During a busy and successful 2015-2016 academic year, Butler University received a $25 million gift to name the College of Business the Andre B. Lacy School of Business, renewed President James M. Danko’s contract for another five years, and earned the ranking of the Most Innovative School in the Midwest from U.S. News & World Report.

The University also mourned the losses of Andrew Smith ’13, a star on the men’s basketball team, and Nolan Read ’17, an honors business student.

Here’s a recap of the year.


Butler University welcomed 1,040 first-year students on move-in day, Saturday, August 22.

The University received the 2015 Marion County Prosecutor’s Crime Fighter of the Year Award.

Four of Butler’s teams—Men’s Basketball, Men’s Indoor Track & Field, Men’s Outdoor Track & Field, and Men’s Tennis—were recognized by the BIG EAST Conference with the 2014-15 Team Academic Excellence Award.

Elise Kushigian was honored for her more than 20 years of service as executive director of Clowes Memorial Hall, with Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard proclaiming “Elise J. Kushigian Day,” and Gov. Mike Pence naming her a Sagamore of the Wabash.

The Butler University College of Business announced plans to establish a student-run insurance company with the goal of having the company fully operational by the 2019–2020 academic year, thanks to a $250,000 gift from MJ Insurance and Michael M. Bill.

Sara Patel, left, an accounting major from Western Springs, Illinois, and Sidney Parrish, a pre-pharmacy major from Indianapolis, help prune trees at Holliday Park as part of BITS.

Sara Patel, left, an accounting major from Western Springs, Illinois, and Sidney Parrish, a pre-pharmacy major from Indianapolis, help prune trees at Holliday Park as part of BITS.

More than 1,200 new and returning students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Butler community headed out to about 25 service sites in the city as part of the annual Bulldogs Into the Streets. Their combined 2,400 hours of service are estimated to be worth over $50,000.

The Butler University Board of Trustees unanimously voted to renew the contract of President James Danko for another five years, extending his leadership to the year 2020.

Butler University’s Executive Education program and the Indiana State Medical Association announced plans to partner to deliver a Physician Leadership Program. The courses, created to enhance leadership and business acumen, are being offered through ISMA’s new Indiana Center for Physician Excellence.

Scotty’s Dawghouse was announced as the anchor tenant in Butler University’s new Sunset Avenue Parking Garage, leasing 6,400 square feet in the northeast corner of Sunset Avenue and Lake Road. The new restaurant’s name is a twist on the more familiar Scotty’s Brewhouse.

Fait Muedini

Fait Muedini

Assistant Professor of International Studies Fait Muedini published two books, Human Rights and Universal Child Primary Education and Sponsoring Sufism.

Nolan Read, an honors business student and trumpet player in the Butler Jazz Ensemble, died. He was 20.


Butler University tied for first place as the Most Innovative School among Midwestern Regional Universities, according to the U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges rankings for 2016. The rating is the result of voting by college presidents, provosts, and admissions deans, who were asked to nominate the colleges or universities that are making the most innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology, or facilities.

For the fourth time in five years, every Butler College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences graduate who took the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam, the NAPLEX, passed on the first try.

The Butler University College of Business’s Executive Education program and the Indiana State Bar Association partnered to offer the Business School for Lawyers, a program created to combine a lawyer’s technical training with business knowledge and skills required to keep a law practice afloat.

Nine Butler University alumni and former President Bobby Fong were honored at the Alumni Awards Recognition Program for extraordinary professional achievement and service to the University and their communities. The winners were: Will ’06 and Emily (McIntyre) ’06 Turner; Nancy Brown ’72 and Darrell Pieczko; Bradley A. Hamann ’04; Nadja Halilbegovich ’02; Barry G. Hohlfelder ’66; Joseph N. Allegretti ’59; Ann Wagner Harper ’63 MS ’68; Sanford “Sandy” Rader ’53; and Fong.

Ty Sutton was named the new Executive Director of the Butler University Arts Center, which includes Clowes Memorial Hall, Schrott Center for the Arts, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, and the Black Box Theatre in Lilly Hall.

Butler Director of Jazz Studies and saxophonist Matt Pivec released a new CD, Time and Direction.

The Butler University community, Indiana Blood Center, and Be the Match Indiana teamed up to host a blood drive and bone marrow registry drive at Hinkle Fieldhouse in honor of former Butler men’s basketball standout Andrew Smith.Andrew-Smith_thumb

Scott Bening, President and CEO of Merrillville, Indiana-based MonoSol LLC, was named to the Butler University Board of Trustees.

The Indiana Pharmacists Alliance awarded Butler PharmD candidate Daniel Peterson ’16 its Outstanding Student of the Year Award. The award recognizes students who have been actively involved in association activities and have helped to promote the advancement of pharmacy.

Taura Edwards, Director of the Institute for Research and Scholarship, was recognized by 100 Black Men of Indianapolis as one of nine winners of its 2015 Emerging Leader Awards.

StreamLines, an interactive project that merges art and science to advance the Indianapolis community’s understanding and appreciation of its waterways, was unveiled in Holcomb Gardens. The project is the result of a $2.9 million National Science Foundation grant the Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University received to create sites along six Indianapolis waterways where arts and science were created to educate the public about Indianapolis’s water system.

Declaring that “the state of our University is stronger than ever,” Butler President James M. Danko said in his State of the University speech that Butler “is well positioned not only to survive these challenging times, but to thrive in them.”

Butler University has announced the hiring of two new directors in Advancement: Danny Kibble, Executive Director, Alumni Relations and Engagement; and Sean Dunlavy, Executive Director – Major Gifts.


The College of Education hosted 96 students from six school districts for a day of learning about the teaching profession and Butler. The students met an Admission representative, toured the campus, talked with professors and students, and heard a bit about both the teaching shortage in Indiana and the joys and meaningful nature of teaching.

Butler University’s part-time MBA program rated best in Indiana and 25th in the country, according to rankings by Bloomberg Businessweek.

Liz Niemiec

Liz Niemiec

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

The Engineering Dual Degree Club held its annual pumpkin drop, this year seeing if members could design a structure that would protect a pumpkin dropped from the top of the new Sunset Avenue Parking Garage. (No one succeeded.)

Butler University’s renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse received the highest honor at the Indy Chamber’s annual Monumental Awards gala. The awards honor the most significant achievements by individuals and businesses that contribute to excellence in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, construction, real estate development, neighborhood revitalization, engineering, innovative reuse and public art throughout the Indianapolis region.


Four members of Butler University’s Voices of Deliverance gospel choir—RaeNosa Hudnell, Murjuana Mutuwa, Jeremy Washington, and Elisha Wright—sang backup with Stevie Wonder at his Bankers Life Fieldhouse concert.

That's Stevie Wonder in the middle, with Elisha Wright and Murjanatu Mutuwa to his immediate right and RaeNosa Hudnell and Jeremy Washington to his left.

That’s Stevie Wonder in the middle, with Elisha Wright and Murjanatu Mutuwa to his immediate right and RaeNosa Hudnell and Jeremy Washington to his left.

Associate Professor of Communication Casey Kelly was awarded a New Investigator Award by the Critical Communication Studies Division of the National Communication Association.

The Indiana Department of Health distributed a poster designed by senior Pharmacy major Paige Watkins to warn healthcare providers and their patients about the dangers of overprescribing and overusing antibiotics. The poster allows doctors and other pharmaceutical prescribers to post their photo along with a declaration that they are committed to using antibiotics responsibly.

Butler captured the 2015 BIG EAST Championship with a 1-0 victory over Providence. Jamison Midgley’s goal in the 20th minute proved to be the game-winner.

Butler University signed its second retail customer for the Sunset Avenue Parking Garage—a 1,400-square-foot Pita Pit franchise owned by 2003 Butler graduate Travis Sealls.

Ten Butler students sang backup with Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth when she performed at the Hilbert Circle Theatre.

Melody Coryell MFA ’15, an English teacher and the coordinator of Shortridge High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program, was awarded a $25,000 Milken Family Foundation Educator Award—“the Oscars of Teaching”—for her work bringing IB education to Shortridge and promoting the rigorous curriculum around the state.

Shandeep Singh ’18 received Butler’s Realizing the Dream scholarship, an annual award given to a first-generation student.


Butler University was awarded a $339,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation to support undergraduate student internships in East and Southeast Asia in 2016 and 2017. The money will be used to send 20 students to Shanghai in 2016 and 20 to Shanghai, 10 to Beijing, and 10 to Singapore during summer 2017.

Judy O'Bannon

Judy O’Bannon

Former Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon Willsey spoke at Winter Commencement, urging the 93 graduates to embrace the opportunities ahead of them.

Chemistry Professor Michael Samide and Senior Conservation Scientist Gregory Smith received a three-year, $75,000 grant that the Indianapolis Museum of Art has received to continue their work on preserving works of art. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant will allow Samide to spend the next two summers at the museum as an NEH faculty fellow. In addition, two Butler undergraduates will have the opportunity to work at the museum during the next two summers.

Six College of Liberal Arts and Sciences professors and their Dean, Jay Howard, were recognized nationally for their teaching abilities. They were recorded in their classrooms for the Association of College and University Educators’ online Course in Effective Teaching Practices, demonstrating their skills in areas such as “Motivating Your Students” and “Delivering an Effective Lecture.”


Michael Hole ’08, a Boston Medical Center pediatrician and founder of an organization that works to reduce child poverty in America, was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of America’s most important young entrepreneurs, creative leaders, and brightest stars.

Michael Hole

Michael Hole

Butler University and the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law created the “Butler University Law Scholar,” a partnership that will allow Butler to nominate one student each year to enroll in the law school and receive a minimum half-tuition scholarship. Graduating seniors and alumni—who often take a gap year or two before applying to law school—will be eligible for the scholarship. The first scholar will be named in time for the 2016 fall semester.

Butler Pharmacy Professor Jennifer Snyder became the new president of the national Physician Assistant Education Association.

Andrew Smith ’13 lost his battle with cancer. He was 25. “Andrew represented the best of Butler, both in the classroom, where he was an Academic All-American, and on the basketball court, where he helped lead our Bulldogs to back-to-back appearances in the national championship game,” President James M. Danko and Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier said in a joint statement.

Indianapolis Opera announced that an opera version of Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday, Wanda June, written by Vonnegut and Butler Director of Instrumental Activities Richard Auldon Clark, will have its world premiere September 16-18 at Butler’s Schrott Center for the Arts.

Award-winning Journalism major Matthew VanTryon ’17 accepted a prestigious Pulliam Fellowship for the summer and will be working as a Digital Sports Producer and Reporter for the Indianapolis Star.


Seven hundred seventy-seven students were placed on the Dean’s List for the fall 2015 semester.

Sam Arnett ’33, believed to be Butler’s oldest living alumnus, turned 105 years old.

Ena Shelley

Ena Shelley

Ena Shelley, Dean of Butler University’s College of Education (COE) since 2005 and a professor in the College since 1982, was selected to receive the Edward C. Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.

Seventy-four 74 Physician Assistant (PA) students and five PA program faculty visited the IPS/Butler Lab School to administer eye and ear exams and teach them about good dental hygiene.

Butler University’s Center for Urban Ecology announced plans to place 48 motion-sensitive cameras at locations in Indianapolis, Westfield, Zionsville, and Carmel for four weeks every quarter beginning in April to study urban wildlife. The Indy Wildlife Watch project is being done in conjunction with the Lincoln Park Zoo Urban Wildlife Institute in Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to see how central Indiana wildlife compares with theirs.


Butler senior Kellen Dunham was named BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He was one of four individuals recognized at Madison Square Garden in advance of the 2016 BIG EAST Tournament.

Kellen Dunham

Kellen Dunham

Butler University entered into a partnership with Be The Match, which operates the national bone marrow registry, honoring Andrew Smith. As an element of the partnership, Butler’s live bulldog mascot, Blue III, was named a national ambassador for Be The Match.

Butler awarded 10 Butler Tuition Guarantee Scholarships to 10 high school seniors in Marion County. The guarantee provides full tuition awards to students who have high financial need and have taken leadership roles, participated in co-curricular activities, and shown dedication to academic achievement.


Andre B. Lacy

Andre B. Lacy

Butler University’s College of Business was renamed the Andre B. Lacy School of Business, in recognition of a $25 million commitment from the Chairman of the Board of Indianapolis-based LDI, Ltd (Lacy Diversified Industries) and his wife, Julia. In addition, Lacy agreed to serve as senior adviser to the School of Business.

The Physician Assistant program celebrated its 20th anniversary with a daylong free continuing medical education conference for alumni and a dinner celebrating the anniversary.

Butler University’s Theta of Indiana Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa inducted 29 new members. Students are considered for membership based on their grade point averages in liberal arts studies, typically ranking in the top 10 percent of arts and sciences majors at the University. Other factors considered include breadth and depth of areas of study, honors program involvement, undergraduate research activity, and other campus involvement and leadership.

More than 900 individuals representing 58 colleges and universities in 11 states participated in Butler University’s 28th annual Undergraduate Research Conference. The students presented in 26 subject areas, from music and English to biology and chemistry.

Matt Pauszek, a junior from Indianapolis, received the 2015-2016 John Weidner Endowed Scholarship for Altruism in recognition of the extensive volunteer work he has done in the community.

Butler University Associate Professor of Critical Communication and Media Studies Casey Kelly published the book Abstinence Cinema, in which he writes that the overwhelming majority of movies now associate premarital sex with shame and degradation, while they romanticize traditional nuclear families, courtship rituals, and gender roles.


Nine hundred ninety-six students graduated from Butler University on May 7 in Hinkle Fieldhouse.


Media contact:
Marc Allan