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About Butler

History & Traditions

1855 History photo

Our Strength comes from the Roots

Butler University is a liberal arts school with a history of doing things differently. In 1855, attorney and abolitionist Ovid Butler opened a school founded on the principle that everyone deserves an excellent education, regardless of race or gender—a bold idea in pre-Civil-War America. He believed that experience is the best teacher, that a love of learning prepares you for success no matter what you do, and that anyone can achieve greatness if they’re willing to put in the effort.

Today, we’ve built on Butler’s vision to create a community of students and faculty that learn by doing. A community that values hard work as an essential building block for success, whether in the classroom, on the field, or out in the world.

Now, more than 160 years after he opened the doors, Ovid Butler’s ideals still ring true throughout our campus and beyond.

We Do More

At Butler, the students, faculty, and staff are a passionate bunch. From the Geneva Stunts fundraiser, which has been a tradition for almost 100 years, to the Homecoming Chariot Race that pits fraternity against fraternity, they love taking part in our rich history.

But the passion doesn’t end at the campus borders. Because of Butler’s commitment to fostering community involvement, students transform into responsible members of society and proud members of the Bulldog Nation. Whether they’re participating in campus-wide volunteer day and making a difference in Indianapolis or dancing into the twilight hours at the Spring Sports Spectacular to benefit the Special Olympics, everyone here is dedicated to making a difference in the world around them. 

The name’s Blue—but you can call him Trip

Blue III (Trip, for short) is the Butler Mascot. He’s an English Bulldog that loves skateboarding, chilling in a kiddie pool when it’s hot out, and working as the head cheerleader for all Butler athletics.

Get to know Trip a little better. Check out his blog or Twitter feed

Founder's Week

Butler celebrates its founding through various events, capturing our principles of diversity, equality, innovation, and access.

Historical Timeline

View images and read highlights from Butler's history on our Facebook timeline.