A nationally recognized independent university founded by abolitionists in pre-Civil War Indiana and known for its exceptional student learning experiences, Butler University comprises a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and five professional colleges: College of Education, Lacy School of Business, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Jordan College of the Arts, and College of Communication. Butler was founded on ideals of equity and academic excellence and is committed to its mission to create and foster a collaborative, stimulating intellectual learning environment. We strive to prepare all learners to lead meaningful lives and are inspired to enrich our communities. In the 2023 Best Colleges edition of U.S. News and World Report, Butler University was ranked No. 1 among Midwest Regional Universities and, for the eighth consecutive year, the Most Innovative School No. 1 for Undergraduate Teaching. Butler was also listed on the shortlist of excellence for First-Year Experiences, Senior Capstone Experience, and Study Abroad Opportunities. Such recognition reflects Butler’s dedication to providing students with a broad, liberal arts foundation with nationally recognized programs, coupled with countless experiential learning opportunities in Indianapolis and beyond. Through this comprehensive approach, Butler students are prepared to step directly into a career or graduate school with confidence, which is evident in Butler’s 2022 six-month post-grad success rate of 98 percent.
In furtherance of its teaching and learning goals, Butler has established learning outcomes for all students. The outcomes are assessed in students’ course work and elsewhere throughout their undergraduate years, yielding continued refinements and improvement in teaching. By graduation, Butler’s dynamic academic and co-curricular offerings will prepare our students to demonstrate the following:
- Liberal arts knowledge and transferable skills developed through multifaceted learning experiences.
- Disciplinary and professional knowledge and skills in at least one academic field of study.
- Competencies that facilitate their personal development and wellness cultivated through experiences inside and outside the classroom.
- A capacity to help shape our local and global communities through civic understanding and an appreciation of diverse perspectives.
Students are afforded ample opportunities to achieve these learning outcomes through a combination of courses-both in the major and in the Core Curriculum-and through co-curricular experiences.
A History of Inclusiveness, Diversity, and Equality
From the beginning, Butler has been ahead of its time among institutions of higher education for its commitment to racial and gender equality. The University was chartered as North Western Christian University by abolitionist Disciples of Christ members, who wanted a university away from the “pernicious influences of slavery.” Upon establishment in 1855, the University immediately began setting educational precedents:
- Butler admitted students representing all minorities, and it has continued to do so throughout its history. Butler’s first documented African American graduate was Gertrude Amelia Mahorney, who graduated in 1887 and subsequently taught in the Indianapolis Public Schools.
- Women were admitted on an equal basis with men-a first for Indiana-and Butler was only the second university in the nation to do so. The first woman to graduate from the full four-year program, in 1862, was Demia Butler, daughter of founder Ovid Butler.
- Butler was also the first university in the state to allow its students, with parental consent, to choose subjects suited to their needs under a new “elective” system.
- In 1870, Butler became the first university in the nation to establish an endowed chair specifically for a female professor (Catharine Merrill, English literature), and only the second university to appoint a woman to the faculty. Professor Merrill also was the first to use the lecture method for any subject other than science.
- The country’s first chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho, a sorority for African American women, was founded on the Butler campus in 1922.
When Butler University opened its doors in 1855, 20 students were enrolled, taught by two faculty members. Today, Butler is an independent university with a total full-time enrollment of more than 5,500 students (4,427 undergraduates and 1,098 graduate students) and more than 371 full-time faculty members. True to the vision of its founders, the University emphasizes the warmth and sense of community characteristic of a small liberal arts institution while offering the educational and cultural advantages of an urban center. The University maintains a favorable student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1. Because of its size, Butler can offer its students opportunities to work closely with the faculty. Classes are small, and students are encouraged to seek out faculty in their offices, studios, or laboratories. Undergraduate research and independent study are encouraged. Although Butler professors are teaching faculty, they understand that first-rate teaching must be complemented with scholarly activity that extends the boundaries of knowledge.
Butler students currently represent 48 states, 2 US Territories, and 31 countries, reflecting diverse cultures, interests, aspirations, personalities, and experiences. Students can join more than 200 student organizations, 15 Greek organizations, and 20 varsity athletic teams. Nearly 95 percent of Butler undergraduate students are engaged in student-led campus activities. As it has since its founding, Butler continues to both value tradition and embrace innovation.
Butler’s more than 300-acre campus, within a historic north-side Indianapolis neighborhood, comprises nearly 30 buildings, playing fields, and a nature preserve. Located five miles from the heart of the city, the campus offers easy access to downtown. Its urban location allows Butler to offer students a wide range of internship opportunities that are excellent preparation for careers and graduate schools. In addition, full-time faculty in several disciplines, such as accounting, journalism, and instrumental music, are supplemented with adjunct instructors, drawing on the resources of professionals in the surrounding community.
Campus facilities include:
- Jordan Hall, built in 1927 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to housing several departments of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the building incorporates computer labs, an electronic language laboratory, administrative and faculty offices, alumni and parent programs, student accounts, registration, and classrooms.
- The Fairbanks Center for Communication and Technology, home to Computer Science and Software Engineering and the College of Communication, which includes the Eugene S. Pulliam School of Journalism.
- The Butler University Sciences Complex, which includes:
- Gallahue Hall, housing classrooms and labs for Biological Sciences and Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Levinson Family Hall, which includes the Ruth Lilly Science Library, an atrium, classrooms, study areas, and research labs dedicated to Chemistry and Biochemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Engineering Dual Degree, and Psychology
- The Holcomb Building, which houses offices and meeting rooms for the departments of Psychology, Physics and Astronomy, and Information Technology
- Bill and Joanne Dugan Hall, home of the Lacy School of Business and the Division of Professional Studies, includes state-of-the-art technology and flexible arrangements to accommodate the teaching styles of the future, Innovation Commons that brings together students, faculty, and Central Indiana business leaders to foster new ideas, and a Trading Room where students can spot live market date streaming. Also located here is the Office of Career and Professional Success.
- The Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building, a facility that includes state-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms, and technology in support of student and faculty collaboration.
- The Butler Arts and Events Center, which includes Clowes Memorial Hall, a 2,220-seat multipurpose hall for the performing arts; and the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, a 450-seat theatre that provides performance and exhibition space for the theatre, dance, music, and visual arts programs.
- Irwin Library, which provides basic research tools and holds the majority of the University’s more than 208,000 volumes of books, bound periodicals, and manuscripts. Butler Libraries also offer approximately 822,000 e-books, access to 323 online databases, and 99,000 online journals and magazines.
- Atherton Union, which incorporates the University bookstore, food service operations, a 24-hour computer lab, meeting rooms, and student lounges. Additional facilities include the Efroymson Diversity Center, the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of International Student Services, and offices for Residence Life, Greek Life, and Student Leadership and Service.
- Campus housing, including Irvington House, Fairview House, Residential College, University Terrace, the Apartment Village, and fraternity and sorority houses.
- Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium. The observatory’s 38-inch telescope is one of the largest in the state.
- Robertson Hall, which houses the offices of Admission, Financial Aid, Marketing and Communications, and the Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall.
- Hinkle Fieldhouse. The historic 9,100-seat fieldhouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the home of Butler basketball and volleyball teams, the Human Movement and Health Science Education program, and spring Commencement ceremonies.
- Sellick Bowl, the site of Butler football and soccer.
- The Health and Recreation Complex, which houses an aquatic and fitness center, in addition to counseling services, health education, and health services.
- Holcomb Gardens, a 20-acre scenic area that abuts Indianapolis’ Central Canal and towpath, a favorite walking, jogging, and bicycling route for students.
- Athletic fields, The Farm at Butler, and the Butler Prairie nature preserve, linked to the main campus by two pedestrian bridges across the Central Canal.
- A multi-use parking facility, with 1,033 parking spaces and 17,000 square feet of retail space.
- South Campus, 40 acres of open green space and home to the College of Education.
Butler University remains deeply committed to serving its community. The Butler Arts Center fulfills a cultural responsibility by presenting a vast array of performing arts and spoken-word programs to the public; many of these programs offer enrichment to area elementary and secondary students. Indianapolis schools, corporations, and cultural organizations benefit from the University’s cooperation, and student interns serve in a wide variety of Central Indiana businesses, governmental offices, nonprofit agencies, schools, hospitals, and pharmacies. Butler seeks to continue to strengthen its partnership with a vital, growing city and region.
Indianapolis is the 14th-largest city in the United States, with a metropolitan-area population of more than 1.9 million. In recent years, the city has emerged as a leader in science, medicine, research, technology, and sports. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company is located in the city, as are top-ranked regional hospitals. Many performing arts companies call Indianapolis home. Museum offerings include the world’s largest children’s museum, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Conner Prairie, and the nearby Indianapolis Museum of Art. Widely known for the annual 500-mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the city has two major league professional sports teams, and it also has hosted hundreds of national and international amateur sporting events.