About Butler


Butler University Founder's Week 2015

One hundred and sixty years ago, Butler University was founded on the principles of diversity, equality, innovation, and access. Those characteristics are still vital today as we seek to recapture and reclaim the values of Ovid Butler. Join us the week of February 1-7 as we celebrate Ovid Butler's legacy with these Founder's Week events:

Recommended Readings

Suggested readings related to Founder's Week 2015.

Sunday, February 1

Honor Your Butler Hero

Celebrate the 1855 founding of Butler University and make a donation to the Butler Fund in honor of a Butler Hero who exemplifies Ovid Butler's belief in diversity, equality, and inclusivity. Suggested gift: $18.55. More information here.

All-Week Events, Starting Feb. 2

Founder's Week Exhibit
Irwin Library exhibit will showcase history of Butler University. Cut-out of Ovid Butler and his daughter, Demia Butler, will be available. Tweet a photo!

Why Founder's Day?
Video showcases why we celebrate Founder's Day at Butler.

The Race Experience Kiosk
The Race Experience: See Yourself in a Different Skin, all week at the Diversity Center (Atherton Union 004). Background reading: The Power of an Illusion-Ten Things Everyone Should Know about Race and more, including a Race Literacy Quiz.

Founder's Week Twitter Contest
Question of the Day: Tweet your answer to #standwithovid. A Starbucks gift card will be given to two randomly selected winners each day, chosen from all appropriate responses.

Founder's Week Challenge
Participate in events and activities and get your challenge card stamped. Discuss your experiences with colleagues and friends. Two iPad minis will be raffled to one student and one faculty/staff member randomly selected from those with five stamps or more on their cards by the end of the week.

Monday, February 2

  • Founder's Week Kick-Off
    3:00 pm, Irwin Library Collaborative Space
    Welcome by Provost Kate Morris and President Jim Danko.
    Photo unveiling at 3:30 pm. Coffee, tea, and cookies provided.
  • Founder's Week Keynote Speaker*
    4:00 pm, Irwin Library Collaborative Space
    (Butler Cultural Requirement event*)
    Cultivating Positive Change: What Can Allies Do to Reduce Discrimination?
    Leslie Ashburn-Nardo, PhD, Assoc. Professor of Psychology, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Tuesday, February 3

  • Basketball Game
    Butler vs. St. John's men's basketball
    7:00 pm, Hinkle Fieldhouse
    Founder's Day giveaways throughout the game

Wednesday, February 4

  • ACLU First Wednesday*
    What Would Ovid Butler Do? Today's Movement for Better Policing and Racial Justice
    11:30 am, lunch and check-in, Robertson Hall
    12:00 noon, event in Johnson Room, Robertson Hall
    (Butler Cultural Requirement event*)
    Moderator: Erika D. Smith, columnist, Indianapolis Star
    Panelists: Kelly R. Eskew, ACLU of Indiana staff attorney; Benjamin Hunter, Public Safety Director, Butler University, former IPD officer and current member, Indianapolis City-County Council; Regina Marsh, Exec. Dir., Forest Manor Multi-Service Center; Monica Solinas-Saunders, PhD, Asst. Professor of Public Affairs, IU Northwest
  • Book Signing
    4:00-6:00 pm, Irwin Library Collaborative
    Indianapolis illustrator Michele Wood book signing, Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony by Nikki Grimes
  • Movie
    Dear White People! (R.E.A.C.H./SGA event)
    6:00 pm, Efroymson Diversity Center in Atherton Union lower level
    Discussion will follow with Professor Terri Jett from the Political Science Dept.

Five Things You Need to Know about Butler University

Butler was chartered as North Western Christian University in 1850 by abolitionist Disciples of Christ members who wanted a university away from the "pernicious influences of slavery."

Founded on the values of diversity, inclusivity, and equality, NWCU opened in 1855 at 13th and College Avenue, admitting women and people of color on an equal basis with white males, a radical stance for the time.

The first woman to graduate from the full four-year program was Demia Butler, daughter of founder Ovid Butler. She graduated in 1862.

Ovid Butler founded the Demia Butler Chair of English Literature in 1869, the first endowed chair in the country for a female professor. Catharine Merrill was its first recipient, and the second full-time female professor in the country at any university.

Butler's first documented African American graduate was Gertrude Amelia Mahorney, who graduated in 1887 on the school's second campus in Irvington. There may have been earlier graduates of color, but the school did not keep racial statistics for many years. Mahorney taught in the Indianapolis Public Schools, specializing in German.

Thursday, February 5

  • Founder's Grant Winners Presentations and "Honor Your Butler Hero"
    12:00-2:00 pm, Starbucks
    What Would Ovid Butler Do? Game, Demia Butler, poster presentations. Pizza will be served.
  • Comedian Mo Amer (R.E.A.C.H./SGA event)
    5:30 pm, Reilly Room
    Palestinian-American standup comedian Mo Amer's work promotes understanding of differences. Free food available.

Friday, February 6

  • Basketball Game
    Butler vs. DePaul women's basketball
    11:30 am, Hinkle Fieldhouse
    FREE to students, faculty, & staff with ID.
  • Food Truck Friday
    11:00 am to 2:00 pm, Hinkle Fieldhouse parking lot
    Food trucks will include:
       DuosScratch Street FoodThe Flying Cupcake
  • Pride Party (R.E.A.C.H./SGA event)
    5:30 pm, Efroymson Diversity Center

Saturday, February 7

  • Basketball Game
    Butler vs. DePaul men's basketball
    3:30 pm, Hinkle Fieldhouse
    Founder's Day giveaways throughout the game

Founder's Day Committee

  • Terri Jett, LAS (Co-Chair)
  • Monica Strigari, Provost Office (Co-Chair)
  • Ann Bilodeau, CCOM
  • Rachael Stevens Burt, Advancement
  • Sally Childs-Helton, Library
  • Vivian Deno, LAS
  • Mike Freeman, Athletics
  • Caroline Huck, Student Affairs
  • Larry Lad, COB
  • Angela Lupton, COE
  • Elizabeth Mix, JCA
  • Priscilla Ryder, COPHS
  • Rachel Stotts, Marketing
  • Austin DelPriore, SGA



* The Founder's Week Keynote address (Feb. 2) and the ACLU First Wednesday (Feb. 4) provide credit under the Butler Cultural Requirement (BCR).