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Message of the Stand Tall Project: We're Here and We Care

BY Sarvary Koller '15

PUBLISHED ON Oct 13 2014

Students and members of the Butler community have gathered across campus this fall to answer a question: What would you say to a survivor of sexual violence?

“I admire your strength,” one said.

“It’s not your fault,” added another.

“Speak up,” said a third. “We’re here to listen.”

Noelle Rich '16 started the Stand Tall Project. (photos by Moe Simmons)
Noelle Rich '16 started the Stand Tall Project. (photos by Moe Simmons)


They wrote their messages on a whiteboard and got their picture taken in support of the Stand Tall Project, an initiative by Noelle Rich ’16, a Psychology and Sociology double major and second-year resident assistant in Ross Hall.

Rich said she started the initiative to tap into the energy surrounding the issue of sexual violence and assault on campus. Her three goals for the project are to raise awareness of sexual violence, support survivors, and eliminate blaming the victim. (Check out the Stand Tall Facebook page here.)

She presented the idea to Sarah Boeckmann, Ross Hall Residence Life Coordinator, after a residence life staff meeting early this semester. Boeckmann said she jumped on the chance to support Rich and promote an important issue on campus.

“I think sexual assault is an issue that is growing,” she said. “It’s also an issue that sometimes gets shoved under the rug. People don’t always like to talk about it, but it’s so important for survivors to know that there is support out there.”

The large amount of support from the Butler community encouraged Rich to take the project even further. Rich said she is working to form a Stand Tall Butler student organization dedicated to raising awareness of sexual assault and creating an environment of safety and support on campus.

Rich recognized that students who participated took their time thinking of a message. Some students took five minutes to jot down their message, while others took 20 minutes. Rich took an entire day before coming up with “You are a beautiful human being. We need you.”

Residence Life Coordinator Sarah Boeckmann
Residence Life Coordinator Sarah Boeckmann
Sarah Barnes Diaz, Coordinator for Health Education and Outreach Programs
Sarah Barnes Diaz, Coordinator for Health Education and Outreach Programs


“I think sometimes people think their self-worth goes down after they have been assaulted,” she said. “I think it’s really important to remind people that they are valuable and we need them here.”

Sarah Barnes Diaz, Butler University Coordinator for Health Education and Outreach Programs, also spent the night thinking it over before putting her marker to the whiteboard.

“It seems so simple,” Diaz said, “but, when you’re asked to write a message to a survivor of sexual assault, it forces you to think about what it would be like to be a survivor of sexual assault. It forces you to think about what you can do to end someone from ever being victimized in the first place.”

No matter how long it took to craft the message, the message rang loud and clear: Butler University students are passionate about preventing sexual violence and supporting survivors.

Rich said she plans to expand upon the project next semester by asking students to write open letters to survivors of sexual violence. She plans to post the letters online to offer survivors an easy access point to support and personal messages from Butler peers.

“If a survivor needs emotional support or even just a message that reminds them of their strength,” she said, “it could be a place where they could go and easily find that.”

Student LifePeople

Representing Butler, It's Pearson in the Press Box

BY Sarvary Koller '15

PUBLISHED ON Sep 22 2014


Mark Pearson ’16 took the elevator ride most aspiring sports journalists dream of—to the press box at Lucas Oil Stadium to cover Monday Night Football.

michaelPearson sat above the crowds Monday, September 15, alongside seasoned sports reporters to cover the Indianapolis Colts vs. Philadelphia Eagles game for BU:30, a Butler University student-run sports media outlet. (See his story here.)

Post-game, he attended a press conference with Colts coach Chuck Pagano and quarterback Andrew Luck. He was even granted access to the Colts locker room where he interviewed Trent Richardson, Dwayne Allen and several other Colts players.

“It was absolutely amazing,” Pearson said. “Being able to cover the game from up top and seeing how professionals handle the NFL really benefitted me. And it was awesome to make connections with the players. Being able to ask your own questions and film your own footage is such an experience.”

Pearson had the opportunity to cover the Colts game through his Sports Media major ­– the newest addition to the College of Communication curriculum.

Sports Media Coordinator Eric Esterline said the degree offers students academic and experiential learning in journalism and production with a special focus on the sports industry.

“It will give students a balance of hardcore writing in journalism and that solid background in media production,” Esterline said. “Whether its producing videos and writing stories for BU:30 or working in event production, we’re excited for students to get hands on experience in what they want to do in the sports industry.”

The major just opened to students this fall, but Esterline said the program has already garnered a lot of interest. He said about 10 Butler students transferred into the major from other fields, and nine freshmen matriculated directly into the program.

Pearson shifted to the Sports Media major from the Journalism program. He said it was an easy decision to make.

“It’s been perfect for me, a guy who has always been involved in sports and has always loved sports,” he said. “It goes hand in hand with journalism, but it is specialized in the one area I have always wanted to go into. There was no doubt.”

Esterline said sports media students enrolled in the BU:30 course, JR407, are assigned two sports beats to cover each semester, one in Butler sports and one in professional sports. He worked this summer to arrange student opportunities with local sports teams like the Pacers, the Colts, the Indians, Indy Eleven soccer and Indy Fuel hockey.

Esterline said the program has an advantage in the experiential opportunities it can provide students.

“Butler will always be linked to the sports industry because of the success of men’s basketball,” Esterline said, “but we also have this great network of professional teams right here in Indianapolis. We’re in a big city where we have the opportunity to cover teams like the Colts or the Pacers. We wanted to get students involved in that.”

Pearson said it was an amazing opportunity to cover Monday’s Colts game as a Butler student reporter. While the Colts may have lost, Pearson definitely didn’t.

“Not everybody gets the chance to do this,” Pearson said. “I’m so grateful for this experience. It was such an honor for me to represent Butler at the Colts game in such a positive way.”




Celebration of Dr. Fong's Life to Take Place Sept. 28


PUBLISHED ON Sep 15 2014

Butler University will celebrate the life of former President Bobby Fong with a public ceremony September 28 at 1:00 p.m. in Clowes Memorial Hall. Fong died September 8 in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, where he was president of Ursinus College.

Butler President James M. Danko and representatives of the Butler and Indianapolis communities will speak. Suzanne Fong and the Fongs’ sons Jonathan and Colin will be in attendance.

bobbyfong2010 001 160A reception will be held in the lobby immediately following the event.

Those who cannot attend can watch a live stream of the memorial at

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Bobby and Suzanne Fong Scholarship established at Butler in 2005.

When he became president of Butler on June 1, 2001, Bobby Fong was one of only 20 Asian-American college presidents in the country. A Harvard-educated Oscar Wilde scholar from Oakland, California, he taught English and served in academic administration at Berea College (Kentucky), Hope College (Michigan), and Hamilton College (New York) before joining Butler.

During his tenure, Butler achieved successive balanced budgets and record years for endowment growth, freshman enrollment, and fundraising, including $154 million in the ButlerRising Human Capital Campaign. Several campus structures and renovations were completed, including The Apartment Village student housing, the Health and Recreation Complex, the Efroymson Diversity Center, a new Butler Bowl press box, and a 40,000-square-foot lab and classroom addition to the Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building.

Fong championed improved campus-community relationships, more experiential-learning opportunities, equitable employee compensation, and active recruitment of minority students and faculty. He considered Butler's invitation to establish a Phi Beta Kappa chapter in 2010, and the increase in the University's graduation rate from 62 percent to 73 percent over the decade, as two significant highlights of his term. He left Butler in 2011 to become president of Ursinus College.


Media contact:
Marc Allan



An Honor Usually Reserved for Ivy Leaguers Goes to a Butler Alumna

BY Sarvary Koller '15

PUBLISHED ON Sep 09 2014

By Sarvary Koller '15

Marianne Richardson '14’s fascination with Latin America began at 12 when she visited Monterrey, Mexico, with her father, a doctor who makes service trips to that region.

At 15, she spent time interacting with the indigenous people of Guatemala and found herself mesmerized by the Mayan language Quechua.

BU picture“These people have a culture that I had never seen or heard about before,” Richardson said. “There is no other culture in the world like it.”

Trips to Peru and Cuba followed, and now Richardson will put her passion to work as the first Butler student to be selected for the prestigious Princeton in Latin America (PiLA) fellowship in Uruguay.

Richardson, who graduated in May with a degree in International Studies and Spanish, leaves on September 9 for Montevideo, the large metropolitan capital of Uruguay, which will be her home for the next 10-12 months. She will work in institutional development at a nonprofit education center for children and adolescents called Providencia.

Richardson said she is both shocked and grateful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “It was a huge relief knowing that someone wanted to invest in me—and with me in this particular region. It’s great to be recognized for all of the work I’ve put into knowing this country. It feels like a gift.”

Richardson decided to apply for the fellowship last summer after hearing about it from a friend while they were studying abroad in Cuba. She worked with Rusty Jones, Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships, from Butler’s Center for High Achievement and Scholarly Engagement to craft a competitive application.

Richardson was offered the fellowship, and Jones said he could not be more thrilled for her.

“It’s going to lead to all sorts of great things for her,” Jones said. “She will be a part of an extensive network of PiLA scholars essentially forever, and if I were her, I’d put it first thing on my resume.”

According to Jones, most past PiLA fellowship recipients have come from prestigious institutions and Ivy League schools. He said he is excited about how this will impact Richardson and Butler.

“Winning this selective fellowship is fantastic because it speaks so highly of Marianne,” Jones said. “But it’s important to note that this is also an amazing thing for Butler. It shows that we are right up there.”

After a rigorous application and interview process, Richardson said she looks forward to finally embarking on her trip and speaking Spanish with the Uruguayans. Richardson is fluent in Spanish and conversational in Portuguese.

“I really can’t wait to be speaking Spanish all the time,” she said. “I’m so excited about the Spanish and interacting with the people there.”

She said she hopes to continue traveling the world when she finishes her fellowship and has an active application to serve as a member of the Peace Corps.

Jones said he looks forward to seeing what Richardson accomplishes in Uruguay and in the future.

“She’s a fantastic student and an amazing person,” Jones said. “I have no doubt she’ll be a big success.”


Arts & CulturePeople

StoryCorps Editor Tells Freshmen: Learn From Those Around You


PUBLISHED ON Aug 25 2014

Lizzie Jacobs remembers the story of that day in 1997 when she left her suburban Chicago home for Williams College in Massachusetts.

Lizzie Jacobs, outside Clowes Hall
Lizzie Jacobs, outside Clowes Hall


“Arthur, my teddy bear, had fallen out of the minivan—or possibly been pushed,” she said. “It was like a cord cutting. I think I was nervous, but I also was excited because I felt like everything was ahead of me and I was on my own. I actually wasn’t on my own—my sister went there—but I felt like I was on my own in all the good ways.”

So when Jacobs, the Co-Executive Producer, Animation and Senior Editor for Print at StoryCorps, got in front of Butler University’s Class of 2018 on Monday at Clowes Memorial Hall, she understood how they might be feeling.

Jacobs was at Butler to talk about Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps, this year’s common reading for the incoming class. Jennifer Griggs, Director of Butler’s Learning Resource Center, said the University chose Ties That Bind as the common read because “it really had an angle on diversity that matched our common values.”

“I believe this book is a perfect book for this time in your lives,” Jacobs told the 974 first-year students. “It’s a book about relationships—the surprising ways they begin and the myriad ways they change our lives for the better. And, yes, you’re all here to learn. You come here to learn and to prepare for the working world, and you’ll be in labs and music rooms and classrooms and library carrels.

“But all that time, if you’re smart, you’ll be focusing just as much on the people around you—your professors, of course, but also the staff in the dining hall and the dean’s office, the people maybe at the pizza joint, and, most of all, each other. The people sitting to the left and the right of you and that you’ll be surrounded by every day of your time here. Your freshman roommate, your lab mate, classmate, teammate. And years from now, you’ll remember and lean on the things you learned from each other as much as what you learned in class. And if you’re lucky, there’ll be two or three whose friendship will change your life forever.”

Jacobs said being part of StoryCorps, the national project to inspire people to record each other’s stories, has taught her to ask questions that get meaningful answers and encourage loved ones to be open and honest.

Too often, she said, we smooth things over and keep the conversation light. But StoryCorps, which over the past 10 years has recorded the stories of more than 50,000 people, shows that asking the right questions and encouraging others to talk helps us understand each other.

“People actually want to be asked about their lives,” Jacobs said. “When you ask them to share something about themselves, it tells them they’re important to you. So in these coming months and years, as you spend time together … try asking them about their grandparents. Or what their dreams are. Why did they come here? What are they proudest of? These are the big questions we encourage you to ask. And you might get some surprising answers. You might actually get to know one another.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


New Sax Instructor Joins School of Music Faculty


PUBLISHED ON Jul 31 2014

Heidi Radtke Siberz, an Associate Instructor of Saxophone at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music from 2010–2013, will join the Butler University School of Music faculty this fall.

SiberzSiberz will take over for Nick Brightman, who will retire at the end of the 2014–2015 school year. She is currently a saxophone instructor with Franklin Community Schools and Stafford Music Academy in Bloomington, Indiana.

A frequent performer of new works, Siberz has been featured at the Indiana State Contemporary Music Festival and the Annual Festival of New Music at Ball State University. As a chamber artist, she is the alto saxophonist with the Obsidian Saxophone Quartet and also performs regularly with the Holographic New Music Ensemble. Her recent awards include the 2012 Mrs. Hong Pham Memorial Recognition Award for New Music Performance, which is given annually by the composition faculty at Indiana University.

Siberz is a candidate for a doctor of music in saxophone performance and literature from the Jacobs School. She earned her high school diploma from Interlochen Arts Academy, and a bachelor of music in saxophone performance, a bachelor of arts in political science, a master of science in library and information science, and a master of music in saxophone performance and literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

 On January 31, 2015, Siberz and Director of Jazz Studies Matt Pivec will lead the first Butler Saxophone Day.




Media contact:
Marc Allan



School of Music Introduces Jazz Studies Major


PUBLISHED ON Jul 30 2014

Butler University’s School of Music will introduce a Jazz Studies major in the fall designed to help students become well-rounded musicians who can earn a living in music.

The program will include a number of new courses, such as “Career Development in Entrepreneurship for Musicians” and “Jazz Pedagogy Practicum.” Sandy Williams (guitar) and Jesse Wittman (bass) will join the program faculty, and new guest artists will include Indianapolis jazz stalwarts Kenny Phelps and Steve Allee.

Matt Pivec
Matt Pivec

“The program will make Butler a viable option for students who want to pursue jazz studies,” said Matthew Pivec, Butler’s Director of Jazz Studies. “If a student knows that they want jazz and commercial music to be their focus, now we can say we have this really strong curricular program.”

Butler had previously offered a jazz minor and concentration. Pivec said he had two major goals in creating the major:

-Offer the most relevant and useful information to help students develop the skills to become successful freelance musicians. “Because that’s what we’re training them to do with this particular degree,” he said. “It’s always going to be about crafting a life and livelihood in music with different possibilities.”

-Create courses that will differentiate Butler’s program from other schools’ offerings. “Career Development in Entrepreneurship for Musicians” is not specifically a jazz course, but it’s important for all musicians, Pivec said. “The students in this degree will be required to take it, and quite honestly, they should want to take it because it’s their livelihood.”

In addition, Butler jazz students now teach in the Butler Community Arts School, which provides music lessons to Indianapolis-area children. That work will become “Jazz Pedagogy Practicum.” “The idea is that getting into the classroom and working with students is probably more important than simply studying pedagogy theories in a classroom,” Pivec said. “It will combine the actual experience of teaching with learning about different techniques and repertoire, so it creates a much more realistic situation for our students.”

The new major will continue to include courses such as Jazz Improvisation, Private Jazz Lessons, Jazz Arranging, and Jazz History. And, like all music students, Jazz Studies majors will take Music Theory, certain components of music history courses, and Keyboard Studies.

Pivec said the new professors will be role models for the students. Williams is a freelance musician who teaches, plays recording sessions, and performs multiple styles of music, as does Wittman.

Allee is a pianist, composer, and arranger who has written and performed for syndicated radio programs (“The Bob and Tom Show”), network television, and movies. He started his career with the Buddy Rich Orchestra at 19, and has released six CDs. Phelps is a virtuoso drummer who leads his own jazz-fusion group and has toured with numerous artists, including Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Even among the most successful jazz stars, everyone does more than just play, Pivec said.

“Our students have to be able to read music well, they have to be able to sight-read, they have to be able to play well in ensembles,” he said. “They have to be able to wear a number of different hats if this is what they want to go into. And they have to understand the business and be willing to be entrepreneurial. I believe this new program will help them accomplish these things and more.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan



Butler Introduces Michael Colburn as New Director of Bands


PUBLISHED ON Jul 28 2014

Col. Michael J. Colburn, a 27-year veteran of the United States Marine Band and for the past decade Director of the military band known as “the President’s Own,” has joined the Butler University faculty as Director of Bands.

In that capacity, he will oversee the Butler Wind Ensemble and the Butler Symphonic Band. He also will teach a section of basic conducting this fall, as well as a euphonium student and several master’s conducting students.

Colburn 32 Colburn will make his Butler conducting debut Sunday, September 21, at 3:00 p.m. during a School of Music showcase concert at the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts. Call 317-940-2787 for ticket information.

Colburn’s time with the Marine Band included nine years as a euphonium player, eight as an Assistant Director, and 10 as the Director. The band’s mission is to perform for the President of the United States as well as the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

The 49-year-old Vermont native attended the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York’s Potsdam campus for two years, then changed majors from music education to music performance and transferred to Arizona State University.

Colburn auditioned for the Marine Band in December 1986 and was hired while working on his master’s in bass trombone and euphonium performance at Arizona State University. During his years with the band, he also finished a master’s in conducting at George Mason University.

Colburn said Butler music students will be able to learn from his experiences, including starting at a small school, changing majors, and diversifying his career options.

“Achieving a life and career in music is getting to be more and more challenging,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there won’t be opportunities, but young people will have to be more creative and entrepreneurial than they’ve had to be in the last couple of decades. The idea of stitching together a career from a couple of different jobs and opportunities is something they may be required to do. But if you have that burning desire to make music, I’m convinced that you will still find a way to make it work.”

The deal to bring Colburn to Butler began to take shape about three years ago when Dan Bolin, his longtime friend and at the time the Butler University School of Music Chair, mentioned that Robert Grechesky, Butler’s longtime Director of Bands, would be retiring in 2014.

Colburn called Bolin a few months later and asked about replacing Grechesky.

“This is a great opportunity for Butler,” Bolin said. “There’s never been a former director of the Marine Band who’s become a college professor. There have been former directors who’ve taught in an adjunct capacity, but to be a full-time professor is great for Butler and our students—and for Mike to have a second career with some new challenges in a new community.”

In December, Colburn will receive The Midwest Clinic Medal of Honor for 2014 in recognition of achieving highest artistic standards on the world stage and his successes in bringing music to wide segments of society. The Medal of Honor, given by the Midwest Clinic, an international band and orchestra conference, recognizes conductors, educators, performers, composers, and others who have provided unique, distinguished service to music education and have had distinct influence on orchestras, bands, and related performance media.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Ed Carpenter '03 Wins Firestone 600K


PUBLISHED ON Jun 08 2014


By Tom Blattler

FORT WORTH, Texas  – We saw the emotion from Ed Carpenter '03 two weeks ago at this year’s Indianapolis 500, but we saw Carpenter’s impressive driving skill Saturday night at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Carpenter, team owner/driver of the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing/Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet, started fifth and led 90 laps to win the Firestone 600K under the lights in a superb performance. It was Carpenter’s third career Verizon IndyCar Series victory (Kentucky, Fontana and Texas) and the third win for Ed Carpenter Racing (Ed at Fontana 2012 and Texas 2014 and Mike Conway at Long Beach 2014). ECR was started in 2012.

Carpenter, the Indy 500 pole winner, suffered a tough late race result at the 500 when he was knocked out the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on lap 175 while running in the second place. But the popular Butler University marketing grad left little doubt of his speed Saturday night at the high-banked 1.45-mile oval north of Ft. Worth. It was Carpenter’s 14th Texas start.

Carpenter, whose best Texas finish was fourth last year entering Saturday’s race, led the 248-lap event three times including 66 of the last 67 circuits to defeat pole sitter Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya in an all-Chevy podium finish.

Carpenter made a spectacular pass on Power for the lead on lap 182 and widened his margin to 14 seconds before a late race caution flag on lap 241 closed up the field. On the lap 246 restart, Carpenter took the advantage again and won at the checkered flag by .524 seconds with an average speed of 178.301 miles per hour.

The win for Ed Carpenter Racing gives the single-car team two wins in 2014 with its two drivers, Carpenter and Conway, in a unique team setup. Carpenter drives the six oval races and Conway the 12 road races. 

Carpenter has been delighted with the performance of his young single-car operation this year and Saturday night’s performance gave the entire Verizon IndyCar Series notice that the Fuzzy’s Vodka-packed squad will be tough to deal with the remainder of the 2014 season.

"I knew we had a good car,” said Carpenter. "We had a good test here back a couple of months ago. I just felt like we left some on the table in qualifying, but it made me extra motivated for tonight. The first two stints weren’t great. Had one bad stint, but the guys just made great adjustments all night. The Fuzzy’s car was hooked up by the end. I think we were the car to beat at the end. I was a little worried about that last yellow. I knew guys were going to come in and pit. We talked about what we would do in that situation and we were kind of undecided. But Tim (Broyles, team strategist) and the boys made the right call. It’s an awesome night. I have loved this race track for a long time and had a lot of bad luck here. I have really always wanted to win here, so I’m super excited.”

While the disappointment of the Indy 500 still lingers with Carpenter, the win on Saturday night helps repair the sting from the race two weeks ago.

"Yeah, we had the car to win Indy,” said Carpenter. "I’m not saying we would have beat Ryan (Hunter-Reay) but I think we were the best chance to have a shot at Ryan. It’s nice to come back here and get a win. I’m really proud of the team’s two wins already this year. It’s a good year. All the credit goes to the team guys. The awesome pit stops they give Mike Conway and I and the great cars too. And obviously I want to thank Fuzzy’s Vodka for making this all happen.”

There is no rest of the weary at Ed Carpenter Racing as the team begins testing at Iowa this Tuesday and Milwaukee Thursday and the following week at Pocono before the next Verizon IndyCar Series race, the Houston doubleheader on June 28-29 at Reliant Stadium. Conway will drive the Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy at Houston.

Student LifePeople

Senior Josh Turner Performs on ABC's 'Good Morning America'


PUBLISHED ON Jun 04 2014

Butler senior guitar major Josh Turner was home Monday, doing the dishes, when he received a call from a New York area code. The caller left a message: Would you be interested in being on Good Morning America?

He was.

BpXUEZtIYAAwoMaTurner appeared on national TV live from New York at 7:48 a.m. Thursday, part of a segment called “Open Mike” that devotes airtime to talent found online. The show labeled him an "online sensation," thanks to his version of Paul Simon's song “Graceland” on YouTube. Co-host Michael Strahan said Turner's version "sounds just like the original" and challenged Turner by playing parts of the original, stopping it, and having him pick up where Simon left off.

He handled the assignment with ease, as you can see here.

“I was incredibly stunned when they called,” Turner, whose video had come to the show’s attention through a post on the website Reddit, said Wednesday. “I never really interact with Reddit directly, but sometimes people who watch my videos post them to Reddit, where they’re seen by a lot more people. Somebody from the show must have seen it there.”

For a low-key performer who hopes one day to be a session musician—or maybe a sideman for a singer-songwriter—it was an extraordinary opportunity to be the front man for a day.

Turner, who was born in Indianapolis and lived in Cincinnati and North Carolina before coming to Butler, said music’s been part of his life since age 7 or 8 when he started playing piano. He’s been in choirs since age 9 (at Butler, he’s in the Butler Chorale and is musical director of the a cappella group Out of the Dawg House) and started playing guitar at 13.

In high school, he played guitar and some banjo in a three-piece bluegrass outfit called The Other Favorites, and he’s in a folk group now called Coyote Armada that’s made up mostly of recent Butler graduates.

Turner’s parents had lived in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood and when he was looking at colleges, they knew he was looking for a mid-sized liberal arts school.

“I wound up looking at Butler and really liking it,” he said.

Turner said he had “no idea” what he hopes will come from Thursday’s appearance on national TV.

“I don’t know that I’ve fully addressed it mentally,” he said. “I’m sure it will lead to a bump in views and hopefully more opportunities down the road, but I’m not hoping this is going to launch my career. But it’ll be great to have more people aware of my music and seeing what I’m up to on YouTube.”

Incredibly, GMA was not his only offer. A few days before, he’d gotten a call from The Ellen DeGeneres Show. They’d also seen the “Graceland” video and were interested in having him on. But they couldn’t give a firm date, so they suggested he take the Good Morning America offer.

“I would have been stunned for one offer alone,” he said. “To get the two in the space of about four days is completely unprecedented.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan



Luke Bunting '14 Earns Fulbright Teaching Assistantship


PUBLISHED ON Jun 03 2014

Luke Bunting ’14 didn’t have enough time to study abroad during his years at Butler, but he’s making up for that in a big way: Beginning in July, he’ll spend 12½ months in South Korea as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant.

LukeBunting was notified in late May that he received the award, which will place him in either a suburban or rural setting. He’s Butler’s third Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award winner this year, which is a record number of winners for the University.

“I’m hoping to learn a lot about East Asian and Pacific relations, especially with North Korea, China, Japan, and South Korea continuing to play a larger and larger role on the world stage,” the Carmel, Indiana, native said. “Then, at the same time, the whole point of the Fulbright program is to help spread American culture and awareness of American culture, so I’m hoping to be a good ambassador for our country and expand the understanding of our culture.”

Bunting said he applied for the assistantship earlier this year after seeing a brochure for the program in Butler’s Center for High Achievement & Scholarly Engagement. He credits Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships Rusty Jones and Assistant Professor of History Zachary Scarlett with guiding him through the process to apply for the prestigious award.

Bunting doesn’t speak Korean, “but that’s one of the advantages of this program—the South Korea program did not demand that its applicants already know the language,” he said. “When I get over there for the orientation, they’re putting me through a rigorous language course, along with all the others who were selected, and they’re giving us training on how to properly teach English to our students.”

At Butler, Bunting majored in political science, with a minor in history. He wants to go into government work when he finishes the Fulbright program, and he thinks a year in Korea will help his prospects.

“I think having more world knowledge and knowledge of another culture will be helpful,” he said. “I’d really like to get inside the culture to see a lot of different points I feel Americans in general don’t understand and take that knowledge with me to be able to work in policy in Washington, DC.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan



Butler University’s First Live Bulldog Mascot, Blue I, Has Died


PUBLISHED ON May 30 2014

Butler Blue I, the white English bulldog who served as Butler University’s first official live mascot, died this morning, Friday, May 30, 2014. She was 13 years old.

Blue I was born September 23, 2000, at Frank and Jeane King’s Kong King Kennel in Lizton, Indiana. She served as Butler University’s official mascot from 2000–2004, and then accompanied her human companion, Kelli Walker ’91, to Bellingham, Washington; Morris, Illinois; and Chicago.

"For over 13 years Blue lived an extraordinary life. Her noble heart stopped today; instead of feeling empty, my heart is twice as full for loving her,” said Walker.

The concept of “Butler Blue” existed for about a year before Blue I, as she was known, became an integral part of life at Butler University and beyond. Walker worked in Butler’s Office of Alumni and Parent Programs from 1998–2004; in 1999, Walker began exploring what a live mascot program would encompass.

Under the initially skeptical—and ultimately, supportive—leadership of William T. Farkas ’88, then Executive Director of Alumni and Development Programs, Walker gathered information from peer institutions (including Drake University, University of Georgia, and Yale University). Then-Butler President Gwen Fountain supported the initiative, and in fact insisted on including Blue I in her presidential portrait, which currently hangs in Robertson Hall.

Carving out a place in an academic institution for a live mascot program was a multi-faceted effort, including securing financial support from an anonymous alumni donor (to purchase the original dog; subsequent mascots have been donated generously by Kong King Kennel, which quickly became beloved members of the Butler family), food, and veterinary care (Dr. Kurt Phillips ‘92), as well as managing the complex logistics of the day-to-day life of a mascot.

 In fall 2000, Butler held a community-wide naming contest for the new mascot. While “Hinkle,” “Hampton,” and even “Buttercup” were popular vote-getters, “Butler Blue” was the top choice.

Butler Blue I made her inaugural appearance on the court of Hinkle Fieldhouse, carried in the arms of the costumed bulldog mascot (now known as “Hink”). In addition to attending men’s and women’s basketball games—where she rallied with the cheerleaders and the Dawg Pound before retiring to the bleachers to sleep—Blue I attended other collegiate sporting events and made regular visits to classrooms, residence halls, campus events, staff and faculty events, commencement, and even the annual Rejoice holiday concert, where she rode a sleigh across stage to the tune of “Blue Christmas.”

“Bulldog Fridays” drew great numbers of visitors to the Alumni Office in Robertson Hall.

Blue I traveled to the NCAA Tournament in 2003, where she famously was “sneaked into” a hotel under the cover of a Butler hooded sweatshirt and the Butler University Pep Band.

Blue I was almost all white with brown spotted ears. She maintained an ideal conformation her entire life and was not plagued by health problems typical of many bulldogs.

Blue I loved playing tug with her rope toy, lying in the grass at her grandparents’ home, eating carrots and apples, and sleeping under a blanket. In her later years she became close buddies with her two feline brothers. She appeared on stage in Chicago as “Rufus” in “Legally Blonde,” proving that, even at age 12, she still could take the stage and capture the hearts of an audience.

As the matriarch of a Butler Bulldog legacy, Blue I will rest in peace along side her successor, Butler Blue II (March 24, 2004–August 31, 2013), in a new Bulldog Memorial currently being erected on campus. The memorial—a gift of the Class of 2013 along with support from generous donors to the Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse and live mascot program­—will be dedicated at Butler’s Homecoming festivities in September of this year.

Current mascot duties are being assumed by Butler Blue III (December 23, 2011)—a red brindle English bulldog, also from Kong King Kennel—who took over for Blue II in spring 2013. For more information on Butler University’s live mascot program, visit

Those wishing to honor the life and service of Blue I may make a gift in her memory to the Bulldog Memorial. To do so, visit Butler's online giving site, select “Other” from the gift designation drop-down menu and enter “Bulldog Memorial” in the space provided. Additional information about the Bulldog Memorial is available at