Butler University State of the University Address

Kristin Camiliere  | Staff Reporter

President James Danko addressed Butler University in his annual “State of the University” address Sept. 25 in Clowes Memorial Hall.

Katelyn Sussli, Student Government Association president, opened the address. She shared how Butler impacted her life and made her into the person that she is today. She then introduced the university president.

Danko began his speech by highlighting Butler’s accomplishments.

“I want to focus on the reason, ‘the why,’ the reason that we are all here for our students,” he said. “We should take great pride in the fact that 95 percent of our students were either employed or pursuing graduate school within six months of graduation.”

Danko  addressed the practical component of a Butler education.

“One such opportunity for educational engagement is annual Undergraduate Research Conference, or URC, which draws participants from all over the country,” he said. “And even first year students can present their work to peers from nearly 60 institutions. Last year, a record 900 individuals attended the URC and delivered more than 600 presentations.”

The URC will celebrate its 28th anniversary next April.

Danko also discussed the faculty and staff of Butler and some of its accomplishments, including professor Andrew Levy’s book concerning Mark Twain.

President James Danko Collegian file photo

President James Danko
Collegian file photo

Danko also acknowledged a professor who is engaging students and the community.

“Biology department chair Travis Ryan has recently led efforts related to a project called Streamlines, funded by Butler’s largest ever federal grants totaling more than $3 million.”

Danko then addressed student involvement around campus.

“More than 90 percent of Butler students are involved in at least one co-curricular activity, and most students are involved in several.”

Danko then addressed his concern with the safety and well being for the students. He played a student produced sexual assault video which showed how Butler students step in and help one another when in need.

Toward the end of the address, Danko presented Nadja Halilbegovich, a Butler alumni. She came to the United States as a 16-year-old Bosnian refugee, fleeing her homeland, which was a war zone at the time.

When she came here, she had her mind set on education.

“I had a singular desire to learn, and I wanted an education,” she said. “And I was deprived of so many things during the war and one of those things was education.”

She then explained that she needed to find a school that would award her with a full ride scholarship.

“My family back in Bosnia was struggling to rebuild their war ravaged lives and by no means had the money to finance my education. Enter Butler, with its first of many acts of kindness and generosity,” she said.

Halilbegovich said she thoroughly enjoyed her Butler experience.

“I could speak about Butler for hours, but President Danko would be all out of time for his own address,” she said. “And no amount of time or stories would ever encapsulate the impact of this special place.”