she worked with disabled students in the VSA Arts of Indiana program.

After graduating, she continued her education at Purdue University. She is currently finishing her master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology, with plans to continue at Purdue for a doctorate.

"I have been able to present my research from Butler and new research I have done at Purdue at international conferences," she said. "The opportunities I had at Butler uniquely prepared me for research and clinical work in graduate school, and I have had a more diverse and interesting caseload because of it.”

Rachel Hahn

Rachel (Hahn) Arkenberg ’16

  "Butler has given me the experiences to become the best version of who I am."

Lester Burris ’12

Lester Burris ’12 said he received a great education from Butler’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences—especially the lessons in dealing with the ever-changing role of the pharmacist.

“I learned at Butler that a career spans several different jobs or even roles within those jobs,” he said. “Pharmacy is probably going to continue to change for as long as I’m working, so it’s important to be adaptable to that.”

That information proved to be important because since graduating, Burris has moved from CVS to Kmart to his own pharmacy. In May 2016, Burris, Josh Anderson ’07, and Josh’s uncle Steve Anderson ’91 founded Panacea Pharmacy inside the new Lucky’s Market store in Bloomington, Indiana. (They have since opened another pharmacy in Hope, Indiana.)

Suddenly, not only did Burris need to know all about medications, but he had to learn the business of pharmacy. The Panacea team had to contract with insurance companies, figure out their inventory, and develop their business model—which includes a more holistic approach to providing medication. Among their innovations: Packaging a patient’s medications together so they don’t have to open multiple pill bottles, and a smartphone app that makes it easier to fill prescriptions.

“We’re trying to change the way pharmacy’s done,” he said. “The main thing we’re trying to focus on improving is medication adherence. That’s a big focus of the Affordable Care Act—preventing readmission to the hospital. And one big cause of that is medication non-compliance.”

Burris grew up in Mitchell, Indiana, south of Bloomington, and knew he wanted to study pharmacy in college. He chose Butler because it’s closer to his home than Purdue is, and he was able to walk on and play football. After a year on the team as kicker—mostly place kicking, and a little punting—he figured he wasn’t going to see much playing time. He talked to the coaching staff and asked if he could help out.

“I was able to stay involved with the football team, which was one of my best experiences at Butler for sure,” Burris said.

Burris said by the time he graduated, he was well prepared for the state and national pharmacy licensing exams. As for running his own pharmacy, Burris said he’s enjoying the opportunity to improve patients’ health.


Lester Burris ’12

  He and two other Butler alumni are looking to redefine how pharmacy is practiced.

JoJo Ciancio ’14

JoJo Ciancio ’14 came to Butler with a clear vision—find the perfect post-graduate job. He took advantage of opportunities provided through Butler’s Lacy School of Business to come out on top.

An Economics and Finance double major, Ciancio developed relationships with professors and attended campus networking events to embed himself in the Indianapolis community as a future business professional.

He found his first internship at Localstake, a community investment company, through a career fair held at Butler. Ciancio worked as a Financial Analyst and was able to watch the start-up company grow from the ground up.

He then scored a second internship at Pearl Street Venture Funds, a venture capital firm, through a connection to a Butler graduate.

“I’m really fortunate I came here because there aren’t many schools that can get so many internships for students,” he said. “It really helps you learn on-the-job skills, what employers look for, and how to apply skills you learn in class to real-world situations.”

A star on the football field, Ciancio was named the co-recipient of the first Pioneer Football League Scholar-Athlete of the Year. His teammates voted him senior captain during his final season, and he was chosen for the Pioneer Football League Academic Honor Roll for four consecutive years.

Ciancio said Butler provided him with the tools and the mindset to succeed in all aspects of life. Since graduating, he has been working as a Staff Consultant in the finance department at H. J. Umbaugh and Associates, a CPA firm in Indianapolis. In 2017, he was promoted to Senior Staff Consultant at the firm.

“The most important thing that Butler teaches you is that you have to be able to communicate with others,” he said. “In order to be successful in a job, but really at anything in life, you not only have to set goals, but you have to be able to communicate to peers, or a supervisor, what you want to accomplish.”

JoJo Ciancio

JoJo Ciancio ’14

  JoJo came to Butler with goals—and met them.