View All Content

Butler Year in Review: The News of 2018

Throughout Butler’s 163-year history we have boldly made decisions and pursued priorities that have put us ahead of our time and set us apart from our peers. 2018 was no exception. From the largest incoming class size in our history to a Number One ranking by U.S. News and World Report, from significant undergrad research to innovative academic programs, Butler students, faculty, staff, and community have been recognized for their outstanding academic efforts and their pursuit of excellence. As the year draws to a close, we’ve compiled the top 10 Butler stories by local and national media.

 

Insurance 101: Butler Undergrads Write Coverage for Dogs and Pianos | The New York Times | February 9, 2108

The New York Times reports on Butler undergrads who operate an insurance company giving them real-world experience and the University coverage for important assets around campus.

 

Who’s at the Door? College Officials Delivering your Acceptance in Person (Sometimes with a Dog) | The Wall Street Journal | February 11, 2018

The Wall Street Journal shares how Butler Blue III and the University are leading the pack in innovative ways to attract students.

 

Butler University Unleashes Building Spree, Beautification | Indianapolis Business Journal | July 13, 2018

The IBJ outlines Butler’s ambitious campus transformation, including two new residence halls, the soon-to-debut Lacy School of Business building, and lots of new trees and bike lanes.

 

Athletes Can Easily Trick Popular Concussion Test, Study Finds | The Washington Post | July 31, 2018

The Washington Post reported on a Butler research study co-authored by Amy Peak, Director of Undergraduate Health Sciences, on how athletes dupe one of the nation’s most common concussion screening tests.

 

Why You Should Ignore Your Friends’ Fantasy Football Advice | The Wall Street Journal | August 20, 2018

The Wall Street Journal explored Assistant Professor of Creative Media and Entertainment Media Ryan Roger’s research on the benefits of the collective brain in decision making.

 

Planetary Party: Catch Multiple Planets Lined Up with the Moon as Summer Wanes | The Washington Post | August 22, 2018

Physics and Astronomy Professor, and Director of Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium, Brian Murphy shared his astronomical expertise with The Washington Post as multiple planets aligned for outstanding nighttime viewing late this summer.

 

Butler Named “Best of the Midwest” as Indiana Schools Feature Prominently in Annual Rankings | Indy Star | September 10, 2018

For the first time ever, Butler University was named #1 Regional University in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.

 

Georgia Voting Begins Amid Accusations of Voter Suppression | The New York Times | October 19, 2018

As the 2018 midterm elections heated up, Political Science assistant professor Greg Shufeldt spoke to The New York Times about electoral integrity and its impact on voting in Georgia.

 

Doyel: Butler’s Bulldog Mascot Gives Admission News to Kid Who Beat Cancer | Indy Star | October 22, 2018

Indy Star columnist Gregg Doyel followed along as Butler Blue III surprised Tatum Parker with news of her admission to Butler University.

 

America’s Election Grid Remains a Patchwork of Vulnerabilities | The New York Times | November 17, 2018

Post-election, Political Science assistant professor Greg Shufeldt spoke to The New York Times about his recent study on how distrust in voting laws and processes can limit turnout.

Campus

Butler Year in Review: The News of 2018

As the year draws to a close, we’ve compiled the top 10 Butler stories by local and national media.

Butler Year in Review: The Stories of 2018

On any given day, throughout campus and beyond, there are hundreds of Butler stories to be told. What we do at Butler University—and how we do it—not only make us better as a university; it, in turn, makes the world better. In March of 2018, we launched Butler Stories, a place to share news, tell tales, and engage more deeply with our community. Over the course of the year we have shared more than 100 stories about the Butler community and its impact.

From breaking news to long-form articles about important research, here’s a list, in no particular order, of our top ten news stories from 2018:

 

Butler Ranked No. 1 in the Midwest For the First Time by U.S. News & World Report

For the first time in its history, Butler University moved into a tie for the No. 1 Regional University in the Midwest, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings.

 

As Female Veteran Population Grows, So Do Their Healthcare Needs

The number of female veterans has been on the rise and is projected to continue in that direction. In her research, Assistant Professor Veronica Vernon found the best way to serve the fast-growing population of female veterans – pharmacists.

 

Butler Launches Online Master’s in Risk and Insurance

Butler University's Lacy School of Business will introduce an online Master of Science in Risk and Insurance (MSRI) program—among the first of its kind in the nation—beginning in January 2019 to help address the gap between the risk and insurance industry’s personnel needs and the limited talent pool that exists in today’s job market.

 

Kenzie Academy, Butler University Executive Education Partner to Accelerate Tech Careers

Kenzie Academy, an Indianapolis-based education and apprenticeship program that develops modern tech workers, and Butler University announced a strategic partnership to offer a new model of education to the next generation of technology professionals.

 

Outsmarting the Test: Concussions & ImPACT

According to new research from Butler University Director of Undergraduate Health Science Programs, Amy Peak, and former Butler health science student Courtney Raab, individuals are outsmarting the most popular exam to test for concussions.

 

Lacy School of Business Named Outstanding On-Campus MBA Program by Princeton Review

The Lacy School of Business has been named one of the 252 outstanding on-campus MBA programs in the Princeton Review's “Best Business Schools for 2019.”

 

Brooke Barnett Named New Dean of CCOM

Brooke Barnett, a Professor and Associate Provost at Elon University—who earned her master's and doctorate from Indiana University—will be the new Dean of Butler University's College of Communication (CCOM). Barnett will join Butler on June 1, 2019.

 

Popularity, Success Spark Second IPS/Butler Lab School

A second Lab School, born out of demand, success, and lots of work, is up and running at 54th Street. Lab School 55 welcomed around 300 students in its inaugural year.

 

Butler Professor Receives NSF Grant to Study Class of Enzymes Linked with Cancer Growth

Associate Professor of Chemistry, Jeremy Johnson, with a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, will continue his research and will integrate the work into undergraduate classroom laboratories.

 

Butler Continues Trend, Welcomes Record First-Year Class

For the second time in three years, Butler University is set to welcome its largest class ever, as 1,336 first-year students began classes on August 22. Butler has been experiencing an upward trajectory in applicants since 2009.

Campus

Butler Year in Review: The Stories of 2018

 From breaking news to long-form articles about important research, here are our top news stories from 2018.

Butler Year in Review: The People of 2018

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

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

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

 

Butler Roots Run Deep

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

 

Perseverance and Patients

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

 

Let Passion Lead You

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

 

Shelvin Mack’s Homecoming

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

 

Lee-gacy

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

PeopleCampus

Butler Year in Review: The People of 2018

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

The Making of Rejoice!

by Haley Stevenson ’19

Over a hundred sets of eyes rest on Maestro Richard Auldon Clark as he stops rehearsing Hail to Christmas by Victor Herbert to straighten out an error. There’s something missing—the fire and excitement needed to make the piece really pop. “Waltz with me, orchestra! This is a dance!” He says.

Rejoice! has been an essential part of Butler University’s holiday season for years. Each December, Dr. Eric Stark and Dr. John Perkins tag-team this massive undertaking with Professor Clark or Professor Colburn, uniting choir with the symphony orchestra or wind ensemble, depending on the year. The team is always looking for new methods to make the performance exciting for both the players and the audience.

“For me these pop songs have to have a surge of energy,” Professor Clark says. “Everybody’s heard all of these songs before; they can’t be played the same way they always are. This stuff is exciting and passionate! It should explode! We’ll have our pretty and slow moments, but Sleigh Ride isn’t Gustav Mahler.” He means that quite literally—the orchestra really rocks out to Sleigh Ride, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and many other classic favorites.

The ensembles begin rehearsing Christmas music individually as early as mid-October, practicing the pieces to perfection, and then combine rehearsals in November. More than 160 people are all working toward a single goal: making Rejoice! one of the largest group projects that happens on Butler’s campus. Senior violist Meagan Barnett has performed the concert with the orchestra twice and the choir once. “My favorite part about Rejoice! is the amount of students that are on stage making music together. I love collaborating with the different departments in the School of Music and Rejoice! is the perfect opportunity for that!”

Barnett says, “I really enjoy collaborating between the orchestra and the two choirs. As a string player, performing with choirs is a very different experience. We have to be sensitive to them and make sure all of the words can be heard. The Butler Symphony Orchestra is quite large this year so we have had a lot of fun working with the balance and sensitivity of our sound.” There is even more than just the orchestra and two choirs at work: the premiere of a graduate composition student is part of the repertoire, esteemed Butler faculty will give readings between some pieces, and a guest choir from Shortridge High School, the IPS magnet performing arts high school, will perform as well.

Rejoice! is a unique part of Butler’s holiday season because it is probably one of the biggest musical performances the School of Music puts on during the year. It’s a great way to end the fall semester and also a great way for the audience to get into the holiday spirit,” Barnett says. Join Butler’s School of Music and many friends this weekend at Clowes Memorial Hall at 7:30 PM both Friday and Saturday night for a spectacular musical celebration that you won’t want to miss.


Interested in attending this year's Rejoice!? You can buy tickets online or at the Clowes Hall Box Office.

Arts & Culture

The Making of Rejoice!

  “Waltz with me, orchestra! This is a dance!”

The Making of Rejoice!

by Haley Stevenson ’19
GivingPeople

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

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Dec 03 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**

Dan McQuiston first met Dick Fetter at the copy machine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just ask J.J. DeBrosse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**

Butler has also been there for the Fetters.

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

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

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

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

**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**

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

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

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

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

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

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

GivingPeople

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

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

Dec 03 2018 Read more

Jordan Jazz: Small but Mighty Good

By Haley Stevenson '19

Jordan Jazz is a small ensemble of student jazz singers studying in Butler University’s School of Music. Led by Erin Benedict, the vocal ensemble performs along with a band of students from the jazz program consisting of piano, bass, drums, saxophone, and guitar.

Erin Benedict
Erin Benedict

A graduate of The Manhattan School of Music, Erin Benedict began teaching at Butler a couple of years ago. Outside of Butler, her forte is commercial performance: singing in movie soundtracks and television commercials. Like with any new job, she had doubts, but as soon as she met the students and the group she would be teaching, she knew she was in the right place. “I was approached several times to come here and teach jazz voice and do Jordan Jazz … I’m glad I said yes!”

Jordan Jazz is a unique ensemble because it is so small and close knit. Only eight students meet with Benedict once a week for two hours. Throughout the course of a semester the group gets to know each other very well. “They all set up a group chat and support one another … In a smaller school like Butler, it may be more common, but in a larger school, it’s very unlikely,” Benedict says.

As many music students will note, it can be a struggle to maintain the excitement they had when they first started out – creative passions sometimes become a bit of a job, and a demanding one at that. Jordan Jazz gives students the opportunity to perform in a professional setting, but under less pressure so they can freely express themselves. “I am studying classical music constantly, so I really like being able to come together in this small jazz group. The tight harmonies and intimate settings make it really special," says junior Rowan Squire-Willey.  

Benedict hopes that in the coming years, Jordan Jazz will be one of the elite ensembles at Butler: “I see it being six men and six women … a mixture of a cappella and with instruments. I would love to see some students write things, and I would like to take them out to perform in the community.” That vision may come true as soon as this coming spring, when Benedict is planning to start some community outreach.

If you’d like to see the ensemble’s first performance of the 2018-2019 school year, your chance is this Wednesday, November 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall. The performance is free, open to the public, and is sure to be night to remember.   

Jordan Jazz
Arts & CultureStudent Life

Jordan Jazz: Small but Mighty Good

Jordan Jazz, a small ensemble of student jazz singers, takes the stage Wednesday, November 28. 

Jordan Jazz

Jordan Jazz: Small but Mighty Good

By Haley Stevenson '19

A Season for Gratitude and Hope

by Jonathan Purvis

Jonathan Purvis, Vice President for University Advancement, with Blue III.
Jonathan Purvis with Blue III

The holiday season has always been a special time of year for me and one rich with memories. As a young kid I could barely contain the feeling of excitement for what presents I might receive. The year I was old enough to stay up late and watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve was a much anticipated rite of passage. As I grew into young adulthood, I remember the feeling of trepidation the first time I brought a girlfriend home for Thanksgiving lunch. And, somewhere along the way, I slowly became aware of the special time with family that the holidays afford.

I’m married now with three kids, and the holidays have become a time of both nostalgia and of making new memories. I find myself simultaneously reflecting on the past with my parents and adult siblings and seeing the world anew through the eyes of my children. For everyone, I think the holidays serve as a wonderful nexus between what has been and the promise of what is yet to be.

“Through philanthropy, donors powerfully express gratitude for what they have received while investing in their highest hopes for what the future will be.”

Through that lens, it seems only natural that most of us also view the holiday season as a time of giving. This annual convergence of past and future perfectly encapsulates the two conditions necessary for generosity – gratitude and hope. Through philanthropy, donors powerfully express gratitude for what they have received while investing in their highest hopes for what the future will be.

As Vice President for University Advancement, it’s a tremendous privilege to help donors express their feelings of gratitude and hope through giving to Butler. In my role, donors share with me stories of how their life was transformed thanks to their Butler experience. They also share their excitement for how Butler is preparing the next generation for the future opportunities and challenges that await them. And through giving, they put those feelings of gratitude and hope into action.

It’s for this reason that I’m proud Butler has joined the Giving Tuesday movement which harnesses the power of social media and the generosity of people from around the world. Since 2012, millions of donors from more than 150 countries have banded together to make gifts on Giving Tuesday to affect change in causes that matter to them. For me and my family, the transformative impact Butler makes in the lives of our students and in our community is that cause. So, on this Giving Tuesday, I invite you to join my family in putting gratitude and hope into action through a gift to Butler University. 

ThanksGiving

A Season for Gratitude and Hope

Through philanthropy, donors express gratitude for what they have while investing in their hopes for the future.

Giving Thanks: Student Reflections

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam Varie
Class of 2020

 


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

Alex Kassan 
Class of 2020

 


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

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


Kelly Stone
Class of 2022

 


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

Ben Martella
Class of 2020

 

 


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

Jaylah DeGout
Class of 2020

 


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

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

Natalie Ostoic
Class of 2019

 

ThanksPeopleCampus

Giving Thanks: Student Reflections

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

Academics

#ButlerBound: Where are They Now?

BY Jeff Stanich '16

PUBLISHED ON Nov 16 2018

For five years, the #ButlerBound program has delivered good news to prospective students around the country. With a personal touch and a lot of drool, Trip - Butler’s live mascot - surprises future Bulldogs with their acceptance letters or scholarship announcements.

We followed up with three current students who once received the furry herald to hear about their #ButlerBound experience and to find out what they are doing now.

 

Allan Schneider

One room. Dozens of applicants. Only a few full-ride scholarships on the line.

This is the stressful scene Allan Schneider sets while recounting the final leg of a marathon he’d been on his entire life to get to Butler University. As an Indianapolis native, Allan couldn’t help but view Butler as the cream of the crop when it came to colleges. But the reality of actually attending was a little more sobering.

“It was always my number one choice, but by the time I was applying it fell because of the cost,” Schneider says, now a psychology major in the Class of 2022. “I only felt that the scholarship interview went fine, which didn’t boost my confidence. But the worst part was hearing it would be three more weeks before I found out if I got it.”

But it would only take three days.

After being instructed to stay in his study hall to show prospective parents and students around, Allan heard one of his teachers, a Butler alumna herself, shriek in delight down the hall.

“Then in walks Trip with his handler and he asks: ‘Are you Allan Schneider?’ I knew right away what was happening. All I could think was: don’t look like an idiot,” Schneider says. “That was the start of the best day of my life. For sure.”

Trip and his handler, Michael Kaltenmark, didn’t have to travel far that day. Allan’s study hall room at Bishop Chatard High School is only three miles east from Butler’s campus. They arrived by van, but had it been Allan on the other end of Trip’s leash, they would’ve arrived on foot.

Allan had been running cross country for most of his life, an extracurricular that sent him on a path through Butler’s campus almost every day for practice. As a kid, every student and professor with whom he interacted was friendly and treated him like an equal. That warmth stuck with Allan, setting the expectations high for his Butler experience even after accepting the scholarship.

But time and time again, Butler continues to exceed those expectations. After underperforming on an exam, one of his professors offered to walk him through all the questions he had, which was when Allan recognized the professor sincerely cared about how he was doing.

“Not just in the class, but in my everyday life, which kind of shocked me,” Schneider says. “This really made me realize how incredible everyone at Butler is, and how the people here truly care about you and want you to succeed in every aspect of your life.”

For the younger Allan Schneider who once ran through Holcomb Gardens as a child, he is living a dream come true.

The bell tower is still ringing with every passing hour. The campus remains home to friendly faces. And he is still running, growing every step of the way.

 

Keelen Barlow

It’s only ever taken one question to find Keelen Barlow in a game of Guess Who: “Does your character wear a Butler t-shirt?”

“I’ve been wearing one for as long as I can remember, probably since I was two. That’s when my grandpa and grandma started taking me to all the basketball games at Hinkle,” Barlow says. “This place has always been a second home for me ever since.”

Which is why it was all the more special when, in the middle of an otherwise average week, Keelen’s mom made sure he didn’t have any plans made for the following Wednesday after school. Surprises like this weren’t the norm in the Barlow household, so Keelen started working on some theories.

He knew he was waiting to hear if he had been accepted into Butler. He knew his mom wouldn’t set aside time for bad news. He also knew that another Indianapolis native, Allan Schneider, got a personal visit from Butler’s live mascot, Trip, with the news that he was Butler Bound after reading about it in the IndyStar.

Days later, while watching a soccer game with his buddy Jared, Keelen voiced his suspicions for the very first time: “What if Trip is coming to my house on Wednesday?”

He was spot on.

Many members of his extended family gathered around on that Wednesday, including the grandma he’s continued going to every basketball game with after his grandpa passed when he was five. Then, right on cue, Trip and Kaltenmark knocked on the door with a special delivery.

“I don’t necessarily want to say that every moment of my life had been leading up to that, but…” Barlow says, “that’s kind of exactly how it felt.”

Now, as a journalism major in his first year, Keelen is still going wherever the next hunch takes him. But no matter where every uncertain lead goes, whether it's covering a local beat for class or on assignment for the Butler Collegian, Keelen knows he is exactly where he needs to be.

“Back when I made my first official visit, my current advisor Scott Bridge told me: ‘We’d love to have you. And whether you come here or not, know that I’m here for you,’” Barlow says. “He spoke to me like I was a real person, not another applicant. I didn’t feel that anywhere else.”

Unlike other first-year students, Keelen has a deeper appreciation for the way campus has evolved without losing its essence since he first arrived as a child. Because, in a way, the same can be said of him.

“Of course I still wear Butler t-shirts,” Barlow said. “There’s just a whole lot more around me now.”

 

Brooke Blevins

You probably can’t describe a seahawk as well as you can count off teams and schools that use the bird as its mascot. South River High School in Edgewater, MD, is one of those schools.

So you can imagine the confusion South River’s players and fans felt as a bulldog panted his way into the locker room before a women’s basketball game.

But that night, Brooke Blevins felt clarity. She was going to be a bulldog, too.

“My younger brother and I hadn’t put Butler on our list of schools to visit initially, but it ended up being on the way between other options,” says Blevins, now a sophomore studying with the College of Communications. “I knew right away once I got to campus that Butler was a place I could definitely call home.”

That feeling ended up being the key ingredient to her success. Because being 600 miles away from home for the first time not only brought the occasional wave of isolation, it also left Brooke without plans for her first fall break. With her new peers making plans for quick visits home to reconnect with family and friends, Brooke’s options dwindled as the days passed.

“But then someone recommended that I apply for the Fall Alternative Break, and honestly everything I’ve really loved about Butler since started with that trip,” Blevins says. “Doors for more and more opportunities just keep opening up.”

After spending a long weekend in Kentucky by helping with affordable housing projects, Brooke put herself up to be on the committee for the following year’s trip. She turned those connections into a job with the volunteer center on campus. Then into a six-month internship in Singapore working in her dream field of event management, all while juggling the demands of a double-major in Human Communication & Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication.

That’s a full plate for any student, but one that Brooke never takes for granted.

“I’ve discovered new passions and ways to follow them to their highest potential,” she says. “Even though I feel like I’ve already been able to do so much with my time at Butler, I know there is still so much more to look forward to.”

Brooke traces all the excitement in her voice back to that night in her high school gymnasium, when the desire to attend Butler was fulfilled in the form of bulldog waiting just for her.

“I see Trip every once in a while on campus, but I can’t be sure if he recognizes me since he’s always surrounded by a crowd of students.”

A crowd of students who, just like Brooke, see that bulldog and know they’re home.

Academics

#ButlerBound: Where are They Now?

Hear from three current students who once received #ButlerBound visits to find out what they are doing now.

Nov 16 2018 Read more
AcademicsPeople

Brooke Barnett Named New Dean of CCOM

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 15 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

AcademicsPeople

Brooke Barnett Named New Dean of CCOM

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

Nov 15 2018 Read more
AthleticsPeople

Albert at the Bat

BY Brock Benefiel ’10

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

He did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

AthleticsPeople

Albert at the Bat

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

Nov 14 2018 Read more
AcademicsPeople

Grand Finales

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AcademicsPeople

Grand Finales

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

Nov 14 2018 Read more

Pages