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Arts & Culture

Aaron Hurt Appointed Executive Director of Butler Arts Center

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Jan 14 2019

To know Aaron Hurt is to understand the way he proposed handling his office décor. After moving into his new space tucked away in a corner on the third floor of Clowes Hall, he was stuck on figuring out ways to dismantle the big screen television fixed to his wall and mount it on a rolling device that the entire Butler Arts Center staff could benefit from. He hypothesized different ways to turn the space into a conference room, saying it was much too large for just himself. And he was concerned that the colors weren’t welcoming enough. In the end, none of these changes were made.

But Hurt did insist on one request.

Donald Hurt's paycheck from 1963
Donald Hurt' on payroll from 1963.

He came across a 1963 art deco painting of opening night at Clowes Memorial Hall. He loves art deco work, but it was about much more than just the style. Hurt’s grandfather was there that night in 1963. Donald Hurt was a member of the projectionist union, and when Clowes was ready to open, he was called to help get the stage ready. He hung the original main curtain and worked the first few shows.

“It’s really bonkers,” Hurt says, as he looks up at the painting on his office wall. “To think that my grandfather was hanging the curtain that night, and now I am sitting in this office working here. It’s really not something I take for granted, and we are going to be hands on and inclusive in how we put our stamp on Butler and the greater community.”

Hurt was officially named Executive Director of the Butler Arts Center on January 1, 2019 after serving as interim executive director since August 2018. But this is a role that, in many ways Hurt has been working toward since he was a little boy, and a role that means so much to so many in his extended family.

“This was in his blood and you can just tell by his enthusiasm that he was born to do this,” President James Danko says. “With Aaron, you can hear his passion when he speaks, and when you hear about his family, it is obvious where that comes from.”

Three years after Hurt’s grandfather hung the first curtain at Clowes Hall, his father, Daniel, hopped on his moped at age 16 and headed from the Eastside of Indianapolis to Clowes for his first ever job, sweeping the floors and holding ladders. Daniel would go on to work at Clowes Hall many times over the years. He also worked the beloved summer theater series on the football field.

Aaron was born into a family of projectionists. He was exposed to film, the arts, and theater from a young age, and often went with his father to work. But he first remembers Clowes Hall when he saw his sister, an opera singer, perform there.

“Butler has been a part of our lives for years and for Aaron, this is a scene he has been around since he was in diapers,” Daniel says. “Aaron would come with us to his sister’s performances and practices. It is pretty amazing when you think about it because the connection goes all the way back to my father hanging that curtain. Aaron grew up on this. We are all tied to Butler and Clowes.”

Hurt wanted to run a venue for as long as he can remember, he says. As an arts administration major at Butler, he learned that he could make a career out of running the programming and operations of a place. After graduating in 2008, Hurt worked for the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, the Chicago Children’s Choir, and then made his way back to Butler in 2013, as part-time manager of the Schrott Center. He became full-time later that year, serving as the operations manager. In 2016, after the Butler Arts Center was established, Hurt was promoted to Director of Operations.

He took over as interim Executive Director of the Butler Arts Center in August 2018. When Danko was evaluating what to do about the permanent executive director position, the positive feedback about Hurt was overwhelming.

“Aaron’s passion and enthusiasm for this type of role, coupled with the extraordinary esteem he is held in made him far and away the optimal choice for this position,” Danko says. “I am very excited about him and his potential. It is like an NFL team looking for that young coach who will be a star in 20 years.”

So now, Hurt will work to put his stamp on the place that has been a major part of his and his family’s lives for so long. Something that he called both terrifying and incredible. The goals are numerous.

Donald Hurt backstage at Clowes Memorial Hall
Donald Hurt backstage at Clowes Memorial Hall

Hurt has four major focuses—find new ways to make money, form better partnerships, engage more with the Indianapolis market, and create improved University programming. But, he says, it really does come down to one thing.

The goal is to make the Butler Arts Center an authentic hub for arts programming for all different communities in town. For example, next season, ticket prices will start at $19. This adjustment, he says, is a way to make shows more accessible for a much wider group.

“I want us to be known as open and inviting. I want people to leave happy and to have experienced something they couldn’t have experienced anywhere else in the city,” Hurt says. “That is what Clowes originally was when it started.”

And Hurt would know. He grew up learning about Clowes and hearing about Clowes from a grandfather and father who were there from the beginning. Now, Hurt is ready to take Clowes back to that original model—collaborative and inviting. Just the way he likes his office décor.

Arts & Culture

Aaron Hurt Appointed Executive Director of Butler Arts Center

  A job more than his lifetime in the making.

Jan 14 2019 Read more

Learn more about Andre and Julia Lacy

Andre B. Lacy, the man for whom Butler’s Lacy School of Business is named, was Chairman of the Board of Indianapolis-based LDI, Ltd (Lacy Diversified Industries) and a Senior Advisor to the Lacy School of Business.

Lacy, a graduate of Dennison University, started his career at LDI’s founding enterprise, U.S. Corrugated Fibre-Box, where he worked his way through the corporate ranks. Following the sale of U.S. Corrugated, he was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of the newly created Lacy Diversified Industries, the holding company that would become LDI.

He was elected CEO of LDI in 1983 and Chairman of the Board in 1991. He remained Chairman following his retirement from LDI in 2006.

A strong advocate of civic progress, especially economic development, agriculture, and education, Lacy was co-chair of the Cultural Trail fundraising committee and a co-creator of Conexus. In 2009, Governor Mitch Daniels appointed Lacy chairman of the Indiana State Fair Commission, a role in which he remained in until his death. As commission chair, he was a driving force behind the State Fair Coliseum restoration.

Lacy provided leadership for many boards, including the United Way of Central Indiana, Indianapolis 500 Festival, Indianapolis Public School Board, and Economic Club of Indianapolis. He served as an advisor for the Lacy School of Business at Butler University. He was also an alumnus of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series (SKL) and served as moderator of Class XV.

In addition to his civic contributions, Lacy was active on numerous corporate boards, including Hulman & Company, Herff Jones, Patterson Companies, Inc., Ethyl Corporation, National Bank of Indianapolis, and Indianapolis Power & Light Company. He is past chairman of the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce and the chairman of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.

Governors Roger Branigan, Robert Orr, and Mitch Daniels each recognized Lacy as a Sagamore of the Wabash.

In April 2016, Lacy and his wife, Julia, made a transformational gift to Butler University, donating $25 million. The University named the business school in his honor.

"Butler has long been an excellent school and an anchor to the Indianapolis and Central Indiana community," he said at the time. "But in the last five years, under President Danko’s leadership, I have seen Butler grow into a national player, especially when it comes to the University’s focus on innovation, experiential learning, and outcomes.”

Lacy worked with Butler for more than a decade, serving on the Butler Business Consulting Group Advisory Panel and endowing a student scholarship within the School of Business. He saw his role at Butler as an opportunity to pass down what he had learned.

“The adviser role,” he said, “provides that opportunity to share, mentor, and help students see that prospering an entity is bigger than any one individual—and it gives back exponentially to the communities where they live. That’s a desire we see in this generation—to be part of something bigger than themselves, and to be on the ground floor of establishing something that has meaning and value.”

Working with Butler faculty and administration, Lacy helped the School of Business build upon its signature experiential approach to teaching and learning, and expand its focus on closely held businesses.

“Butler’s business program presents two main points of value proposition for the student that differentiate it from Kelley, Krannert, Harvard, and the like,” he said. “The first is focusing on closely held businesses—meaning small businesses and family-owned businesses—which drive the nation’s economy and make up 90 percent of Indiana’s business sector. The second is giving students the real-world experience of working directly with local businesses, seeing first-hand the challenges they face, and learning the art and science of developing and selling solutions that have real value in the business market.”

On Thursday, November 30, 2017, Lacy, an avid motorcyclist, was killed in a single-rider accident while on a private motorcycle tour in southern Africa.

“Andre and Julia Lacy will be remembered in perpetuity for their transformational gift to name the Lacy School of Business," said Steve Standifird, Dean of the Lacy School of Business. "For those of us that had the good fortune of working with Andre as Senior Advisor for the school, he will be remembered as someone who cared deeply for the success of the school and of our students."

Giving

Learn more about Andre and Julia Lacy

In April 2016, Lacy and his wife, Julia, made a transformational gift to Butler University, donating $25 million.

Butler Blue III: A Dog with a Nose for Service

By Sarah Bahr

Hoops

Butler Blue III’s best moment was also his worst.

When Butler University’s then 3-year-old bulldog mascot threw up on the court at Madison Square Garden before a 2015 Big East men’s basketball tournament loss to Xavier, it brought him national notoriety. 

Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, and The Washington Post all poked fun at the pint-sized puker, but Blue III, also known as Trip, took to Twitter to rally the troops.

“Puke and rally. Give me some water. I’ve got a #BIGEASTTourney game to win. #GoDawgs,” Michael Kaltenmark, Trip’s caretaker and Butler’s Director of External Relations, tweeted on his behalf.

Kaltenmark says the 65-pound bulldog, who typically paces the Butler sidelines during most men’s football and basketball games, lapping up popcorn, head pats, and praise, was overwhelmed by the moment.

“He goes hard,” Kaltenmark says, “which sometimes equates to him getting overheated and overexcited.”

But, tongue lolling and tail wagging, Trip quickly recovered—and shot Butler into the national spotlight.

“Vomiting on the court at Madison Square Garden might be the best thing he ever did publicity-wise,” Kaltenmark said. “He has so much heart.”

On and off the court.

 

Hospital

It isn’t hard to imagine the utility of a floppy-eared, doe-eyed, Pikachu costume-clad bulldog skidding down a hospital hallway for cheering up a patient.

As a member of the Eskenazi Hospital pet therapy team, Trip visits patients at the downtown Indianapolis campus once a month.

“He’s gentle and patient,” Kaltenmark says. “He acts like he was raised as a therapy dog.”

In addition to raising the spirits of hospital residents, Kaltenmark says Trip receives numerous requests for charity event appearances at schools and businesses — “none of which we really turn down,” he says.

Kaltenmark and Trip head to elementary school classrooms to read Blue's children’s book, Good Boy, Blue!, and stop by Gleaners Food Bank, where they help sort donations.

But Trip—and Kaltenmark’s—favorite community initiative might be the Butler acceptance letters the duo deliver to admitted students’ doors.

The two cruise the city in Trip’s “Blue Mobile,” a white Ford Transit covered in decals of Trip’s face that sports a “Blue 3” license plate. Kaltenmark and Trip have taken the van all over the country, from Butler men’s basketball games in Florida to frozen custard runs at Kopp’s Frozen Custard in Milwaukee.

They’ve been making the doorstep visits to admitted students since 2014, logging about 100 visits annually, October through March, Kaltenmark says.

Most of the visits happen in greater Indianapolis, including one earlier this fall to a senior from North Central High School, Tatum Parker, who beat cancer—twice—and then started a foundation that has delivered more than 3,500 game-and-goodie-stuffed backpacks to kids with cancer.

Special visits to students like Parker stand out, Kaltenmark says. 

“Any time you can make a kid cry, those are good,” he says. “When he or she is so excited about getting in to Butler that they’re moved to tears.”

 

Hashtags

In addition to his charity and community work, Trip has a loyal following of virtual fans who track his every bark on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Kaltenmark posts daily updates on Twitter, where Trip’s more than 31,000 followers like and laugh about photos, videos, and GIFs of the bulldog lapping up ice cream, wading through a ball pit, and posing with Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

Unlike in real life, in which Kaltenmark says Trip is “sort of a diva” who’s a bit select about who he’ll associate with, he has legions of canine friends on social media, including the governor’s dog, Henry Holcomb, and fellow mascots like Yale’s Handsome Dan and the University of Redlands’ first female bulldog mascot, Addie, who Kaltenmark says is Trip’s “girlfriend.”

But Trip doesn’t just lap up the likes: Kaltenmark uses social media as a force for good.

When Trip celebrated his seventh birthday December 23, a Twitter campaign encouraging people to donate non-perishable food items to Gleaners Food Pantry at the December 21 men’s basketball game netted six full bins of donations and $200 in cash.

And Trip’s Twitter updates allow followers a glimpse of his home life when he isn’t pounding the paint, from bathtime to balloon-popping to standing guard over one of Kaltenmark’s sick sons, asleep on the couch under a Star Wars blanket with a bulldog atop his back.

 

Home

Kaltenmark began caring for Butler’s second live mascot of the modern era, Blue II, in 2004. After donning the Butler mascot suit as an undergraduate, the Butler alum (‘02) knew he was ready for the real thing.

“My wife and I knew when we got married that we wanted to get a bulldog,” Kaltenmark says. “I just didn’t know we would get THE bulldog.”

After the 9-year-old Blue II, whom ESPN called the “undisputed star” of Butler basketball, died of congestive heart failure in 2013, Trip stepped into the role and became Blue III.

Kaltenmark says he wouldn’t be surprised if, between Butler basketball and football games, hospital visits, doorstep deliveries, charity events, and award dinners, Trip clocked 365 appearances per year.

“You name it, he goes to it,” Kaltenmark says. “And he has an outfit for everything.”

Blue III’s wardrobe is comprised of tuxedos, jerseys, white coats, and two overflowing tubs of Halloween costumes, including sushi roll and hot-dog getups (“I wish Halloween was more than one day a year,” Kaltenmark says).

Being the personal assistant for a bulldog takes more time than you’d think.

“It’s a lot to juggle,” Kaltenmark says. “I wish there were three of me. But it doesn’t feel like work because I love all the things I do.”

Trip has had the chance to meet T-Pain, Kesha, John Green, and Jay Leno, and has traveled to New York City, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, and a bevy of other Midwest cities. He counts Hogsett, Andrew Luck, and Gordon Hayward as fans. 

But humble? That’s one word Kaltenmark wouldn’t use to describe his diva dog.

“He thinks it’s all for him,” Kaltenmark says. “The plane he sometimes travels with the basketball team on, the applause [at games] … ”

Of course, it doesn’t help that Trip has a personal van with his face plastered on it, or that the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame sells a $650 life-size bobblehead of the bulldog, or that he’s been featured on NBC Nightly News, or that he’s photographed more often than a fashion model.

“It is exhausting being this beautiful,” the caption on a Twitter photo of him lying on his back in his bed reads.

But, at the end of the day, he’s all about simple pleasures. Give him a cardboard box to crawl into, a bag of popcorn to snarf, or a hospital patient to hug, and he’s a happy-go-lucky pooch.

“I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. #GoDawgs,” he tweeted Dec. 5.

If he hadn’t hit the character limit, he might still be writing.

  

Trip in a tux
Unleashed

Butler Blue III: A Dog with a Nose for Service

Butler's live mascot, a.k.a. Trip, spreads love (and drool) wherever he goes. 

Joey Brunk: A Big Man with a Big Heart

By Sarah Bahr

JO-EY! JO-EY!

Twenty-one-year-old Butler men’s basketball center Joey Brunk has just checked into the game, and the cheers from the 9,100 fans packing Hinkle Fieldhouse are thunderous.

"He’s so likeable that people cheer like crazy just when he enters the game,” Butler Associate Athletic Director John Dedman says. “Luckily Nate [Fowler] understands that fans aren’t cheering that he is going to the bench.”

Brunk pushes a soft, loose wave of what Twitter users have called the “golden mane” and “the best hair in college basketball” away from his face, a grin peeking through his Matthew McConaughey-inspired beard and mustache, and steps to the line. Swishes the free throw.

Tonight, he can’t miss.

An hour later, he walks off the court, through the locker room …

… and heads back to his dorm, where he’ll strip off his size-17 sneakers, maybe read some poetry or a JFK biography (“He’s my favorite president”) before curling his 6-11 frame into a bed not made for a man who could nearly stand head to head with a small adult elephant.

In the morning, it’ll be time to teach poetry to second-graders.

 

In a Class of His Own

Brunk, an Elementary Education major and aspiring teacher, spent last semester student teaching in a second-grade class at the Butler University Laboratory School on Wednesdays.

His first full-class lesson was an introduction to emotion poetry.

“I was a little worried they might come in with negative attitudes, but they enjoyed it,” Brunk says. “I had them read a poem and then act out different emotions—I was the photographer, and everyone else was an actor.”

“It got lots of laughs.”

Brunk says there aren’t a lot of men in elementary education—last semester, he was one of only two guys in his elementary-education class.

“The kids thought it was cool that I was a guy teaching them,” he says. “I tried to be cool, whether it was talking ESPN, last night’s NBA games, or SportsCenter highlights.”

But as he rests his fist on his chin in a pose reminiscent of Rodin’s The Thinker sculpture, the mid-morning sunlight streaming into Hinkle Fieldhouse streaking his wavy hair, it isn’t hard to believe the hard-charging center whom Butler Director of Basketball Operations Brandon Crone calls a “gentle giant” is a poetry aficionado.

“He’s so patient,” Crone says. “He just has a presence. I have a 3-year-old son, and Joey’s always one of the first to give him high fives and hugs in the locker room.”

No one in Brunk’s immediate family is a teacher, but after volunteering in a fifth-grade class at Southport Elementary School a few days per week his senior year of high school, he was sold.

“I wanted the kids to be able to have a positive role model,” he says.

It’s a role Brunk also tries to play for his younger brother, Johnny, a sophomore guard at Roncalli High School, about 20 minutes south of Butler.

Being able to stay close to Johnny was one of the reasons Brunk, a four-star prospect out of Southport in 2016, chose Butler over offers from a bevy of Big Ten schools, including Indiana and Purdue.

“I went to Butler so I could see my brother play,” Brunk says. “I grew up in a family where everyone was at everyone else’s stuff.”

Which meant his Friday nights were never exactly, umm, wild.

“I was expected to be at every one of my brother’s Little League games and practices,” Brunk says. “And he attended all my practices and workouts.”

But supporting his younger brother has never been a chore for the Butler big man.

“He was there to support me, so I want to support him,” Brunk says.

Family first.

So it was never a question for Brunk to forego the remainder of his first-year season to spend time with his dad after Joe Brunk was diagnosed with brain cancer in November 2016.

 

His Biggest Fan

Brunk has been to the Indianapolis Zoo no fewer than 500 times.

He would go with his family once or twice a week from age 2 on, always wanting to look at the same things—the lions, tigers, and his current favorite animal, the red panda. And the animal-lover also says his parents enabled a fearsome Zoobooks addiction.

“They paid for a monthly subscription, and it went on so long that I’d have three copies of the exact same issue,” he says.

He honors his dad by visiting a local zoo with Butler play-by-play radio announcer Mark Minner whenever the team travels for a tournament. It’s a way for Brunk to keep his hero with him.

Brunk and his dad, a two-time NAIA All-American at Hanover College, bonded over basketball from the beginning. They attended games at Hinkle Fieldhouse together, and Joe Brunk was his son’s first AAU coach.

“He was my biggest critic—and my biggest fan,” Joey Brunk says.

His dad would pick him up from middle school every day and drive him to the gym for workouts, a dedication that paid off when Brunk was a Top 100 recruit and one of the three finalists for the statewide IndyStar Mr. Basketball award as a high school senior.

“There were lots of mornings when—God bless both my parents—they’d get up at 5:30 AM to drive me to the high school for a workout,” Joey Brunk says. “My dad would rebound for me, and my mom would pack me breakfast, lunch, and something for the way home from school so I could eat again before going to the gym.”

Joe Brunk was there to watch Joey’s Southport team beat Ben Davis 60-57 for the sectional championship during Brunk’s senior year—and Joey hoped he’d one day get to watch Butler win an NCAA Championship.

Then, in November 2016, his dad was hospitalized while visiting friends in Las Vegas.

“It was completely unexpected,” Joey Brunk says. “I flew to Nevada right away.”

The diagnosis? A brain tumor.

Brunk stayed at his dad’s side in Southport for the next six months, foregoing the remainder of his first-year season to spend the last moments of his dad’s life with his hero.

“We laughed; we cried; we told stories,” Joey Brunk says. “There was never any dead airspace.”

Joe Brunk died April 15, 2017, at age 56.

But, true to his dad’s mantra of living with passion, Brunk made a vow: He wouldn’t be depressed.

He’d be the Energizer Bunny.

 

Butler’s Energizer Bunny

Drop in on a Hinkle Fieldhouse practice, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a happier guy than Brunk. He wears his dad’s No. 50 jersey, another reminder of the man who helped him achieve his dream of playing Division I basketball.

Brunk doubled down on his dedication to the sport this summer, using the offseason to transform his body with as many as four workouts each day, ranging from hot yoga to shooting with his brother at Roncalli. He dropped 10 pounds, from 240 to 230, and increased his maximum bench press from 230 to 260 pounds.

And it’s paid off: He’s averaging 8.6 points per game this season, compared to last year’s 1.3. His average rebounds per game are up to 4.4 from 1.8. And his average minutes per game have quadrupled, from five to 20.

The NCAA granted Brunk an additional season, awarding him a hardship waiver for his first year, as he only played in seven games before stepping away to be with his dad. That means he’s a redshirt sophomore this season, with two years of eligibility remaining.

Crone says that, despite his dad’s death, nothing about Brunk’s personality has changed.

“He’s the same Joey I’ve known for five years,” he says. “He’s the Energizer Bunny in the locker room.”

“Dad and I always talked about living your life in a way that you’re excited to wake up,” Joey Brunk says. “There are lots of people who would die to be in this position.”

Joey Brunk
UnleashedStudent Life

Joey Brunk: A Big Man with a Big Heart

The Butler Men's Basketball center is dedicated to achieving his dream and helping others do the same. 

Katie Pfaff: A Small-Town Success Story

By Sarah Bahr

They were beautiful, those tiaraed Indy 500 Festival princesses in black-and-white sashes, visiting a Lewisville elementary school in a small, rural Indiana farm community more than a decade ago. They inspired a mesmerized Katie Pfaff to dream of one day donning a crown herself.

Though the 21-year-old Butler University senior’s big dreams would take her 60 miles west of the farm where she grew up—more on that in a minute—she’s always had a soft spot for driving down a backroad with no destination in sight, or digging into a slice of the apple-crumb pie her grandma would make her each April 25 because she didn’t like birthday cake.

Small-town life was comforting. There were euchre games with dozens of cousins around the fire on Friday nights, tractor rides through the rustling corn under the fading pinks and purples of an August Indiana sunset. The breeze tickled her hair as she clutched her brother’s back, looking up at the stars in wide, open spaces with no skyscrapers to fill them.

Her graduating class had 60 people in it, in a town of 366.

When both grandparents died on the same day before Christmas one year, her family didn’t cook for a week—her neighbors kept ringing the doorbell with plates of chicken and spaghetti. Their driveway was cleared of snow by an unseen phantom, as though someone had poured hot lava on the white mass and left a sparkling drive.

But Pfaff wasn’t content to accept the charity of others—she was ready to repay it.

 

A Gathering Place

Pfaff, her parents, and her older twin brothers Tyler and Tom started their own business her sophomore year of high school; a Lewisville wedding and event venue known as The Gathering. They converted an old church into a place to celebrate marriages, birthdays, and Christmas—anything that would bring people together.

But when Pfaff went off to college at Butler, some in her hometown thought she’d never come back. She’d become a city girl, forsaking her farm roots. Her role in the family business would be toast.

At first, it looked like they were right.

The minute Pfaff stepped on the Butler campus, the senior Strategic Communication and Human Communication & Organizational Leadership double major was smitten with the big-city school’s small-town feel.

“I don’t know everyone on campus, but it takes no more than a five-second conversation while getting coffee for someone to not feel like a stranger anymore,” she says. 

But all the opportunities could be overwhelming for someone who’d always wanted to do everything.

Her Ethics professor noticed her stress and offered to buy her coffee at the campus Starbucks last spring. But when she walked into class, setting her cup on the table, someone bumped into it, and her drink hit the deck.

“I was paralyzed,” she says. “But Professor Norris waited until everyone had left, bought me another cup of coffee, and sat down for an hour to talk about what I was feeling. He just wanted to know how he could make my day better.”

It was that conversation with Norris, she says, that inspired her to take on a leadership role with Butler’s BUBeWell initiative last spring, a program designed to keep stressed-out students sane while cultivating their mental, physical, and social wellbeing.

Going to Butler was a big adjustment for a small-town girl. She’d come across more people in a single day of walking across campus than she’d meet in an entire year in Lewisville. She missed her mom’s bacon-wrapped water chestnuts; Friday nights around the fire with her parents and brothers, biting into slices of ooey, gooey cheese pizza.

Then she realized: She needed structure.

She set a “golden rule” for herself: She’d be in bed by midnight every evening, no matter whether it was Tuesday or Saturday.

She joined a sorority and found friends like her roommate of two years, 21-year-old Butler pharmacy student Chloe Sandman, who also grew up in a small town and shares Pfaff’s love of ice cream and Hallmark movies.

Now that she was secure in herself, it was time to begin giving back. To the parents who invested in her. To the school that sculpted her.

To the town that raised her.

 

A Royal Coronation

But first, let’s talk about the 178-page paper she just finished writing. Not by herself, of course. The assignment was an eight-person group project for her senior communication capstone class. But 25 pages of that behemoth were hers.

It was that commitment to academics that propelled her to princesshood.

She was chosen as one of 33 Indianapolis 500 Festival princesses in spring 2018 out of a field of more than 2,000 women—just over 33 times the size of her high school graduating class.

Her days sometimes started as early as 3 AM and ended as late as 1 AM (sorry, “golden rule”). She could work as many as three events in a day.

“I spent countless hours doing community outreach in nursing homes and elementary schools,” she says.

But Pfaff’s internship advisor, Butler Communication professor Scott Bridge, says Pfaff has never been one to court recognition for her accomplishments.

“She doesn’t try to draw attention to herself,” he says. “But she does things so well that she can’t help it.”   

Pfaff is still involved in The Gathering’s operations in her hometown, from running social media to answering calls between classes, and coming home on weekends and breaks to help out. She’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the college ambitions of children in her community through an internship with her hometown scholarship foundation.

And when Cindy Oler, a Lewisville dance instructor who taught Pfaff for 13 years, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, Pfaff choreographed a sign-language routine to the song “Blessings” by Laura Story and taught it to Oler’s dance troupe.

“The movements are simple, pure, and so beautiful,” Oler says. “We now teach it every year, invoking the name of the kind and loving heart that created the piece.”

But as soon as she got the call last February that she would be a 500 Festival princess, she knew there was one more thing she had to do.

 

Full Circle

The gleaming blue Chevy rolled up in front of the Lewisville school last May, dozens of eyeballs glued to the 2018 Indianapolis 500 pace car’s star-studded chrome wheels.

Pfaff and several other princesses brought the glitz and glamour of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” to Henry County, and Pfaff even got to wave the checkered flag at the end of the school’s tricycle race she’d pedaled in as a kid.

“It meant everything to me,” Pfaff says.

Being a princess comes with crazy hours—one 3 AM Mini Marathon wakeup call came after she’d stayed up past midnight the night before to finish a final paper—but she always keeps things in perspective.

“So many people would love to be where I am,” she says.

She’s one of Butler’s Top 100 students, a Chapman Champion Award recipient for her exemplary service to the University, and a soon-to-be intern with Indy Hub, an Indianapolis nonprofit designed to help the city attract and retain young professionals.

But most meaningful to her?

The smiles on those little Lewisville boys’ and girls’ faces.

UnleashedStudent Life

Katie Pfaff: A Small-Town Success Story

From rural Indiana to a princess, Katie's journey has always been focused on helping others. 

Maria De Leon: A Lifelong Activist

By Sarah Bahr

Twelve-year-old Maria De Leon was on the phone with a doctor 40 years her senior.

She was translating a pain-pill prescription from English for her Spanish-speaking parents—but struggling with unfamiliar words like ‘hydrocodone’ and ‘acetaminophen.’

The language is rife with false cognates; each an opportunity for disaster.

‘Intoxicado’ doesn’t mean intoxicated, but ingested. ‘Embarazada’ means not embarrassed, but pregnant.

“That was something my parents didn’t understand,” she says. “Even though I do know English, I don’t know all the words.”

She would translate insurance claims, doctor’s appointments, sometimes even conversations with lawyers.

It was challenging, she says—her parents, who moved to the United States from Guatemala before she was born and have the equivalent of elementary-school educations, don’t speak enough English “to survive,” in her words.

Which meant that in high school, she was on her own to navigate the FAFSA, scholarships, SAT, and college application process.

But she didn’t end up a dropout.

She graduated salutatorian.

And won a full-tuition scholarship to any college in Indiana.

 

“Will Getting Arrested Keep me From Attending Butler?”

Except she almost didn’t.

Butler admission counselor Whitney Ramsay’s phone buzzed one morning last winter.

Will getting arrested keep me from attending Butler?

De Leon, then a senior in high school, was planning to participate in a sit-in protest in Washington, D.C. in January to lobby senators to approve a “clean” Dream Act, or one that creates a pathway to citizenship for immigrants without adding additional stipulations.

Would being arrested for civil disobedience, she wanted to know, affect her eligibility to attend Butler—and her Lilly scholarship?

Ramsay talked to her supervisor: De Leon’s admission decision wouldn’t automatically be rescinded, but any disciplinary infraction would be reviewed by a committee. (Butler later issued a statement reading: “Applicants to Butler University who respectfully engage in meaningful and authentic discourse regarding important issues within our society will not be penalized in the admission process”).

“I told her to be safe, be smart, and listen to her gut,” Ramsay says.

De Leon ultimately decided to stop short of being arrested—though some of her fellow protesters were.

“I felt like me going and protesting was enough at that moment,” she says.

De Leon’s passion for civic engagement started at Crispus Attucks High School on the northwest side of Indianapolis. She was a community ambassador for the Central Indiana Community Foundation, researching Indianapolis’ Hispanic and Latino communities to discover their biggest challenges. She interviewed student DACA recipients, as well as police officers who worked in the Hispanic community.

She also volunteered with the Domestic Violence Youth Network and became a leader of Crispus Attucks’ NO MORE Club, which raises awareness of teen dating violence and sexual assault.

But De Leon wanted to do more than just join a club. Why, she wondered, did Indianapolis Public Schools not have a teen dating violence prevention and response policy?

According to a 2017 Indiana Youth Institute Report, one in eight high school students said they had been “forced to do sexual things they did not want to do by someone they were dating or going out with.” That’s higher than the one in 10 national average.

De Leon worked with Lindsay Stawick, the Youth Program Manager at the Domestic Violence Network, and three other students to draft a policy. It took eight months.

When the policy was enacted at IPS schools this fall, it was the first teen dating violence prevention and response policy in Indianapolis, Stawick says. It holds school staff accountable for preventing abusive behavior and punishes students who participate in it. It also mandates training for teachers and places a teen dating abuse advocate in every IPS school. 

That policy was possibly De Leon’s most significant achievement at Crispus Attucks, but she didn’t wait until her senior year to get involved with organizations she was passionate about.

She began volunteering at TeenWorks, an Indianapolis college-and-career readiness and youth employment nonprofit serving at-risk Marion County teens, her freshman year of high school.

TeenWorks President and CEO Tammie Barney says De Leon can reach the students in a way the adult volunteers can’t.

“It’s rare to see that level of boldness and leadership in such a young person,” Barney says. “She seizes the day to get the most out of every opportunity.”

Her go-getter attitude is one the reasons De Leon says Butler has been a perfect fit.

“I’ve learned that Indy is a city where if an opportunity isn’t there, you can create it,” she says.

 

A DIY Education

Just because her parents didn’t speak English doesn’t mean they weren’t her fiercest academic cheerleaders, De Leon says.

They accompanied her to the many college preparation programs she’d enrolled in as a show of support—even though they couldn’t understand what her instructors were saying.

When De Leon graduated from Crispus Attucks last spring—the first in her family to graduate high school—her parents, two younger brothers, and younger sister were all there to see her walk across the stage.

She gave the second half of her salutatorian speech in Spanish to honor her parents. She was proud to be a role model for her siblings, and the ear-to-ear smiles on her mom’s and dad’s faces said it all.

Her mom’s mantra growing up—and one that De Leon included in her personal statement for Butler—was that her daughter’s U.S. citizenship wouldn’t matter if she didn’t pursue an education.

So De Leon networked like her life depended on it in high school, printing professional business cards and job-shadowing mentors. She knocked out a semester’s worth of college credits from dual-credit courses before ever arriving on the Butler campus.

But sweetest of all?

A full-tuition, four-year Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, which 143 Indiana students from the state’s 92 counties receive each year. Scholars must be leaders, civically engaged, and academic all-stars—all boxes De Leon checked.

But she didn’t think she had a chance at the scholarship after she found out the valedictorian had also applied.

“We thought only one of us was going to get it,” De Leon says. “But then we both got it, which is crazy!”

 

Look Out, Joe Hogsett

When former first lady Michelle Obama spoke in Indianapolis last February, De Leon was in the audience. The quote that stuck with her?

“If there’s not a chair at the table, bring your own.”

That’s what De Leon is trying to do at Butler; The Political Science and Critical Communication & Media Studies double major recently established a Latino chapter of Butler’s Leading Women of Tomorrow initiative, a group focused on empowering women to seek public service careers. She applied to be vice president or secretary.

She was asked to serve as president.

And De Leon continues to volunteer with the organizations that triggered her passion for activism four years ago.

She’s a mentor with the Domestic Violence Youth Network, where she volunteers twice per month and during breaks, and she plans to continue to help with TeenWorks events this summer, from conducting mock interviews to providing resume advice.

De Leon’s goal is to work in politics after she graduates in 2022. She’d love to be the president of a youth-focused nonprofit organization like TeenWorks, but she’s also considering a run for mayor of Indianapolis.

Look out, Joe Hogsett.

Maria De Leon
UnleashedStudent Life

Maria De Leon: A Lifelong Activist

As a daughter, student, and mentor, first-year Maria De Leon works hard for herself and others. 

Making a Career of Building Diversity

by Marc D. Allan MFA '18

In her first three years at Butler University, Valerie Davidson created the Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series, GospelFest, and the annual Volunteer-Study Tour Service-Learning Experience, which lets students do volunteer work and tour a major U.S. city.

She accomplished all of this while only working  part-time at Butler.

After she became full time in 1989, Davidson helped more than triple the number of African-American students on campus and helped the Black Student Union become a significant presence among student groups.

She had a hand in developing both the Dr. John Morton-Finney Scholarship Program—named for the alumnus who earned 13 academic degrees, served as a Buffalo Soldier in the Spanish-American War, and was a practicing attorney at the time of his death at age 108—and the Multicultural Resource Center, the forerunner to the Efroymson Diversity Center, which opened in 2006 and is home to seven diversity student organizations.

She assisted in creation of the Voices of Deliverance Gospel Choir, expanded the diversity lecture series to partner with the Office of the Mayor of Indianapolis (as well as the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation and several prominent companies), and created or shepherded a long list of programs that made Butler a more welcoming environment for multicultural students.

But now, Davidson, Butler’s Director of Diversity Programs and Director of the Efroymson Diversity Center, is retiring. After 32 years at Butler, her last day is January 2.

"I didn't plan to be here 32 years," she said. "I just looked up and I'd been here 20 years, and then a few more years went by and in October of 2018 it was 32 years. Having been at the forefront of building diversity on campus, I can see how much we've progressed as an institution. And I'm proud of that. I can also see areas in which we continue to need to improve. Now it's time for somebody else to take things to the next level."

*

Davidson grew up a few miles from Butler, the daughter of a distinguished musician/music educator father (Larry Liggett, who recorded for the Chess Records label, and led the Indianapolis Public Schools Music Department) and a mother, Earline, who was his business manager and a licensed booking agent. Jazz greats Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, and Clark Terry were among the visitors to their home when she was a young girl.

She finished her undergraduate degree at IUPUI, where she studied to be a high school social studies teacher, and did her master's in student affairs administration at IU-Bloomington.

After graduation, she accepted a paid internship that turned into a full-time job with the Indiana House Democratic Caucus. She'd been there eight months when a classified ad in the Sunday Indianapolis Star caught her eye: Butler University was looking for a part-time coordinator of minority student affairs. The University wanted someone to provide support services for the minority student population and serve as advisor for the fledgling Black Student Union. All in 15-20 hours a week.

Davidson got the job—and kept her full-time gig with the legislature. She'd drive from the Statehouse downtown to Butler Monday through Friday at lunchtime and also work at night.

One of the first things she did was reach out to the minority student population, predominantly African-American students, and ask for a meeting.

"I needed to get to know them and figure out what they wanted and needed to see happen," she said. "I wanted to know what their experience had been and what I could do to support them, to create an environment in which they felt at home, in which they felt they could be successful, in which they felt valued and embraced, and see what they wanted to see happen."

One thing almost all of them wanted was a cultural center. That would take until 2006, when Lori Efroymson-Aguilera and the Efroymson Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation gave Butler $1 million to create the Efroymson Diversity Center.

In the meantime, Davidson kept building up the diversity lecture series—bringing ex-Presidents (Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush), secretaries of state (Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright) and other dignitaries to campus—and GospelFest, which grew from the Johnson Room (capacity 100) to Clowes Memorial Hall (2,100). The Volunteer-Study Tour Service-Learning Experience, which started as a one-day trip to Chicago with a small group, developed into an annual long-weekend-before-Thanksgiving trip to New Orleans.

Forty-six students took part this year.

*

What she'll miss most are the students.

"Students are like her second family," said Bobbie Gibson, who worked with Davidson from 2001–2018. "She came to work every day with a glad heart, and she always found the strength to come through for them."

Whether celebrating their achievements—like getting to sing backup for Stevie Wonder at Banker's Life Fieldhouse—or getting them through a rough patch, "Ms. Valerie," as she is known, is there.

"I've always tried to be as supportive as possible of students and their individual needs," she said, beginning to tell the story of a student who attempted suicide. After several days in the hospital, the girl was released and temporarily dismissed from the University. As the girl packed up her belongings to make the drive home, Davidson packed up her son, Jason, then in middle school, and they followed the girl back to the Chicago area to make sure she got home safely. (The story ends happily: The girl came back to Butler, graduated, and is healthy and successful.)

Davidson said her greatest achievement was helping change the culture for diverse students on campus.

"Most of the students on campus were pretty isolated and invisible when I got here," she said. "It was a polarized campus. There wasn't a lot of engagement between the various subpopulations on campus."

She helped the Black Student Union develop a strategic plan. Its numbers started to grow, and the organization developed a presence on campus. In 1992, the BSU won the Lamp of Wisdom Award for Most Outstanding Student Organization on campus for the first of eight consecutive years.

"I can remember watching the vice president of BSU walk up onstage and accept the award," Davidson said. "I had tears in my eyes. To see them go from this struggling, little, isolated organization to emerge as a leading organization on campus was one of the proudest moment that I had."

Khayleia Foy '19, President of the Black Student Union, said that even though Davidson has not officially been the organization's advisor since 2015, she "was a great support system for BSU whenever we needed her."

In addition, Foy said, Davidson's work in planning and running the pre-welcome week program Dawg Days has been invaluable because "without this program and the relationships that I have built over the years because of it, I may not still be a student at Butler."

*

When Davidson started at Butler full time in 1989, she planned to stay for five years. She'd hoped to accomplish a few things and then go back to government. But by that point, her son, Jason, was ready to go into high school, and he'd grown up around Butler, so she decided to stay.

Then he graduated from Park Tudor in 1997 and was admitted to Butler. She figured she'd stay around till after he graduated, then enter the job market. (Jason Davidson graduated in 2001 and is an instructor in the Lacy School of Business.)

Then Bobby Fong was named President in 2001, and "he came to Butler with a strong commitment to diversity." That fall, she was integral in getting Butler and the Mayor's Office to partner on presenting the diversity lecture series. Coretta Scott King was the first speaker in that partnership.

Then Butler made diversity a funding priority in its capital campaign and the diversity center, "a 20-year dream," became a reality. It also became vital to students—not only for meeting space but because of who ran it.

"The Diversity Center has been like a home for me for the past three and a half years," Foy said, "and it will not be the same without Ms. Valerie there. I will miss the support, advice, sacrifice, and genuine care that Ms. Valerie has shown for anyone (not just students) that has come through the Diversity Center over the years."

PeopleCampus

Making a Career of Building Diversity

"Having been at the forefront of building diversity on campus, I can see how much we've progressed."

Making a Career of Building Diversity

by Marc D. Allan MFA '18

Hinkle Magic in Unexpected Places

by Sally Perkins

As we celebrate 90 years of Hinkle, we asked professional storyteller and adjunct professor Sally Perkins to share a few stories from its illustrious history. Sally is the creator and performer of “Keeping Hinkle Hinkle,” a story commissioned by Storytelling Arts of Indiana and Indiana Landmarks in honor of Butler receiving the Cook Cup Award for its historically accurate restoration of Hinkle Fieldhouse in 2014.

* * *

What six-year-old wouldn’t want to see Hinkle’s center court from a bird’s eye view??

After all, from one of the 10 trusses that hold up the building, you could see so many “Hinkle Magic” moments: Bobby Plump’s famous last shot in the 1954 Milan High School championship game; the 1955/1956 Attucks High School back-to-back championship games; Butler’s buzzer beater win over Gonzaga in 2013; Butler’s upset win over Villanova in 2017.

And so many not-so-famous “Hinkle Magic” moments: when the women’s team had to fight for their fair share of court time in 1976; when a Butler cheerleader’s boyfriend proposed to her on the Bulldog on center court; when average fans and hundreds of their children got to play on the court, no questions asked, after basketball games.

So many “Hinkle Magic” moments have occurred on that legendary court. But “Hinkle Magic” moments have also occurred in other less expected spaces of the fieldhouse as well…

Up High

Tony HinkleCountless people can tell you they’ve run around that track on the second level of the fieldhouse. But not everyone can say that from that track they successfully distracted Tony Hinkle from his work.

Back in the 1920s, through the 1970s, when Tony Hinkle was the basketball coach … and the football coach … and the baseball coach … and the Athletic Director … and a teacher … he was un-distractible. After all, it takes a person of focus to manage all those roles.

But one day he got distracted.

In the 1930s, Tony Hinkle typically came to the fieldhouse on Sunday afternoons to review film from the previous day’s game. Often he brought his daughter Patty with him. She thought the fieldhouse was her private playground.

One particular Sunday when Patty was about 6-years-old, she roller skated up and down the ramps, got bored with that, then decided she wanted to see what center court looked like …  from a bird’s eye view.

So Patty went up to the track on the second level and started crawling up one of the trusses, getting herself half way to center court. That’s way up there.

Now every so often, Mr. Hinkle thought he should probably check up on his daughter Patty. So he started looking around the fieldhouse. When he couldn’t find Patty, he stepped into the arena.

Maybe he heard a sound; maybe he just moved his head the right way, but he looked up and there he saw his 6-year-old daughter, like a sloth crawling out to center court. Gulp.

Lucky for Patty, her father wasn’t, well, Bobby Knight. Mr. Hinkle knew that yelling at Patty would likely scare her to her death. So he called the fire department who raced over to the fieldhouse with a net.

But Patty thought to herself, “Eh, if I can get myself out here, I can get myself back.” So she started crawling backwards along the truss, sliding down its arc until she landed on her feet, on the track … right across from her father. Patty stared at her father’s feet.

They stood in silence for a long time.

Until finally Mr. Hinkle said, “You got guts, don’t ya, kid?”  

He never said another word. And he never told her mother. A secret “Hinkle Magic” moment Patty and her father shared for the rest of their lives.

But that wasn’t the only time something on that track distracted Tony Hinkle.

On Track

In 1946, Charlie McElfresh—a man who was tiny enough to be a horse jockey—came to the fieldhouse when Mr. Hinkle hired him to be his equipment manager. Frankly, it was a low-paying job, but Charlie knew it meant his kids could come to Butler tuition-free. So he took the job and spent the next 33 years of his life down in the bowels of the fieldhouse in the equipment cage, which isn’t so unlike a jail cell: crowded, dark, cramped … odorous.

But Charlie rather preferred life down there. He always had a 6-inch cigarette holder hanging out of his mouth as he washed and dried every football, basketball, and baseball uniform, game after game after game.

Now if you met Charlie, you might wonder if he liked the athletes. Or any humans, for that matter.

His rather crass nature was especially obvious one day in the 1970s when the men’s basketball team went to Omaha for a game against Creighton. On this rare occasion, Charlie got to travel with the team.

The coaches and Charlie stayed up a little too late on Friday night in Charlie’s room playing poker. The next morning, all the team members and coaches were gathered for breakfast in the hotel lobby as the players all stuffed themselves with scrambled eggs and bacon before the game. But Charlie was nowhere to be seen.

One of the players asked, “Where’s Charlie?”

Knowing how small Charlie McElfresh was, one of the tallest players on the team, John Dunn, joked, “Heh. Heh. Maybe he couldn’t figure out how to jump out of his bed this morning!”

They all laughed and hollered until John Dunn happened to turn around, and there he stood face-to-face (well, chest-to-face) with Charlie, who barked, “Wash your own damn clothes, Dunn.”

And John Dunn did have to wash his own clothes for the next three weeks until Charlie was ready to forgive him. Charlie was nobody’s servant down there in the equipment cage.

But Charlie McElfresh was looking out for those boys. Whenever he thought Mr. Hinkle’s practices had gone on too long or that Mr. Hinkle was being too tough on the boys, Charlie would put on a giant cowboy hat he had in his equipment cage. Then he’d hop onto an old banana seat bicycle that was hanging around in the fieldhouse. He’d ride that bicycle up the ramp to the second floor where he’d ride around and around the track, wearing that huge cowboy hat until everyone would look at him and laugh. Finally, Mr. Hinkle would say, “Alright, alright Charlie. I get it. I get it.” And practice would end.

So once again, the un-distractible Tony Hinkle was distracted by a “Hinkle Magic” moment on that track on the second floor.

Down Low

Charlie McElfreshThere are a lot of Charlie McElfresh “Hinkle Magic” moments. Most occurred away from public view, deep down in the equipment cage, in the depths of Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Back in 1976, when the United States was celebrating its bicentennial, Barry Collier was a student athlete at Butler, mourning the loss of his final basketball game his senior year. It was an away game. So when the team got back to Butler the bus pulled into the fieldhouse parking lot, and the boys were told to go turn in their uniforms.

The team members all trudged down, down, down to the equipment cage. Barry lingered behind the rest of the team. Finally, with his chin sagging to his chest, he tossed his uniform into the bin and took some melancholy steps out of the equipment cage.

Suddenly he heard a raspy voice behind him say, “Check the ice machine before ya leave.”

Barry spun around. “What? What, Charlie?”

CHECK THE ICE MACHINE BEFORE YA LEAVE,” Charlie growled.

“Uh, alright. Alright. Sure, Charlie.”

So Barry walked over and opened the refrigerator door. In the ice box sat a single item: a brown paper bag with a six-pack of Stroh’s beer.

Barry spun around to say, “thank-“ but Charlie was gone. He smiled, took out the six-pack, and went to find a fellow senior teammate to share it with.

A “Hinkle Magic” moment from Charlie McElfresh.

Four years after Barry Collier graduated, on a September Sunday in 1980, Charlie McElfresh was washing and drying football uniforms when he had a heart attack and died in that equipment cage. That cigarette holder hanging out of his mouth.

He wouldn’t have wanted to have been anyplace else.

Why? Because Hinkle Fieldhouse is filled with “Hinkle Magic.” If you look hard enough and listen to enough stories, you’ll find that magic not just on the court, but in the nooks and crannies, the bowels and cages, the tracks and bleachers … and mostly in the hearts of the people who dedicate their souls to one another in that special space we call Hinkle Fieldhouse.

PeopleCampus

Hinkle Magic in Unexpected Places

If these walls could talk…oh, the stories they would tell.

Keeping the #ButlerBound Secret

Jeff Stanich ’16

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, Blue III (a.k.a. Trip), Butler’s live mascot, surprises future (human) Bulldogs with their acceptance letters or scholarship announcements.

More often than not, such a big reveal is dependent upon the accepted students’ parents, who work behind the scenes with Butler to organize the surprise. We caught up with a few parents whose children had their acceptance letters paw-delivered by Trip to gain more insight on that moment and how their relationship with the university continued from there.

For Angela Buchman, she knows that getting the news directly from Trip could be one of the main factors in her son’s decision. Luke, now a high school senior, is still in the thick of his college-choosing process.

“If you saw Luke’s face, you saw how special that moment was, and how he’s continued to think about it,” she says. “In the last few years, he has really buckled down and worked hard at school, and Butler seemed to recognize that. It really vaulted Butler up his list.”

That’s right - Luke’s future as a bulldog is still up in the air. Some schools have his attention for the programs they offer, others because it’s where his friends will probably go. But no other school has pulled out the kind of stops that Butler has, which is exactly why the university does it.

As higher education becomes increasingly more competitive and the college decision becomes more pressure filled, Butler has a Trip up their sleeve.

Michael Kaltenmark, Butler's Director of Community and Government Relations and resident bulldog handler, makes anywhere from 40 to 100 admission visits with Trip each year. These visits demand lots of coordination and early mornings, but the payoff is worth it. Students who receive a personal visit from Kaltenmark and his loveable pooch are significantly more likely to attend Butler, and that’s what it’s all about.

And to be on the receiving end of such a visit is all the more memorable. Especially for Keelen Barlow.

“It was amazing - really, it was everything he could have hoped for,” says Keelen’s mother, Nicolette. “Given his backstory, and what Butler has always meant to him, it couldn’t have played out any more perfectly.”

Because even though no one in the Barlow family had ever attended Butler before Keelen started this fall, the university always held a special place in their lives.

After Keelen was born, Nicolette’s parents subscribed to season tickets for Butler basketball games and started to take him to every home game when he was only two. It’s how Keelen initially fell in love with Butler - and when his grandfather passed away, Nicolette believes going to the games became a way of keeping those memories alive.

“But even though he always wanted to be a student there, it wasn’t a sure thing given the costs,” she recalls. “That’s why Trip showing up at our door was so amazing. They didn't just come with an acceptance letter, it was also the first time we learned that Keelen had gotten the scholarship he needed to go.”

For Keelen, meeting Trip in a room full of his loved ones, including his grandma and fellow bulldog super-fan, all of his life seemed to be leading up to that moment. For Nicolette, it became one of many examples of how Butler often goes the extra mile to ensure its students feel a true sense of belonging on campus.

“It’s such a tight-knit community in so many regards, and I love knowing he’s not sitting in a lecture hall surrounded by 200 other students being taught by a T.A.,” she says. “Especially as a freshman, because all the changes are easy to get lost in. But when he came home for the first time he was a changed man. Definitely for the better.”

Angela is aware of those same obstacles that her son will face next year on campus as a freshman, wherever that might be.

“With everyone that Luke talks to at Butler, he can really tell how much they care about him as an individual already,” she says, “and I think that’s important to him. It’d be important to anyone. Butler’s people really are eager to help every student find their place there.”

So eager, in fact, that the Butler Bound visits become one of the hardest secrets to keep in town. For Angela, she couldn’t help but let it slip to the receptionist during one of Luke’s orthodontist visits.

With Keelen’s family, they all knew how significant this moment would be for him. And the more and more people were invited by his mother to witness it, Keelen started to know something was up. But even though he is a journalism major now and learning to chase leads, his instincts were a little off when guessing what everyone was so excited about.

“He thought I was pregnant!” Nicolette says. “Once I started telling him to be home on a certain day and time he got really suspicious, but he still didn’t expect the bulldog to be there on the front door. He was so shocked that I had to remind him to let them in.”

Because there, in his living room surrounded by family, dreams were coming true between two bulldogs. Nicolette used to fear that her son would get teased for wearing a Butler t-shirt every day growing up. But all those worries went away knowing her son would soon be right at home.

“Once he got his letter and that scholarship there was no way in hell I wasn’t going to let Butler happen for him,” Nicolette says. “He still pretended to look at other places just because they were on the table before. But his heart was already at Butler, where it still is now.”

AcademicsStudent Life

Keeping the #ButlerBound Secret

A big reveal is dependent upon the accepted students’ parents, who work with Butler to organize the surprise.

AcademicsCommunity

You Are Not Alone

BY Marc D. Allan MFA '18

PUBLISHED ON Dec 17 2018

Kat Strube was “incredibly nervous” as she stood in front of 47 middle-schoolers at Christ the King Catholic School in Indianapolis. And that seemed fitting, really, for what was about to happen next.

For the next 30 minutes she and Butler University classmates Sid Garner, Alex Reinke, Maggie Nobbe, and Hannah Justice would deliver a presentation called "Understanding Anxiety," their final project in the course “Mental Illness: Biological, Psychological, and Sociological Perspectives.”

“I’m not somebody who feels super comfortable in this setting,” Strube, a biology major, says, “but it’s an interesting project.”

As the 11- and 12-year-olds listened attentively, the Butler students went through topics such as what anxiety is, what causes it, and what are the best ways to deal with it. They made paper fortune-tellers with the kids—"a fun, useful distraction for those facing anxiety or other mental illness," they explained—and answered the students’ questions. While one student wanted to know if any of the Butler group knew men’s basketball player Kamar Baldwin, all the other questions they asked dealt directly and seriously with the topic.

“I was super-surprised,” Strube said. “Everyone seemed receptive and to be listening. No one had their head down. Everyone participated and everyone had great questions. It’s not what you expect from middle school students. So that was pretty cool.”

Strube and her classmates were one of 12 teams from the Butler class who went out to Indianapolis-area middle schools in early December to discuss—and attempt to destigmatize—mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. The groups also delved deeper into areas including technology disorders and addictions, sleep disorders, and substance abuse.

The class, which was offered this fall for the third time, is team-taught by Professors Kate Novak (Sociology), Tara Lineweaver (Psychology), and Jennifer Kowalski (Biology). But this was the first time Butler students went into the community to share what they'd learned, including general information (6.8 million children suffer from General Anxiety Disorder), and specifics, such as breathing techniques to ease symptoms.

 “We wanted our students to help middle school kids recognize the stigmas associated with mental illnesses, how the stereotypes are not true, to combat fears and worries about mental illness and to encourage them to know how to get help if they have a problem or they know someone who has a problem,” said Lineweaver.

It was not just about what the Butler students said, but who was delivering the information, Novak said. And getting into the community gave Butler students the chance to understand the implications of what they are learning in the classroom in a new, more real way.

“It's good to have college students come and talk to middle-schoolers because they really look up to college students,” Novak said. “They're going to take it a little more seriously. And a lot of our students have incorporated examples from their own lives. They're saying, ‘I'm willing to talk about this.’ It's been really good for our students, too. It gets them out and thinking about this: What does this mean in terms of people lives? They're not just thinking about the academic component. What is a mental illness? What does the research say? How does this impact people's lives, and how can they have an impact?”

To get the Butler students into the community, the professors teamed with the Joseph Maley Foundation, whose HOPE Program (Health through Outreach, Personal Perspectives, and Engagement) was created to bring emotional, physical, social and mental health awareness and advocacy to students in preschool through 12th grade. HOPE is one of five programs that fulfills the Maley Foundation's mission to serve children of all abilities.

Allison Boyll, a manager with the foundation, helped arrange the Butler students’ visits to local schools, including Westfield Middle School, Indianapolis Public Schools 91, St. Richards, St. Lawrence, St. Monica, and Christ the King.

"I think anytime we can work with students in the area of mental health and help them realize that it’s a natural area of conversation and we can talk about all areas of mental health, it helps to reduce the stigma on mental health and getting the support that you need,” Boyll said. “It just makes it everyday language, so that when you do need some extra support, if you need extra support, you don’t have to be afraid to reach out to get that help.”

That was the reason Christ the King Principal Ed Seib wanted his students to see the presentation. He said mental illnesses get in the way of students being able to reach their potential. Since a social stigma exists, “we want to let them know early on that it’s something they can talk about, it’s something that can be dealt with, and we’re here for them. The presentation was a great way of opening those doors and seeing kids who aren’t that much older than they are talking to them on their terms.”

Frank Meyer, 12, a Christ the King seventh-grader who saw the presentation, said he thought it was extremely worthwhile. He learned that while talking to a friend might not always be the most helpful, it’s always good to have someone to talk to when you’re going through a tough time. He also was interested in hearing about the most common disorders among children—test anxiety and social anxiety—because he deals with those from time to time.

He said hearing from the college students let him know that he’s not alone.

And getting that message out, Professor Kowalski said, is just one of the many benefits of this course.

“It's been a good challenge for the students to have to take the more academic information that they learned and then figure out what's critical, what's going to resonate with the middle-school students,” she said. “And I think it fits with the goals of the course, which are integrating these ideas, communicating about mental illness, dispelling stereotypes, things like that.”

 

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

AcademicsCommunity

You Are Not Alone

Butler students explain mental illnesses to Indianapolis-area middle schoolers.

Dec 17 2018 Read more
Campus

Leading with LEED

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Dec 13 2018

Butler University's commitment to environmental sustainability was rewarded when Irvington House, the new residence hall that opened this year, was awarded LEED Gold status for its conservation elements integrated into the design and construction of the facility.

This is Butler's sixth LEED project on campus and its fifth certified gold. Other LEED-certified projects are: the addition to the Pharmacy Building (gold); the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts (gold), the Hinkle Fieldhouse Administrative wing (gold), the Athletic Annex (silver), and the Fairview House residence hall (gold).

Irvington House was built in partnership with American Campus Communities, which also built Fairview House.

“I greatly appreciate our partnership with American Campus Communities in helping create another wonderful, sustainable building on campus," said Doug Morris, Associate Vice President of Facilities. "It is critical for us to continue developing sustainable buildings and spaces across campus that not only minimize the use of natural resources, but also provide healthy spaces for our students, faculty and staff to live, work and play.”

Irvington House was recognized for:

-Maximized open space. More than 60,000 square feet was designated as vegetated open space while over 32,000 square feet was designated as pedestrian-oriented sidewalks and other paving.

-Alternative transportation. The building occupants have access to two different public bus routes, reducing greenhouses gas emissions and the building’s footprint.

-Reduced water use. Low-flush, low-flow fixtures decrease potable water usage by more than 46 percent, resulting in 3.5 million gallons of water saved per year.

-Responsible material choices. Recycling collection bins have been provided in multiple locations throughout the facility so that plastic, glass, metals, paper, and corrugated cardboard can easily be recycled by residents and visitors. More than 85 percent of the construction and demolition debris generated was diverted from landfills, more than 20 percent of the total value of construction materials used consisted of recycled content, and over 45 percent of the total value of construction materials used consisted of products that were manufactured and harvested within 500 miles of Indianapolis.

-Reduced energy consumption. Efficient lighting design and use of LED fixtures result in over 50 percent savings in total lighting energy usage when compared to a baseline building. In addition, heating, ventilating, and cooling systems were selected to maximize energy savings where life-cycle cost effective.

-Improved indoor environmental quality. The building was designed so that over 90 percent of all regularly occupied areas within the building has views access to the exterior. Throughout the building, a high level of lighting and thermal system control is available to individual occupants or groups in multi-occupant spaces, which promotes occupant productivity, comfort, and well-being.

-Reduced heat island effect. A white roof was selected to avoid artificially elevating ambient temperatures, and specific hardscapes were chosen to be light in color so that they minimize their heat-island impacts on microclimates and human and wildlife habitats. 

 LEED—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—is the most widely used green building rating system in the world and is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. Gold is the second-highest rating, behind platinum.

 

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

Campus

Leading with LEED

Irvington House was built in partnership with American Campus Communities, which also built Fairview House.

Dec 13 2018 Read more

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