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Butler University Founder's Day 2014

Founders Day _Button 150x 50pxOne hundred and fifty-nine 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 3-7 as we celebrate Ovid Butler's legacy with these Founder's Week events:

Five Things You Need to Know about Butler

  1. Butler University 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."
  2. 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.
  3. The first woman to graduate from the full four-year program was Demia Butler, daughter of founder Ovid Butler. She graduated in 1862.
  4. 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 female professor in the country at any university.
  5. 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.

Monday, February 3

  • "Where in the World Are Ovid and Demia" cutout contest begins. Find Ovid Butler and Demia Butler in new locations each day and take a picture with the cutouts. Tweet your picture with the hashtag #StandWithOvid for the chance to win one of five $25 Starbucks gift cards for best picture.
  • The Alumni Association will kick off a week of events in coordination with Founder's Day. 

Tuesday, February 4

  • Jason Lantzer reprises "Rebel Bulldog: The Davidson Family of Indianapolis and the Civil War that Divided Them," his presentation on the Butler students/brothers who fought on opposite sides in the Civil War. Q&A will be led by faculty members Sally Childs-Helton (Library) and Elizabeth Mix (JCA). Noon, JH083. Drinks and dessert will be provided.

Wednesday, February 5

  • Students re-create speeches by Butler's founders. 1:00-3:00 p.m., Starbucks.
  • Faculty call for proposals to enhance fall 2014 classes with projects/independent study that connects to the principles of diversity, equality, innovation, and access. Look for details in the Connection and faculty listservs.

Thursday, February 6

  • Unveiling of Butler timeline projects, poster session, information about future Butler-specific tours at Crown Hill Cemetery. Noon, Starbucks.

Founder's Day - Friday, February 7

  • Bradley University Professor Stacey Robertson speaks about women abolitionists. (Students: Attendance fulfills a Butler Cultural Requirement.) Noon, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall.
  • Speaker's Contact information:
    Stacey Robertson, Ph.D.
    Professor at Bradley University
    Co-Director of Historians Against Slavery
    Today's handout: What Can I Do?

Founder's Day Committee

  • Marc Allan
  • Rachel Burt
  • Lindsay Byers
  • Sally Childs-Helton
  • Vivian Deno
  • Caroline Huck
  • Terri Jett
  • Levester Johnson
  • Michael Kaltenmark
  • Casey Kelly
  • Larry Lad
  • Angela Lupton
  • Trey Meehan
  • Elizabeth Mix
  • Kate Morris
  • Tom Otero
  • Priscilla Ryder
  • Monica Strigari