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


PUBLISHED ON Nov 06 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Professor Kelly Wins New Investigator Award


PUBLISHED ON Oct 28 2015

Associate Professor of Communication Casey Kelly will be awarded a New Investigator Award by the Critical Communication Studies Division of the National Communication Association on November 20.

Casey KellyKelly, who teaches courses in rhetoric and critical media studies and directs the university debate team, is the author of Abstinence Cinema: Virginity and the Rhetoric of Sexual Purity in Contemporary Film (Rutgers University Press, 2016). His scholarship focuses on critical rhetorics of race, gender, and masculinity in the United States. Read more about him here.

The nationally competitive award honors someone who has taken a leadership role as an up-and-coming scholar. It honors a new investigator: (1) whose scholarship sets out a new research agenda for critical and cultural studies, (2) who is an active mentor at an early stage in her or his career, and/or (3) who has been working to advocate for the interests of the Critical and Cultural Studies Division of National Communication Association.

Typically, the award goes to someone who has established themselves, through publication, as a new voice in communication and cultural studies. Nominees are evaluated by the division's award's committee, made up of senior scholars in the discipline.

All members who received their doctorate between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2014, were eligible.

In a letter nominating him for the award, Butler Associate Professor of Communication Kristin Swenson said, “Not only is Dr. Kelly a prolific scholar, but he is also a great mentor to his students and junior faculty.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Charlie Politi '16 Becomes a Hip-Hop Somebody With Help From His Peers

BY Evie Schultz ’16

PUBLISHED ON Oct 20 2015

When Charlie Politi ’16 heads to the recording studio, all he has to do is walk up one flight of stairs in his off-campus house.

I Am NobodyPoliti and his roommate, Dylan Menefee ’16, built a makeshift studio in the corner of Menefee’s room last summer. Their setup is small, but it gets the job done—this is where Politi recorded his third and latest hip-hop album, I Am Nobody, which he released in early October. (Click here to hear his work.)

“I hadn’t put out anything in a while, so I wanted to put out something that lets people know I’m still working and improving,” said Politi, who had previously recorded in his room in Sigma Nu and, before that, his Ross Hall dorm room. “I’m still here.”

Politi, a Marketing major and Recording Industry Studies minor from Clarksville, Tennessee, started writing songs for the 12-track I Am Nobody a little over a year ago. On the album, he covers a wide range of topics, from personal issues to industry-wide observations. On “Canaan Ave.” he discusses struggling to make a decision and working out a problem on his own, while in “Summer Breeze” he analyzes the music industry and what it means to be successful.

“I like to write music about my life,” he said. “I don’t really make songs just to make songs. So I was pretty inspired by personal situations either my friends were going through or I was going through.”

Politi didn’t just look to his friends for creative inspiration—he also reached out for help on all aspects of the album. Menefee produced two of the tracks, and Aaron Marshall ’18 is featured on two of the songs. Politi also asked Tori Adachi ’16 to paint his album cover art.

“I love letting anyone who’s talented get involved and letting them do what they’re talented at,” he said. “I do as much as I can by myself, but I don’t have the talent for art, so I like finding people who can help and will be equally invested in it.”

Marshall, who is also in the process of recording an EP of his own, says making music with other Butler students helps everyone involved grow and get better.

“You really get to find out how much talent is at this school and connect with other artists through their music,” he said. “It's also an awesome opportunity for exposure once students find out their own peers are making good music and can support them.”
Charlie Politi (Photo by Andrew Gelwicks '16)

Politi started rapping when he was in high school. After his grandmother passed away, he wrote and dedicated a song to her. The soft-spoken but confident teenager then adopted the stage name “Charlie Breeze” and has used his music as a cathartic outlet ever since.

Politi says he has learned valuable business skills at Butler, such as how to market himself both on campus and to a wider audience on social media. But perhaps the larger lessons have come from outside the classroom, in the tiny recording studios he’s set up along the way.

“It’s hard to balance the time, but it is worth it,” he said. “I know there are times when I could have done better in school if I didn’t take time to make music, but I know I wouldn’t be as happy if I didn’t make music. You learn there are so many ways to accomplish goals if you think outside the box.”


Charlie Politi '16 Becomes a Hip-Hop Somebody With Help From His Peers

Butler senior Charlie Politi has just released his third CD, I Am Nobody.

Oct 20 2015 Read more

Liz Niemiec '16 Receives $100K Grant for Her Little Wish Foundation


PUBLISHED ON Oct 16 2015

Senior Liz Niemiec has received a $100,000 grant from the LIDS Foundation for her nonprofit Little Wish Foundation, which grants small wishes ($300 to $800) to kids with cancer.

Liz Niemiec"The LIDS Foundation is extremely excited about our new partnership with Little Wish Foundation," Bailee Reynolds, LIDS Foundation manager, said in a story published February 4 in The Indianapolis Star. "Little Wish is special to us because they are a small foundation that started in LIDS Sports Group’s backyard. What (the foundation) is doing for kids is amazing. These kids know that someone is thinking of them, even if it is in a small way; it makes their day."The Indianapolis Star reported the story in The organization has raised around $250,000 and granted nearly 400 wishes.

Little Wish is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that Niemiec started, at age 17, in the memory of Max Olson. Max was diagnosed with Wilm's Tumor, a rare kidney cancer, in December 2007. Little Wish delivers wishes to pediatric oncology patients at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, Riley Hospital, Riley North Hospital, Lutheran Children's Hospital, Lurie Children's Hospital, and Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, according to its website. Some "little wishes" items that have been given include laptop computers, Xbox360 & PS3 gaming systems, iPads & iPods, concert tickets, spa treatments, TVs, blu-ray DVD players & movies, pretty dresses and much more.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Vietnam is His Past, An Audi Dealership is His Future

BY Evie Schultz ’16

PUBLISHED ON Oct 13 2015

In 2008, Steve Vong ’16 moved from Saigon, Vietnam, to Indianapolis with his parents and his older sister to join the rest of their family, who had moved here in the 1990s. Their journey was almost 9,000 miles—and Vong knew “absolutely zero” English.
Steve Vong '16 and Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann

But seven years and a whole lot of perseverance and hard work later, he will graduate this spring with a degree in Organizational Communication and Leadership and a minor in International Business.

“Back in high school, when I was still trying to learn English, I thought I was never going to do anything with public speaking,” he said. “I hated writing, and I hated speaking, and now I’m good at both. It’s ironic that those are my skills.”

When he first arrived in Indianapolis, Vong “had to smile and nod a lot, because I didn’t know what people were saying,” he said. “But I thought, I’m here now, and this is what I have to do.”

Vong initially wanted to attend college out of state. But when he visited Butler his senior year, he realized he could get the college experience he wanted close to home. And when he moved on campus, he noticed that he slowly became more fluent in English.

“I interacted with a lot of people from different backgrounds and a lot of different places around the country, and that helped a lot,” he said.

Since freshman year, Vong has taken a number of public speaking and organizational communication courses. The once-unsure high school freshman is now confident he’s found his skillset: writing and speaking English.

Assistant Professor of Communication Jessica Moore has been Vong’s professor for several courses during his time at Butler. She says his positive attitude is contagious in and out of the classroom.

“Steve is a highly engaged student who cares a great deal about the classroom experience,” she said. “He is not only interested in maintaining an awareness of his own learning needs, but he is attuned to the needs of his peers and works hard to contribute to an active and engaged environment.”

Moore says his personality and work ethic are the reasons why she nominated him to serve as a College of Communication Student Ambassador and why he won the departmental Student Leadership Award last year.

Vong’s skillset also helped him land a communications and social media internship in the office of Governor Mike Pence this past summer. He started out in the internship helping with general writing at the office. By the end of the summer, the Senior Advisor often asked him to look over his speeches before delivering them.

“It was so fun, an honor,” he said.

Even though he loved his time in the governor’s office, Vong says he doesn’t want to become a politician or a speech writer. Though he wants to keep using his speaking and writing skills, his ultimate goal is much different. One day, he wants to own an Audi dealership.

“People ask me why I want to do that, and I say, ‘When I go into work in the morning and open the doors, I’ll see something I love,” he said.

“I’m grateful that Butler helped me figure out what I like to do, my passion.”


Vietnam is His Past, An Audi Dealership is His Future

In seven years, Steve Vong '16 has gone from "zero" English to complete fluency in writing and public speaking

Oct 13 2015 Read more

Butler Hires Two New Directors in Advancement


PUBLISHED ON Sep 30 2015

Butler University has announced the hiring of two new directors in Advancement.

Danny Kibble has been named Executive Director, Alumni Relations and Engagement. He has spent the last 10 years as the Director, Alumni Programs (recently named Co-Interim Executive Director) at IUPUI, directing the alumni engagement activities and communication for the IU Schools of Nursing and the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Previously, he managed programs for the IU School of Informatics and Computing.
Danny Kibble

Under his leadership, alumni engagement programs and volunteer activities became more strategically aligned with the priorities of each school. Multiple new programs under his direction were named best practices in alumni relations from CASE District Five (Council for the Advancement of Secondary Education) and the Indiana University Alumni Association.

With his co-chair, Professor Emerita Rose Mays, Kibble led and directed the IU School of Nursing’s 100th anniversary weekend in June 2014, which yielded more than 700 attendees.

He will begin work at Butler on November 9.

Sean Dunlavy has been named Executive Director – Major Gifts. He has been Director, Fundraising and Institutional Advancement, for the Indiana
Sean Dunlavy

University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy since May 2012. There, he was responsible for securing support from a diversified donor portfolio of foundations, corporations, and individuals, and successfully completing a $100 million endowment campaign.

Prior to that, he was Vice President for Development with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, where he managed a staff of 14 professionals and more than 500 volunteers, and raised more than $6 million annually.

He will begin work at Butler on October 19.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


P. Scott Bening Joins Butler Board of Trustees


PUBLISHED ON Sep 24 2015

P. Scott Bening, President and CEO of Merrillville, Indiana-based MonoSol LLC, a manufacturer of water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol films that are used in everything from laundry detergent pods to prosthetic limbs, has been named to the Butler University Board of Trustees.

P Scott BeningBening is the co-inventor of at seven least patents and has led MonoSol in obtaining at least 30 others. He started his career as a chemist and technical marketing rep with Textron and Bayer AG (Mobay) in the water-based coatings and resin industry until joining Chris Craft Industries in 1989 as the Director of Sales and Marketing.

At that time, Chris Craft owned and operated MonoSol. Bening spearheaded the emergence of Chris Craft’s water-soluble products through chemistry advances, global marketing systems, and joint development partnerships. He was named Vice President and General Manager of MonoSol in December 1996 and in 2001 orchestrated and managed the buyout of MonoSol from Chris Craft Industries.

Bening also started MonoSol Rx, the inventor of Pharmfilm® pharmaceutical Oral Drug Delivery Systems, and in 2006 directed the spinoff of Rx into a successful, separately held entity. In 2007, he set up and executed an investment transaction with Catterton Partners to purchase the majority of MonoSol LLC.

MonoSol was acquired by Kuraray, a Japanese manufacturer, in 2012; it is operated as an independent company under Kuraray Holdings U.S.A. In addition to continuing a the CEO of MonoSol, Bening is the Global Head of the W.S Film Division of Kuraray.

Bening is a 1981 graduate of St. Lawrence University and a 1994 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2010, he was inducted as a Fellow of The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana and was honored by the 111th Congress of the United States by Congressman Peter Visclosky. He is also a member of the Chicago’s Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.

His, wife, Mary A. Bening, is a 1982 graduate of Purdue University–Calumet. The Bening’s have two sons, P. Scott Bening Jr. and William “Billy” Bening. Scott earned a BA in anthropology and minor in Spanish from Butler’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2014. He was a member of Phi Kappa Psi and the ice hockey club team. Billy is a junior studying economics and entrepreneurship in Butler’s College of Business and is a member of Phi Delta Theta.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


BIRS Director Taura Edwards Named An 'Emerging Leader'


PUBLISHED ON Sep 22 2015

Taura Edwards, Butler’s new Director of the Institute for Research and Scholarship, has been recognized by 100 Black Men of Indianapolis as one of nine winners of its 2015 Emerging Leader Awards.

The award, to be presented September 24, goes to young professionals ages 25–40 who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication in improving their community through community service, civic engagement, and mentoring.

Taura Edwards“I feel honored to be in this year’s class of nine,” she said.

In nominating her for the award, the University said: “Taura Edwards is a leader, a public administrator, a public advocate, and a community servant. She has worked diligently to promote advocacy and awareness to the local community and support capacity building for nonprofit organizations. Most importantly, she has been strategic in her efforts as a public administrator. She has a passion for process efficiency, organizational compliance, and grants administration. … In every area of her life, she has worked diligently to fulfill her passion in service to others.”

Before joining Butler in July, Edwards served as the Director of Community Programs at Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority for six years. She oversaw the administration and budget management of five federally funded and four state-funded programs that totaled nearly $100 million in federal and state funds, as well as $2.5 million in state tax credits. The program provided anti-poverty services including utility assistance, energy efficiency upgrades, and more statewide.

Outside of work, she has served in various capacities in the Indianapolis community, including the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Ivy Endowment Inc., the American Heart Association, the city chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and the Bloom Project Inc.

In her role at Butler, Edwards supports faculty research and scholarship, curricular and professional development, programmatic projects, and creative works, through internal grants and assistance with external funding.

Edwards remembers the advice a former boss gave her: “If you want to make money, manage money. People will always need you, and they know you”. She has taken that to heart ever since.

“Coming to Butler has been a great opportunity to transfer my management and grant management experience to the University and support University research,” she said. “I love the idea of working with faculty and helping them cultivate grant ideas and look for grant-prospecting opportunities.”

She said that, in her first couple of months at Butler, she has made an effort to network with all the University offices that touch BIRS. She’s standardized some operating processes to know what a faculty member goes through from grant concept to submission to award, develop a relationship with Advancement, and she has worked with University General Counsel Claire Aigotti to streamline the processes used to confirm grant agreements.

“Butler is an excellent community,” she said. “I can’t say enough about how welcome I’ve felt here. The great thing about being in the grants office is that people know where to find you when they’re ready.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Meet the New Director of the Center for Faith and Vocation


PUBLISHED ON Sep 21 2015

Daniel Meyers, the new Director of Butler’s Center for Faith and Vocation, faced some tough moments while studying biochemistry at Willamette University.

“Chemistry was always a challenge for me and required tremendous energy; there came a point where I was ready to give up my biochemistry major,” he said. “But I had good advice from my own chaplain at the university, who I talked with about this. He said: ‘Small seasons are small. This moment of frustration and challenge was not your whole time in the sciences and probably won’t continue to be.’ And that was true.”

Daniel MeyersThe influence of that chaplain was so significant that Meyers continued his biochemistry major and took on a second major, Religious Studies. In both fields, he found himself asking big questions about how the world works. Or, as he puts it, “two different approaches to similar questions.”

Religion eventually won out in his career plan. And now at Butler, he plans to help coordinate, support, and strengthen religious life on campus while helping people identify their own passions and how those interests connect to their work at the University and beyond.

“What I’m hopefully going to get to do,” he said, “is be involved in both of those distinct but very much wedded-together projects.”

Meyers came to Butler on June 1 from Columbia University, where, for the past two years, he was the inaugural Earl Hall Religious Life Fellow in the Office of the University Chaplain. The Portland, Oregon, native, and his wife, Janna, initially moved to New York after graduation from Willamette. While she studied at Union Theological Seminary, he taught high school chemistry and environmental science in Newark, New Jersey, through Teach for America.

“What I really learned from that whole experience is that teaching is very, very difficult, and you have to be able to connect with the community,” he said. “You have to be present in many ways beyond the classroom.”

In Newark, Meyers also realized that he wanted to focus on chaplaincy rather than leading a parish because he preferred one-on-one, small group dynamics to leading a large community. After three years of teaching, he and Janna moved to Connecticut. He attended Yale Divinity School, earning a Master of Divinity and becoming ordained in the United Church of Christ.

That led to his fellowship at Columbia, where one of his achievements was creating Exhale, a space for student reflection, awareness, and discernment. As that position wound down, he wanted to find a higher education, multi-faith chaplaincy.

Meyers sees his first year at Butler as “largely a listening year.” He’ll hear from students, faculty, staff, and community advisers about where the Center for Faith and Vocation should go as it heads into its second decade. He also will advise “those open to questions and open to seeking.”

“So whether you find yourself in a religious set of commitments or communities, or you’re outside of any particular label but you have questions about meaning and purpose and divinity, those are the kinds of folks I’m excited to be engaging with at Butler,” he said.

He’ll also have a big year personally—Janna is expecting their first child in October.

“New house, new city, new job, new child,” Meyers said. “It’s just all kinds of new. I’m excited about all of it.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Professor Muedini Has Two Books Published Simultaneously


PUBLISHED ON Sep 17 2015

The new books Human Rights and Universal Child Primary Education and Sponsoring Sufism deal with exceedingly different subjects, but they have this in common: Both came out this summer, and both were written by Butler Assistant Professor of International Studies Fait Muedini.

Fait Muedini“I am very passionate about human rights and social justice,” Muedini said. “I am driven by what I view as the importance to speak out against injustices, and to find unique ways to work toward the protection of people’s rights.”

Muedini said Human Rights and Universal Child Primary Education came from his dissertation, which he wrote while at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His interest started with a statistic he read—that more than 100 million children around the world do not go to school—and grew from there. (That number is said to be somewhat lower now.)

In the book, he discusses the problem and the reasons for it, what governments and non-governmental organizations are trying to do, what’s working and what isn’t, and what needs to be done.

Muedini said the largest barrier is cost.

“Parents have to decide between sending children to school, keeping them home, or sending them to work,” said Muedini, who’s in his second year teaching at Butler. “And if it’s the choice between sending a daughter and sending a son to school, they’ll send the son because he has a better chance of getting a job. This continues to make access to education even harder for girls.”

He said most of the problem is confined to the global south—sub-Saharan Africa, parts of the Middle East, and portions of the world with unstable economies or low employment and high disease rates.

The key to getting more children in school, he said, is ensuring that it’s free. Even in places where there is no charge, there are still costs for uniforms, books, and travel.

“When you read interviews with children, the number one thing they want – over new clothes, over new toys – they wanted to go to school,” Muedini said. “That’s why I decided to focus on this. In addition, the UN and other international organizations have really built in free education as a primary issue. Their goal was to educate all children by 2015. And they’re far from that goal, sadly. There’s an initiative there, but it’s not being met.”

Sponsoring Sufism—the subtitle is How Governments Promote “Mystical Islam” in Their Domestic and Foreign Policies—details how leaders around the world use Sufism to try to tamp down radical Islam.

“Particularly in Muslim-majority states,” Muedini said. “They recognize that Islam is important and people care about it in their society, so they want to promote it. They want to be seen as an ally of Islam. But if they promote it too much, they’re worried it could spark an Islam that they’re not comfortable with—a political Islam that they can’t compete with electorally, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.”

He looks at cases in Morocco, Algeria, Pakistan, Russia—and even some movements in United States and Britain trying to promote Sufism. Muedini said authoritarian leaders often need to find an Islam that fits their agenda, an Islam they can promote but is not threatening politically. Sufism is mystical and seen as esoteric. Followers are often perceived—incorrectly, Muedini said—as being more interested in meditating in the forest than they are in politics, he said. So leaders promote this as “the true Islam.”

For his next book, Muedini, who grew up in Detroit (his parents are ethnic Albanian immigrants from western Macedonia), will turn his attention to what non-governmental organizations are doing to promote lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-intersex (LGBTI) rights in Turkey and other conservative countries.

“There is no direct common thread between these works and my new project on LGBTI rights,” he said, “but I believe it is essential to speak out for the human rights of all individuals.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Arts & CulturePeople

Ty Sutton Named Executive Director of the University Arts Center


PUBLISHED ON Sep 11 2015

Ty Sutton, the General Manager of the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center in Midland, Texas, has been named the new Executive Director of the Butler University Arts Center, which includes Clowes Memorial Hall, Schrott Center for the Arts, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, and the Black Box Theatre in Lilly Hall.

Sutton, who will start at Butler on October 19, has more than 16 years of event and venue management experience—from Olympic venues to the position he’s leaving at the 1,827-seat, University of Texas-owned theater.

Ty Sutton“I enjoy working in an academic environment, and I think Butler has a lot to offer,” Sutton said. “I run a University-owned building now, and it’s one of the busiest in the country. So this move made sense in a lot of ways.”

Sutton has been at the Wagner Noël for three years. Previously, he was General Manager of The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. He also has worked in several arts administration positions, including Programming Director at the University of Utah and Audience Services Manager at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, California.

He was a partner at Encore Entertainment, a Salt Lake City-based concert and event touring company, and worked as a Venue Manager for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games.

“It was a fantastic experience to see the highest level of customer service and event planning,” he said. “You have one shot for 16 days to get something right, and, if you don’t get it right, there are no do-overs. That can be really intimidating, but I found it empowering.”

He also held the position of Event Services Manager for Anaheim’s Honda Center, home of the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks and one of the busiest arenas in the country.

“Ty brings a background and skillset that will serve both Butler and the Central Indiana community well,” said Ronald Caltabiano, Dean of Butler’s Jordan College of the Arts. “He will build on the great work that’s already been done in these venues, and his commitment to the highest quality of student, community, and professional performances is evident. Indianapolis is a world-class city with a burgeoning arts scene, and the Butler Arts Center is well positioned to thrive under Ty’s leadership.”

A native of Danville, California, in the San Francisco Bay area, Sutton earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Utah and is a graduate of the International Association of Venue Manager’s Venue Management School. He and his wife, Polly Creer Sutton, a retired professional ballerina, have a 6-year-old son, Cooper, and a 1-year-old daughter, Tatum.

He takes over Clowes Memorial Hall from longtime leader Elise Kushigian, who retired in August after more than 20 years, and Interim Executive Director Karen Cromer. The newly created position at Butler has him overseeing operations of all performance venues.

Sutton, who was selected at the conclusion of a thorough national search conducted by the Arts Consulting Group, described his approach to the arts as “very entrepreneurial.”

“Whenever we can drive revenue to the arts by selling tickets and creating sponsorships, the more opportunity we have to expand our offerings," he said. "I want us to create attention for our venues and programs, and provide experiences for our patrons that they'll remember for the next 20 years."


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Professor Pivec Makes the Most of His 'Time'


PUBLISHED ON Sep 11 2015

On May 4, 2015, Butler Director of Jazz Studies and saxophonist Matt Pivec, bassist Jesse Wittman, and drummer Kenny Phelps walked into The Lodge recording studio in Indianapolis. Eight hours later, they left with all seven songs recorded for their new CD, Time and Direction.

Time and Direction“It was definitely an exhausting day,” Pivec said. “We spent a lot of time listening in the studio. So we would record one take, go back into the sound booth and listen to it. If we needed to make corrections or changes, we did that on the fly. So it was a good, active, collective process where everybody was involved in the listening. It kept fatigue at a minimum because there were a lot of breaks, but it also kept us engaged in the music.”

Pivec said he, Wittman, and Phelps rehearsed for a few weeks before going into the studio to play live. They performed each song through twice and chose the better of the two takes. They did almost no editing and overdubbing because they wanted to retain the spontaneity and flow of their playing.

The biggest challenge, Pivec said, was the saxophone-bass-drums configuration.

In working without guitar and piano, “everybody has to pull their weight a little bit more,” Pivec said. “There’s a balance you have to strike. You can’t overcompensate, or it starts to get weird. You just have to accept the fact that this music breathes a little bit more and that overall there’s a different sound to it. Once you embrace that sound, then you’re OK to move forward.”

He said the result in Time and Direction is that Wittman’s sound is “warm and big, and you can really hear that on the recording. And Kenny is very creative. He incorporates a lot of different sounds. With a little more space, you can hear his creative approach come through.”

Funding for the CD came from a Butler Faculty Research Grant. The research, Pivec said, took him into the history of sax-bass-drums recordings throughout history—people like Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson and modern players such as Kenny Garrett and Chris Potter who have recorded with that configuration.

Pivec also received a Butler assist from Assistant Professor of Art Steve Nyktas, whose photograph of a stopwatch graces the cover. Nyktas noticed that a number of the songs had titles that loosely related to the theme of time and direction.

“He had some photos that corresponded with that, and that’s where the album title came from,” Pivec said.


Media contact:
Marc Allan