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Brooke Moreland
Alumni Success

Butler Alum Receives Indiana’s Achievement in Education Award

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Aug 26 2020

Brooke Moreland ’11 first came to Butler University from a low-income household in 2007. Now, she’s being celebrated for her years of supporting students in similar situations, as the 2020 recipient of Indiana’s Achievement in Education award.

“It’s really a full-circle experience,” she says.

The award, which recognizes educators who have used innovative strategies to increase achievement for their students, was announced August 26 as part of the Governor’s Celebration of Community Service Awards. During the virtual ceremony, the State of Indiana honored six Black Hoosiers for their exceptional efforts across a variety of fields. Moreland received six nominations for the education category.

“I feel very appreciative of this award,” says Moreland, who is currently Assistant Director for the  21st Century Scholars Success Program at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). “When you are a leader in higher education, and especially when you are a leader of color at a predominantly white institution, it can sometimes be really hard to gauge if your work is appreciated or if you are truly making a difference. I’m so appreciative that people took the time to acknowledge my work and my passion for helping students.”

During her time at Butler, Moreland spent three years serving as a Resident Assistant. She loved the role so much—from managing programs to building relationships—she wondered if she could do something similar full time.

Mentors at Butler—including former President Bobby Fong—introduced Moreland to the world of student affairs. She hasn’t looked back. After graduating from Butler’s Psychology program, she went on to earn her master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University (IU).

Moreland spent two years on IU’s student conduct team before starting as a Scholarship Coordinator at IUPUI, where she has worked mostly with high-risk and first-generation students participating in Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program. After two years guiding students through the program requirements, providing individualized support, and helping families understand financial aid logistics, Moreland was promoted to her current role as the program’s Assistant Director.

Her work now focuses on developing strategies for enhancing the retention and success of more than 4,500 21st Century Scholarship recipients at IUPUI. She highlights the need to rely on concrete data in creating these programs, often basing her decisions on institutional research.

“I’m not just guessing—the success of the students is too important,” she says. “If I was that student, I would want someone to do their research and make sure the guidance they’re giving me is solid and accurate. And I think the students I work with recognize that I do put in that level of effort every day.”

In addition to overseeing a robust peer mentoring initiative, Moreland has implemented regular check-ins with the students she works with. Six times each academic year, she and her team hold one-on-one meetings with all of IUPUI’s 21st Century Scholars. This proactive approach establishes supportive relationships and allows staff members to identify and resolve issues before students reach the point of asking for help.

“This year, choosing the recipient for the Achievement in Education award was fairly easy,” said a Civil Rights Commission spokesperson during the Wednesday ceremony. “When an abundance of past and present students—including colleagues—nominate someone, it’s pretty clear to see that that person has put forth the initiative, the work, and the compassion. Brooke Moreland has not only counseled her students, but has supported, mentored, and inspired thousands of students throughout her career.”

The 2020 Governor’s Celebration of Community Service Awards were hosted by the Indiana Civil Rights Commission in partnership with Indiana Black Expo, the Indiana Division of Supplier Diversity, and the Family & Social Services Administration. The celebration acknowledges the outstanding achievement of Black leaders throughout the state of Indiana.


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager

Brooke Moreland
Alumni Success

Butler Alum Receives Indiana’s Achievement in Education Award

Brooke Moreland ’11 has dedicated her career to helping college students succeed

Aug 26 2020 Read more
ethics series

New Podcasts from Lacy School of Business Ethics Series Focus on Fighting Racism, Social Injustice


PUBLISHED ON Aug 26 2020

The Lacy School of Business (LSB) Ethics Series podcast, presented by Old National Bank, is devoting its next episodes to local community leaders committed to combating issues of racial and social injustice in the Indianapolis community and beyond.

“These episodes will explore ways that businesses and educators can make a difference,” says Hilary Buttrick, Interim Dean for LSB and host of the podcast. “We believe that being an ethical leader means acknowledging injustices and actively working to correct them. We have an obligation to prepare students to be leaders in organizations that are inclusive and offer a place of belonging for all people, regardless of background.”

The series kicks off with a conversation featuring Brian Payne, President and CEO of the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). The organization works to mobilize people, ideas, and investments to create a community where all individuals have an equitable opportunity to reach their full potential. Under Payne’s leadership, CICF has made dismantling systemic racism in Central Indiana a multi-generational commitment.

“We are really trying to dismantle racist systems and replace them with systems built on principles of equity… and understanding the DNA of a system is really important,” Payne says on the podcast. “The DNA of America is business, and capitalism tends to overwhelm democracy. Businesses are hugely powerful in America, and if we want to change systemic racism, we have to do that with business.”

The full conversation between Payne and Buttrick is available now. Future episodes in the social justice series will feature Jennifer Pope Baker, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, and other community leaders.

This is the second set of episodes within the LSB Ethics Series podcast, following one earlier this year that focused on the effects of COVID-19. The podcast’s episodes can be found on Spotify, BuzzSprout, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and TuneIn.


About Lacy School of Business Ethics Series, presented by Old National Bank:
This podcast is part of LSB’s continuing journey to become the Midwest’s leader in Business Ethics Education and Ethical Leadership by offering free educational events to students, alumni, and the business community. Our goal is to exemplify ethical practice and leadership development for our students, future leaders, and the community as a whole. 


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
260-307-3403 (cell)

ethics series

New Podcasts from Lacy School of Business Ethics Series Focus on Fighting Racism, Social Injustice

The first episode, available now, features CICF President and CEO Brian Payne

Aug 26 2020 Read more
Butler Class of 2024

Butler Welcomes Third-Largest Class Ever Despite COVID-19 Challenges

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Aug 24 2020


INDIANAPOLIS—Despite a year of unexpected challenges in the college admissions world, Butler University is welcoming its third-largest class ever, with 1,128 first-year students planning to begin classes on August 24.

Butler has continued to experience a surge in interest and enrollment over the last five years. Last year’s Class of 2023 was previously the third-largest, topped by this new incoming group of students. The Class of 2022, now juniors, is the largest in the University’s history.

The Class of 2024 has been through a lot over the past six months. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many of them to finish high school online, cancel graduation celebrations, and navigate changes to AP and IB exams. These students are also starting their college experiences in a way that likely looks different from what they ever pictured, with the first two weeks of the semester occurring remotely. But even as they log on for their first day of classes, they are excited to be Bulldogs.

“I ultimately chose Butler because I got that ‘home’ feeling when thinking about the University,” says Marissa Flannery, an incoming student who had initially planned to attend college closer to her hometown of Fairport, New York. “I know there are people here who truly care about students and want success for all of us.”

Flannery says Butler’s relatively small size was a big factor in her decision, but not just for safety reasons during the course of the pandemic.

“You can’t walk into Butler and feel like a little fish in the ocean, or feel like there’s no one to notice if you need help with something,” she says. “The sense of community and family is undeniable, and that is my absolute favorite part of Butler.”

Flannery had the chance to visit campus multiple times before making her choice. While that wasn’t the case for some other prospective students, Vice President for Enrollment Management Lori Greene applauds the adaptability of Butler staff who adjusted quickly to a virtual environment.

“Butler already offered a virtual campus tour option,” Greene says, “so we were able to build upon that foundation by adding virtual counselor meetings and events for both individuals and groups. Our enrollment team, both the admission and financial aid staff members, worked diligently to meet the needs of prospective students by focusing on creative solutions for outreach and active follow up. Our biggest concern was working to provide support at a time of great uncertainty.”

Faculty members at Butler have also committed themselves to providing extra support for this group of new students. As the pandemic continued to surge in mid-May, the University announced it would offer a free online class to help incoming students learn about and reflect on the widespread impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The one-credit-hour summer course was taught by a team of 14 faculty members from across the University, with more than 250 incoming students enrolled.

“We wanted to show our incoming students how current Butler students, faculty, and staff have really rallied to make the best of a very difficult situation,” says Anne Wilson, Professor of Chemistry and faculty lead for the online class. “This course offered an opportunity for incoming students to learn more about the Butler community while reflecting on what they have learned about their own adaptability and resilience.”

Many traditionally on-campus enrollment activities moved to virtual delivery this year. All incoming students completed course registration virtually this spring, and more than 130 students attended a virtual admitted student visit.

Despite the pressure of adjusting to a global pandemic, this incoming class is as academically strong as ever. The Class of 2024 includes 41 high school valedictorians, 23 Lilly Scholars, and 40 21st Century Scholars. Nearly 18 percent of the students graduated in the top 10 percent of their classes. The average high school GPA of the class is 3.92, one of the strongest in recent admission cycles. In addition, Butler will also welcome 66 transfer students.

The most popular majors among the incoming class include Exploratory Studies, Pre-Pharmacy, Exploratory Business, Biology, and Health Sciences.

Butler’s upward trend in out-of-state growth continues with this class. Incoming students represent 37 states and 13 countries, including Australia, Mexico, and South Korea. Out-of-state students make up 57 percent of the class, with significant populations from Illinois and the Chicagoland area, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Enrollment also increased in California, Texas, and Maryland.

One incoming Maryland student, Anisa Cobb, says she chose Butler for its nationally renowned Dance program. The Morton-Finney Scholar is also looking forward to exploring a wide variety of academic options.

“The great thing about Butler is that there are so many options that it’s possible to be involved in so many different things,” Cobb says.

Another out-of-state first-year student, Ashton Franklin, says he was drawn to Butler’s welcoming atmosphere. The Michigan native plans to major in Strategic Communication: Public Relations and Advertising, using what he learns to help others tell their stories.

“I really believe that the world can become a brighter place if we all try to understand one another,” Franklin says. “And by the time I graduate, I’m confident that I’ll be the very best version of myself because of the opportunities that Butler has given to me.”


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager

Butler Class of 2024

Butler Welcomes Third-Largest Class Ever Despite COVID-19 Challenges

More than 1,125 first-year students plan to log on for their first day of classes on August 24

Aug 24 2020 Read more

Butler Massage Therapist Advocates for Mental Health Awareness

By Kamy Mitchell ’21

“We all act like the world will stop if we stop,” says Lara Pearson, Massage Therapy Services Coordinator at Butler’s Health and Recreation Complex (HRC).

Pearson sees adults working 60 hours a week, students pulling all-nighters to study before exams, and society as a whole working overtime while rarely taking a moment to pause. And she gets it, but she also knows the stress it brings. She used to get caught up in the frenzy of life, too, until she discovered the merits of regular massage therapy.

Pearson says massage is more than a luxurious spa experience, but rather an important tool within healthcare. Massages reduce muscle tension, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, reduce stress hormones, enhance athletic performance, and improve overall mental health. And yet, many people don’t know about the benefits that massage therapy has to offer.

Pearson was one of them. She had been working a high-stress job in the corporate insurance world for 13 years when, one day, she received a gift card for a massage. The experience entirely changed her view of well-being, so she enrolled in massage therapy school on the weekends in hopes of beginning a side business. After a few months, this choice led to a full career change when she joined the HRC staff at Butler in 2011.

As a massage therapist, Pearson loves working with Butler students, faculty, and staff. She hopes the availability of massage therapy services will eventually be common knowledge across campus, as it caters to a variety of needs ranging from letting go of some stress during finals week to preparing for or recovering from sports competitions. As Pearson strives to increase awareness about the health benefits of massage, she also works to end the stigma associated with mental health issues.

Her passion for mental health awareness began at an early age. As a young adult, Pearson attempted suicide and was admitted to a stress center, where she was connected with a counselor.

“It literally saved my life to know I was not alone,” she says, “to know that there was help out there, and to know all I had to do was ask someone.”

Ever since, Pearson has been advocating for mental health awareness. She believes our most important job in life is to take care of our mental health, and that care can come in many forms.

“True healthcare begins with self-care,” Pearson says. “It’s important to be aware of the link between physical and mental health. Massage therapy is just one of many tools to help you take care of your mind and body.”


Lara Pearson, BCTMB
Member of American Massage Therapy Association


Lara Pearson

Butler Massage Therapist Advocates for Mental Health Awareness

For Lara Pearson, massage is more than a luxurious spa experience. It's a key healthcare tool.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Time with Your Academic Advisors

By Hailey Radakovitz ’21

As Butler undergrads navigate through their academic programs, various opportunities and challenges are bound to arise. Luckily, Butler provides all students with an academic advisor to provide guidance along the way.

Academic advising isn't just about scheduling classes. Rather, advisors can help guide you through your academic journey, providing information and guidance about educational opportunities and working with you to plan a path toward academic and (ultimately) professional success. At Butler, academic advising is a critical piece of the teaching and learning relationship.  

For many Butler students, academic advisors serve as valuable, trusted resources. Advisors meet with students at least once each semester, but often, students and their advisors meet throughout the academic year to discuss academic developments, goals, successes, and challenges. In order to get the most out of your time with your advisor, there are a variety of ways to prepare.

Understand that they are busy but will make time for you

Butler faculty and staff members have packed schedules. Between lectures, office hours, and other responsibilities, your academic advisor might not always be available right when you want them to be. But they will do their best to assist you as soon as they can. As an advisee, it’s important to be patient and respect their time. Don’t panic if your advisor hasn't responded to you within a few hours—wait a day or two before circling back.

Be prepared for your appointment

Since advising is a collaborative relationship, it’s important to be prepared for any meeting that you secure with your advisor. To make the most of that time, make sure to always come with any relevant information and materials that your advisor might request from you. Typically, your advisor will let you know in advance how you can best prepare for a meeting, so treat those suggestions as a plan of action for the days leading up to it. That way, your meeting time can be utilized effectively, rather than being wasted by sorting through old academic records.

Know your requirements, and have a plan to achieve them

Advisors will do their best to guide you through your time at college, but you should understand that it is your responsibility to keep track of your progress within your program. Each semester, set aside some time to look through your academic requirements and check that you are on the right track and timeline. Think about your academic goals, and make sure your course schedule matches up with them. If you have questions, be ready to bring them up when you meet with your advisor.

Form a strong professional relationship

Students are typically paired with advisors who have experiences and connections in the student’s area of concentration. This means that advisors themselves (or their peers) likely have first-hand knowledge about the careers you are interested in. By making an effort to build a strong professional relationship with your advisor, you can connect with them and gain deeper insights into your future career path.

Be open to new ideas, and ask questions

Always go into meetings with your advisor with an open mind. Occasionally, they may suggest a course or academic path that you haven't considered or that doesn't necessarily seem to line up with exactly what you want to do. Before you reject those ideas, hear out your advisor and find out why they believe these experiences outside your comfort zone might be beneficial. A change in perspective can often be positive, helping you discover new interests and paths that you might not have considered in the first place.

Ultimately, your relationship with your academic advisor is based on respect, trust, and a mutual understanding of each of your responsibilities. As a student, if you go into advising meetings prepared and with an open mind, your advisor will be able to help you position yourself on a path to academic, personal, and professional success.


BONUS: Tips from an Academic Advisor

  • Get to know yourself, who you are, and what you like.
  • Meet early and often with your academic advisor.
  • Use your resources, and ask your advisor how you can get involved.
  • Educate yourself on all the academic possibilities at Butler. Ask a lot of questions.
  • Be flexible. This is crucial when building your academic schedule each semester.
  • Don't be afraid to make a four-year plan once you have chosen your academic path.
  • Have a back-up or parallel plan.
Butler University

How to Get the Most Out of Your Time with Your Academic Advisors

Academic advisors do more than help with class schedules. Check out these tips for building a strong relationship that can set you up for success.

Butler University

Butler Named a Top College by Princeton Review For Third Straight Year


PUBLISHED ON Aug 20 2020

Butler University is one of the nation's best undergraduate institutions, according to The Princeton Review. For the third year in a row, Butler has been included in The Princeton Review’s annual college guide, The Best 386 Colleges. The book provides school recommendations for undergraduate college applicants, with only about 14 percent of America’s four-year colleges and universities profiled in the guide’s 2021 edition.

The company chooses colleges for the book based on data it annually collects from administrators at hundreds of colleges about their institutions’ academic offerings. The Princeton Review also considers data gathered from surveys of college students who rate and report on various aspects of their campus experiences.  

"We salute Butler University for its outstanding academics, and we are truly pleased to recommend it to prospective applicants searching for their personal ‘best-fit’ college,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's Editor-in-Chief and lead author of The Best 386 Colleges. 

In Butler’s profile from the book, students highlighted the University’s student-to-faculty ratio and said instructors often collaborate with students on research and professional endeavors. Students also appreciated the ongoing introduction of new technology into the learning experience, as well as curriculum that challenges students to try new things.

Students valued Butler’s study abroad offerings, with more than 200 programs across 60 countries, along with other experiential learning opportunities.

The best 386 colleges are not ranked hierarchically. Published annually since 1992, the book features detailed descriptions of each college, including admission and graduation rates, as well as excerpts from surveys of students and graduates.


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager

Butler University

Butler Named a Top College by Princeton Review For Third Straight Year

The University has been included in the 2021 edition of 'The Best 386 Colleges'

Aug 20 2020 Read more
Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi Visits Butler to Discuss Anti-Racism with Faculty, Staff, Students


PUBLISHED ON Aug 18 2020

In his campus-wide message on Juneteenth, Butler President James Danko charged members of the Butler community with proposing immediate steps to address racism, discrimination, and social injustices that may be evident at the University. While that mission will continue throughout the academic year and beyond, Butler is excited to kick off the fall 2020 semester by inviting faculty, staff, and students to attend virtual Q&A sessions featuring bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi.

Professor Kendi is the Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. He is also a professor of history and international studies, an Ideas Columnist at The Atlantic, and a correspondent with CBS News. His four books have included Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America; How to Be an Antiracist; and STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You (co-authored with Jason Reynolds). His newest book, Antiracist Baby, was published on June 16, 2020.

On Wednesday, August 19, Professor Kendi will be the keynote guest during a live, virtual symposium on anti-racism for all Butler faculty and staff. Later in the week, he will speak with students.

“While we realize that meaningful change cannot result from just one or two conversations,” President Danko says, “we hope hearing from Professor Kendi will help strengthen the urgent desire that so many in our community already feel—a desire to truly live out our founding mission to be a University where all students, faculty, and staff are welcome and respected.”


Photo by Stephen Voss


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager

Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi Visits Butler to Discuss Anti-Racism with Faculty, Staff, Students

The bestselling author and Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research will lead virtual Q&A sessions with the Butler community

Aug 18 2020 Read more
Butler Beyond

Inaugural Butler Giving Circle Grant Supports Local Nonviolence Training


PUBLISHED ON Aug 13 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—On July 16, the first annual Butler Giving Circle community grant was awarded to the Desmond Tutu Peace Lab at Butler University. The grant supports local nonviolence training workshops in partnership with the Martin Luther King Community Center (MLK Center), which is located one mile from Butler’s campus in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood. The 32 inaugural shareholders of the Butler Giving Circle gathered virtually to hear presentations from three potential grant recipients before deliberating and ultimately recommending to award $10,596 to fund nonviolence training for all MLK Center staff and board members, the MLK Center’s teen/young adult group, Butler Peace Lab interns, and Butler faculty fellows.

Participants will be trained by professionals from the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago in the practical use of nonviolence principles established by Martin Luther King. With help from Butler Giving Circle funds, the workshops will be conducted using a “train the trainer” model, equipping all participants with the skills to train successive cohorts of young people in the nonviolence principles at both the MLK Center and Butler. Desmond Tutu Peace Lab Director Dr. Siobhan McEvoy-Levy says this model will establish a sustainable network of qualified trainers, institutionalizing nonviolent conflict transformation as a shared endeavor across both campuses.

“The nonviolence program will help build much-needed capacity for resolving conflict on our campus and in the community, and for resolving conflicts between our campus and community,” McEvoy-Levy says. “Through this program, we are both learning from and giving back to the community within which we are rooted, making connections with future Butler students from Butler-Tarkington and the surrounding areas. I am excited to help create a unique space of learning to promote peace, justice, and dignity for all, in partnership with Butler graduate Allison Luthe ’97, who is Executive Director of the MLK Center.”

The Butler Giving Circle is a new initiative spearheaded by Board of Visitors member Loren Snyder ’08 in conjunction with the Office of University Advancement. The Butler Giving Circle is designed to connect alumni to their philanthropic areas of passion, focused on two mission-critical elements of the University’s Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign: student scholarships and Indianapolis community partnerships.

With an annual gift of $500, Butler graduates can become shareholders in the Butler Giving Circle. After shareholder funds are pooled, 40 percent of the funds are directed to the Butler Fund for Student Scholarship, and 60 percent are granted to an Indianapolis community partner with an existing affiliation to Butler. Current Butler students and faculty who are engaged with Indianapolis community partners were invited to apply for the partner funding earlier this year by submitting project ideas. After an initial review of applicant projects by Butler leadership and the Butler Giving Circle Executive Committee, three finalists were chosen to present their ideas for use of the funds at the July 16 shareholder meeting.

“Despite the challenging circumstances we are all facing today, I’m so pleased that, through the Butler Giving Circle, the Butler alumni community was able to partner with the Butler Peace Lab and the MLK Center while also supporting scholarship opportunities,” Snyder says. “I’m looking forward to watching the impact of this group grow as more people join the Butler Giving Circle.”

In keeping with the Butler Giving Circle’s funding priorities, the other $7,310 of this year’s shareholder funds were directed to the Butler Fund for Student Scholarship, which directly supports the University’s annual commitment to students in the form of scholarships and financial aid. In 2019-2020, Butler committed more than $77 million to students in the form of financial aid. The University announced earlier this year a commitment of $10 million in additional financial aid to incoming and returning students in response to the unforeseen economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 crisis, and the Butler Giving Circle’s gift will support this commitment.

“The Butler Giving Circle is a wonderful example of the generous and innovative spirit of the Butler alumni community,” says Jonathan Purvis, Vice President for University Advancement. “I am grateful for the way this group is not only inspiring our students and faculty to dream about new ways to broaden Butler’s partnerships with the community, but also offering direct scholarship support to our students in the process. Students, faculty, alumni, and our community partners will all benefit from the connections and philanthropy generated by the Butler Giving Circle.”

The Butler Giving Circle is currently led by an Executive Committee of seven Butler graduates: Ted Argus ’08, Chris Beaman ’12, Krissi Edgington ’05, Lindsey Hammond ’06, Tom Matera ’95, Loren Snyder ’08, and William Willoughby ’19. Networking opportunities are currently being developed for Giving Circle shareholders to connect with students, faculty, staff, and community partners during the year.

Shareholder Kim Kile ’89, MS ’98 says no matter where alumni live, the Butler Giving Circle provides a unique opportunity to be connected with current students and to extend Butler’s positive influence in the community.

“It’s about being engaged with students and connected with what they’re passionate about,” Kile says. “It doesn’t matter if you live in Central Indiana or not—it’s all about Butler and all about the students.”

New shareholders can join the Butler Giving Circle at any time by making a gift at or by contacting Associate Director of Alumni & Engagement Programs Chelsea Smock at


Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, with a goal of $250 million to support student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager

Butler Beyond

Inaugural Butler Giving Circle Grant Supports Local Nonviolence Training

The grant for more than $10,000 will fund nonviolence training workshops in partnership with the Martin Luther King Community Center

Aug 13 2020 Read more

Butler, Old National Partner to Support Businesses Owned by Underrepresented Groups


PUBLISHED ON Aug 12 2020

Evansville & Indianapolis, Ind. (August 12, 2020) – The Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence—a partnership between Butler University and Old National Bank—is proud to announce an initiative geared toward strengthening and supporting businesses owned by underrepresented groups throughout Indiana. 

The Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence at Butler University (ONB Center), which was established to connect privately held companies with the resources and support they need to succeed, will waive its annual membership fee of $1,000 for the first year for companies that meet the following criteria:

  • Privately held companies, headquartered in Indiana, with majority ownership (51% or more) by an underrepresented population. This includes the following business owner categories: all people of color; women; LGBTQ+ individuals; veterans; and individuals with disabilities
  • Annual revenues between $1 million and $50 million. Companies with revenues less than $1 million will be referred to the Small Business Development Center to better match needs and resources.


This initiative was born out of a conversation between Mark McFatridge, Executive Director for the ONB Center, and Butler student Victor Aguilar, an intern at the Center. Shortly after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Aguilar approached McFatridge to ask whether the ONB Center would be issuing a public statement related to the situation.

“It was simply a question to see if we were going to release anything official, and that sparked the development of this program,” explained Aguilar. “I never imagined this outcome.”

“It’s no surprise that this initiative was sparked by the social consciousness and passion of one of our Butler students,” said Butler President James Danko. “Furthermore, I applaud the ONB Center’s executive director, Mark McFatridge, for his efforts to foster such student leaders as well as an innovative and socially responsible initiative such as this. Victor, Mark, Old National Bank, and our partners are among many throughout the University who are working diligently to live Butler’s mission both on our campus and in the community.”  

Old National Chairman and CEO Jim Ryan said this initiative is a logical extension of the ongoing partnership between Old National and Butler.

“This is absolutely the right thing to do to support Indiana’s underrepresented business owners and the clients they serve,” said Ryan. “We are incredibly proud to partner with Butler on this program.”


Phased Program Roll-out

To ensure that the ONB Center can appropriately service the potential demand, the initiative will be rolled out in phases. However, demand from business owners may cause the Center to adjust these dates.

  • Phase One (August 12, 2020 – July 31, 2021): focus on Black-owned businesses in Marion County
  • Phase Two (January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021): focus on all businesses owned by people of color and headquartered in Indiana
  • Phase Three (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2022): focus on women- and LGBTQ+-owned businesses headquartered in Indiana
  • Phase Four (January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022): focus on businesses headquartered in Indiana and owned by veterans or individuals with disabilities


Upon registering for the initiative here, ONB Center member companies will receive the following:


Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence - Official Statement Condemning Racism While Providing Assistance
The Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence is a partnership between Butler University and Old National Bank, two of Indiana’s longest-standing and most respected institutions. The partnership was established to assist privately held companies in achieving their goals. This assistance is based on connecting member companies to resources necessary to achieve those goals. 

While the ONB Center does not discriminate in who we serve, we have not placed the appropriate focus and attention on seeking out member companies owned or managed by the underrepresented populations that help make Indianapolis and the state of Indiana great.

Butler University and Old National Bank condemn racism and hold the fundamental belief that our respective services should be available to all—regardless of race, gender, religion, ability, or sexual orientation.


Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,600 undergraduate and 800 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 45 states and 30 countries. More than 75 percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, and Butler students have had significant success after graduation, as demonstrated by the University’s 98 percent placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.


Old National Bancorp (NASDAQ: ONB), the holding company of Old National Bank, is the largest bank holding company headquartered in Indiana. With $22.1 billion in assets, it ranks among the top 100 banking companies in the U.S. and has been recognized as a World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute for nine consecutive years. Since its founding in Evansville in 1834, Old National Bank has focused on community banking by building long-term, highly valued partnerships and keeping our clients at the center of all we do. This is an approach to business that we call The ONB Way. Today, Old National’s footprint includes Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In addition to providing extensive services in retail and commercial banking, Old National offers comprehensive wealth management, investment, and capital market services. For more information and financial data, please visit Investor Relations at


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager



Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative
Frequently Asked Questions


What is the overriding goal of the ONB Center’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative?
Our goal is to play a role in reducing the wealth gap of underrepresented groups.


How can the ONB Center accomplish that goal?
The ONB Center’s mission is to help privately held companies be successful.  With a more intentional focus on recruiting Member companies from underrepresented groups, we believe that those Members will continue to grow in size and profitability which will yield higher wages and more investment in underrepresented markets.  Higher wages lead to opportunities for investments in education, housing and stock ownership (either public or private firms), all are keys to reducing the wealth gap.


How does the ONB Center help privately held companies be successful?
The core of the ONB Center is the Member assessment.  The assessment is a survey that focuses on the following areas of each company:

  • Organization Structure
  • Accounting & Financial Reporting
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Human Capital
  • Talent
  • Legal
  • Capitalization & Financing
  • Risk & Insurance
  • Information Technology
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Competitors
  • Long Term Goals


By better understanding these elements of each Member company, we are able to offer observations to help them achieve their definition of success.  Additionally, we are able to make connections with Accredited Partners that can provide insight and assistance in achieving success. 

The ONB Center Members also benefit from peer interaction.  This interaction comes in a variety of ways from Executive Forums, Peer Happy Hours, our monthly eNewsletter – The Connection, our peer to peer platform – The Hub and other educational events and resources.


What are Accredited Partners?
Accredited Partners are experts in their field that have been vetted by the ONB Center to ensure that they provide excellent work and service for our Member companies.  Our Accredited Partners fall into one of twelve categories:

Risk & Insurance             
Benefits & Compensation             
Capital Acquisition         
Information Technology
Human Capital                   
Operational Consulting


Who are your Accredited Partners?
Old National Bank         
Katz, Sapper Miller        
Donovan CPAs                          
Krieg DeVault                  
Green Loop Marketing           
Bose McKinney & Evans
The Catalyst Effect         
First Person                               
Impact Financial Group
The Mako Group            
MJ Insurance                   
Spry Brands                               
Leaf Software                 
Media Fuel                      
Valve & Meter                 
Wilcox & Associates                
Ambassador Enterprises
Little Engine Ventures                                              
Edge Business Strategies             
Crossroads Business Solutions                              
Promethius Consulting
Indiana Business Advisors                               
WestPoint Financial Group             


How are your Accredited Partners involved in the ONB Center Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative?
Each of our Accredited Partners have identified ways in which they can provide additional benefits to our newest Members.  Some of these benefits can be reflected in reduced pricing, counseling or contributions that will have a lasting effect on closing the existing wealth gap for underrepresented groups.


Who else is partnering with the ONB Center on this initiative?
The Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has committed $150,000 in funding to assist our newest Members with accessing resources from our Accredited Partners.  Additionally, the SBDC will provide resources to companies with annual revenues less than $1 million or entrepreneurs who are interested in starting up a company.

Mid States Minority Supplier Development Council (Mid-States MSDC) certifies, develops, connects and advocates minority-owned companies.  MSMSDC will offer our newest Member companies free membership and serves as a referral source to identify Members and Accredited Partners for the ONB Center. Recently, Old National announced a partnership with MSMSDC and Bankable that provides unique, flexible financing solutions and business development resources to MSMSDC-certified Minority Business Enterprises within Indiana. Old National is providing $50,000 in funding to launch the partnership with an emphasis on broadening economic development and financial empowerment initiatives among diverse businesses and geographies.

Indy Black Chamber of Commerce advocates for Black-owned businesses in central Indiana.  The Indy Black Chamber has offered our newest Member companies free membership and serves as a referral source to identify Members and Accredited Partners for the ONB Center.

Bankable is a nonprofit lender that provides access to capital, financial education and economic resources to build healthy small businesses.

Conscious Capitalism Indianapolis (CCI) helps companies grow by producing positive results in performance, in their associates’ engagement, and in their communities.  CCI has offered our newest Member companies to join as Future Champions at no cost for their first year and serves as a referral source to identify Members and Accredited Partners for the ONB Center. 

Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce empowers business to ensure all have the opportunity to succeed in the Indianapolis region.  The Indy Chamber provides access for our Members to capital, peer networking and other economic development initiatives and serves as a referral source to identify Members and Accredited Partners for the ONB Center.


Butler, Old National Partner to Support Businesses Owned by Underrepresented Groups

ONB Center to waive membership fee for companies owned by people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, veterans, and individuals with disabilities

Aug 12 2020 Read more
Muslim Studies
Butler Beyond

Donor Gift Expands Muslim Studies Programming

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Aug 06 2020

In the fall of 2018, Dilnaz and Qaiser Waraich were pleased with their son’s choice to attend Butler University. He was beginning his junior year and had already made lifelong friends and built strong relationships with his professors. Driven by their Muslim faith, the Waraichs began having conversations about where their family values of giving back and promoting a greater understanding of Islam might intersect on Butler’s campus. The Waraichs viewed the authentic, lasting relationships that happen within Butler’s close-knit community as an opportunity to foster meaningful dialogue between students, faculty, staff, and the greater community.

After conversations as a family and with faculty and leadership at Butler, the family established the Muslim Studies Endowed Fund in October 2018 with the goal of supporting programming that advances understanding, mutual esteem, and cooperation for education and awareness about the Muslim faith.

“We’re way past tolerance; I don’t think we should be using that word anymore,” Dilnaz Waraich says. “There is such a misconception about Muslims in America, and we’re at the point where we really need to develop relationships. The only way you can get to those relationships is by having conversations.”

In an effort to promote more conversation, the family’s first goal for the fund was to support programming that would raise awareness about Islam at Butler and allow members of the Butler community to have exposure to Muslims from diverse walks of life. Earlier this year, the family made an additional significant gift to expand the scope of the endowment’s impact in the Butler community through support for student internships with Muslim organizations and for faculty research on Islam.


Broadening perspectives

“The first thing this endowment really allowed was the regular presence of high-profile Muslim speakers on our campus, which is so important to broadening perspectives and allowing for diverse voices to be heard,” says Dr. Chad Bauman, Professor of Religion in the Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classics, where the endowed fund is housed.

During the 2019-2020 academic year, the Muslim Studies Endowed Fund brought three Muslim-American speakers to campus for lectures and dialogue through partnerships with the Center for Faith and Vocation, the Global and Historical Studies program, and other departments across campus. The series kicked off in October with a performance by Omar Offendum, a Los Angeles-based rapper, poet, and activist, which filled Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall and required the use of an overflow room. Along with his performance, Offendum also visited a number of classes for more in-depth dialogue and was available for one-on-one conversations during a drop-in session that was open to the Butler community.

“Many of our students don’t have a lot of exposure to Muslims and to the Islamic tradition, and the knowledge that they do have about the religion or the people is really filtered to them through the media,” says Dr. Nermeen Mouftah, an Assistant Professor of Religion and the Religion program’s specialist on Islam. “We’re trying to add complexity with programming that’s going to deal with politics, art, culture. We really want the programming to be across the spectrum so you can see all those different facets of Muslim life.”

In November, Ustadh Ubaydullah Evans, Scholar-in-Residence at the American Learning Institute for Muslims, gave a well-attended lecture titled “Islam and our Current Cultural Moment.” In March, journalist Leila Fadel held a conversation about reporting on Muslims in the American media. Now a national correspondent for National Public Radio’s race, identity, and culture beat, Fadel previously served as an international correspondent based in Cairo during the wave of revolts in the Middle East.

“I have just been truly blown away by the impact of the programming,” Mouftah says. “I’ve asked students who have attended to write short reflections after the events, and their reflections have been so poignant. It seems pretty clear that, for most of the students who are attending, these viewpoints and experiences they are hearing from these speakers are revelatory. They are turning over ideas that the students had and giving them new ideas. We’re simply bringing in these speakers who are experts in their fields, and it is raising the level of dialogue about Muslims in America.”


A culture of understanding

This year, the additional commitment to the endowment expanded the use of the fund to include support for faculty conducting research on Islam. Butler faculty members in any department who are carrying out research projects centering on Islam, interfaith dialogue, or religious pluralism will be able to apply for course development and research grants supported by the fund.

“It’s really important for faculty to have the support they need to do the research they are doing,” Dilnaz Waraich says. “Academia is run on research, so if we as a family can support faculty to go to seminars and dig deep into a certain topic and then come back and share what they’ve learned with other faculty members, that is very important.  We want to make sure it is taught from a perspective of religious pluralism; it’s about learning about various faiths and how many commonalities they have about them instead of just highlighting the differences.”

Waraich says it was important to the family that the research and course development support be available to faculty from any department so that faculty will share what they are learning with one another across disciplines, ultimately promoting a culture of greater understanding of Islam throughout campus. Bauman says these faculty development funds also have the long-lasting effect of helping to inspire and retain Butler’s excellent faculty.

“The ability to support our faculty and encourage their work in research and teaching not only allows us to attract the top minds in our fields to Butler, but it encourages these faculty that Butler is a worthwhile place to stay, which has an enduring effect on the culture at Butler and on our students,” Bauman says.


Hands-on experience

Also new this academic year, the Waraichs’ latest gift will provide support for students pursuing internships with Muslim organizations such the Muslim Alliance of Indiana. Several funds currently exist within the Center for Faith and Vocation to support students pursuing internships with various faith-based organizations, but this is the first fund at Butler to provide support for internships specific to the Muslim faith.

“The Waraich family has a very coherent vision to promote greater understanding of Islam, which directs their energy and their philanthropic investment,” Bauman says. “We are very grateful that Butler is part of that vision.”

Though their son has now graduated from Butler, the Waraichs say they are grateful to have had the opportunity to get involved and contribute as parents while their child was on campus, and are inspired to think about the long-term impacts of their gift beyond their son’s experience.

“To be in the position to give is such a privilege, and it’s something we take very seriously,” Dilnaz Waraich says. “If other parents see where their family values meet what Butler is doing, I think higher ed is really an exciting place to be because you have young adults who are not only future leaders, but they are present-day leaders. The impact is both immediate and enduring.”


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager

Muslim Studies
Butler Beyond

Donor Gift Expands Muslim Studies Programming

Dilnaz and Qaiser Waraich established the Muslim Studies Endowed Fund in 2018. This year, the family made an additional gift to expand the scope of the endowment’s impact.

Aug 06 2020 Read more
Sorell Grow ’20
Experiential Learning

Q&A with Sorell Grow ’20, Butler’s First News21 Fellow

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Aug 04 2020

Sorell Grow’s professional journalism career was off to a busy start this summer as the May 2020 graduate completed a 10-week fellowship with News21. She is the first Butler University student ever to apply for and be accepted into the prestigious investigative reporting program, which recruits fellows from across the nation to produce in-depth, multimedia stories. Content created for the project is often published in major outlets such as The Washington Post, NBC News, and USA Today.

This year, the 35-member team has studied and reported on aspects of the United States juvenile justice system. One of Grow’s stories covers the system’s disparities, and another chronicles the experience of life after incarceration for those who were imprisoned as kids. Overall, the 2020 fellows produced about 20 longform investigative pieces that will be published in mid-August.

While the pandemic meant this year’s fellows had to work remotely instead of traveling to Arizona State University, Grow still loved the opportunity to work with other top journalism students while gaining hands-on experience in investigative reporting.


Why did you pursue this program? What aspects appealed to you most?

I found out about the fellowship through Dean Brooke Barnett and one of my journalism professors, who nominated me for the program. I was most intrigued by the idea of working with fellow journalism students who are around the same age and interested in the same field that I am.

Since Butler’s journalism program is fairly small, I was eager to work with students from other universities and backgrounds. Sadly, I never got to actually meet the other fellows I worked with every day, but we’re planning to meet up once it’s safer to travel!

The topic of our reporting—the juvenile justice system—was very interesting to me, too. It seemed like an often-neglected aspect of this country’s criminal justice and law and order systems. Especially given the national conversation this summer surrounding racial equality and police brutality, this topic felt even more important to cover.

I was also excited to be under the mentorship of veteran investigative reporters and editors, some of whom have won Pulitzer Prizes and produced many of this country’s most compelling investigative pieces in recent history.


What have been the main things you've learned from this experience?

When it comes to working from home, I’ve learned how to focus and manage my time well, by creating a healthy work-life balance.

When it comes to journalism, I’ve learned that it’s always possible to dig deeper and find out something new, even if it seems like every possible question has already been asked or every resource has been used. We were tasked with completing a national investigative project—including dozens of videos, longform stories, graphics, and illustrations—while working completely virtually. While this wasn’t an ideal experience for anyone in News21, we still completed the project successfully in these difficult and unfortunate circumstances.


Do you have plans for what you'll be doing next, now that you've wrapped up the fellowship?

I’ll be working for The Christian Science Monitor this fall. I interned there two summers ago and loved the experience of working for a global news organization, so I’m looking forward to working there again.


Read more about the 2020 News21 project here, and be on the lookout for Grow’s stories that will be published in the coming weeks.

Sorell Grow ’20
Experiential Learning

Q&A with Sorell Grow ’20, Butler’s First News21 Fellow

The recent Journalism & Spanish grad spent her summer reporting on the U.S. juvenile justice system

Aug 04 2020 Read more

Butler Alum Serves Community as Clothing Brand CEO—Among Other Roles

By Grace Gordon ’23

Nick Fox ’17 was riding a hoverboard around the Butler University campus when he first met Zach Finn, a Clinical Professor of Risk Management & Insurance. Finn sparked a conversation about the logistics and legal implications of hoverboards, and that discussion launched a relationship between Fox and Finn that would become a fundamental part of Fox’s career path.

Fox was a student in Butler’s Exploratory Business program, and as a first-semester junior, he had yet to choose a major. He thought he might want to study law after graduation—an interest sparked through years of watching Law and Order and discussing mock cases with his dad—but Finn encouraged Fox to consider a major in Risk Management & Insurance. Finn said the field involved all the things Fox found most interesting about law, including the need to think analytically. After learning more about the field during his Real Business Experience class, Fox has completed a degree in Risk Management, discovered his passion, and even started his own business.

After graduating from Butler in 2017, Fox moved back home to Chicago and ended up using the analytical and business skills he learned at Butler to become a financial advisor on social media. He created a “MoneyTalkMonday” series, which he uses to help others with their financial questions. He also started working as a risk analyst at Marsh & McLennan, where he has now moved on to serve as a consultant on the Emerging Risks team. All of these roles have allowed him to apply his expertise in ways that empower members of his community.

By the summer of 2019, he had started looking for other ways to build connections with the people of Chicago. He saw opportunities for bringing people together through one of his other passions outside the worlds of finance and risk management: shoes and streetwear.

So, alongside his brother and a friend, Fox launched the clothing brand Gratitude Chicago. The business aims to do more than sell clothes—Fox wants to help change his community’s mindset, encouraging audiences to focus on the things they are grateful for.

“No matter where you come from, where you are going, or where you have been, everyone is grateful for something, and that feeling connects us,” Nick says.

Through a variety of campaigns, Gratitude Chicago encourages people to recognize those in their lives who have helped them get where they are today. Some recent campaigns included the Juneteenth-inspired “Last Generation” project, which raised $5,000 for nonprofit groups Bridging the Gap Globally and Color of Change. Another campaign, “Gift of Gratitude,” focused on helping people discover what gratitude means to them.

For Fox, gratitude means cherishing his family, who instilled in him the desire to have a strong work ethic and to make a difference in any way he can—even if that means pursuing all his passions and holding simultaneous jobs in unrelated fields. (This year, he added on the role of co-leading the Entrepreneurship pillar of ThinkTank, a non-profit organization that works to accelerate economic growth for Black communities in the U.S.) He also appreciates the opportunities that have put him where he is today, many of which he found at Butler. And he’s especially grateful for the mentors, including Professor Finn, who have helped him on his winding path from aspiring lawyer, to financial advisor, to risk analyst, to community-focused CEO.

Nick Fox '17
Alumni Success

Butler Alum Serves Community as Clothing Brand CEO—Among Other Roles

After graduating from the Lacy School of Business, Nick Fox ’17 has applied his skills toward empowering others in any way he can