Irwin Library and Bird Sanctuary

By , April 1, 2015 8:36 am

We are excited to announce that the Irwin Library has received a grant from the Indiana Audubon Society that will match the capital funds the university is giving us in 2015/2016! This grant will allow us to not only fix some structural issues with the building, but will allow us to transform our atrium into a multipurpose space where sunlight flows in through the glass ceiling, students study at tables, trees soar towards the stacks, and flamingos frolic in the fountain – the Irwin Library and Bird Sanctuary!

Imagine yourself attending a fall meeting with a student with all of the glorious birds and wildflowers on display at the sanctuary, or picture yourself drinking a coffee and reading the paper under a soaring palm to the soothing sound of birdsong. Or, thinking of Butler 20/20, envision organizing living-classroom teaching, creating programs for wildlife study and developing curriculum based around the local and exotic species we will be helping to save.

This grant should allow us to hire a full time Avian Caretaker, and Transplant, our current plant vendor, will be able to assist with our increased plant care needs. We are hoping to gain accreditation with both the American Sanctuary Association (ASA) and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). Construction on the space will begin in May immediately following graduation.

Irwin Library and Bird Sanctuary

Artist’s rendering of new space

 

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Celebration of Scholarship, Research and Creativity Pictures

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By , March 24, 2015 12:00 pm

Butler Libraries and the Butler Institute for Research and Scholarship’s Celebration event was held Wednesday, March 18, 2015. With wine, appetizers, live music, and brief remarks by the Provost, faculty and staff gathered to view each other’s scholarship, creative work, and grant funding over the past year and meet up with colleagues.  It was a welcome break to appreciate and learn of colleague’s professional achievements.

CelebrationCollage

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Remembering Patty Lyons

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By , March 18, 2015 10:42 am

All at Butler Libraries are saddened by the death of our former coworker, Patty Lyons, on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Patty worked as a Cataloging Assistant in Technical Services in the Irwin Library for 33 years and retired in February of 2014. During her time with the library, she processed every new item that entered the collection. Prior to her tenure at Butler, she worked at the Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame. The Lyons’ are tied to Butler University’s history, with Patty’s husband Edwin also working for the university for several years, serving as the Director of the Physical Plant from 1981-1988, and the family residing in the Carter House prior to it becoming the president’s residence.

Patty Lyons

Her obituary can be found here. Patty made a lasting impact on the Butler Libraries and will be greatly missed.

 

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Founder’s Week – Catharine Merrill

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By , February 5, 2015 9:57 am

Founder’s Week – Catharine Merrill

Yesterday we told you about the Ovid Butler‘s daughter Demia, for whom the Demia Butler Chair of English Literature is named. Today we’d like to tell you about the first holder of that chair, Catharine Merrill (1824-1900). Merrill came from a prominent Indiana family, served as a volunteer nurse during the Civil War, was friends with conservationist John Muir, and was an innovator in the classroom, being the first to use the lecture method for courses other than science.  Remembered as providing a model in scholarship and character, she retired from Butler in 1883, but continued teaching privately until shortly before her death. This obituary, published in the June 9, 1900 edition of the national publication The School Journal, shows how influential she was on the community:

Catharine Merrill Obituary

 

Catharine Merrill’s portrait, by Indiana artist T.C. Steele, hangs in Robertson Hall.

Catharine Merrill (1824-1900)

Catharine Merrill (1824-1900)

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University Founder Demia Butler & The University’s Abolitionist-Feminist Beginnings

By , February 4, 2015 9:13 am

University Founder Demia Butler

How much do you know about Founder’s Day at Butler? Demia Butler, the daughter of Ovid Butler, was the first woman to graduate from the full four-year classical studies program in 1862. There were women in the school’s first graduating class in 1856, but prior to 1862 women had graduated from a three-year program. After Demia graduated, the three-year woman’s program was abolished, and all students took the same curriculum.

Demia married in 1866, only to die in 1867 at the age of 25. To honor her memory, her father founded the Demia Butler Chair of English Literature in 1869, the first endowed chair in the U.S. specifically created for a female professor. In establishing the chair, Ovid Butler requested it was “to be filled always and only by a good and competent female professor” for courses “as may be most appropriately taught by female professors”; although in the chair’s 146-year history it has been held – against Ovid Butler’s wishes – twice by male professors. Today the chair is held by English professor Susan Neville.

 

Demia Butler

Demia Butler

 

Abolitionist and Feminist Beginnings

In 1847, abolitionist Disciples of Christ members in Indiana proposed founding a university on free soil. The closest Disciples school, Bethany College, was in Virginia, a slave-holding state. The importance of founding a school with abolitionist values was a primary motivator, as stated by Ovid Butler,

The institution originated in the desire of its founders and early patrons for an institution of learning of the highest class upon free soil, in which their children and the youth of the Northwest might receive a liberal and Christian education, removed, as far as practicable, from the pernicious influences of slavery.

When North Western Christian University opened its doors on November 1, 1855, women and students who had been expelled from Bethany College for their abolitionist beliefs were in the first class. Significantly, from its beginning, NWCU admitted women and students of color, as well as those from all religious backgrounds or none, being nonsectarian from its founding. NWCU was the first college in Indiana and the second in the US to admit women on an equal basis with men.

North Western Christian University at College Ave and 13th Street

North Western Christian University at College Ave and 13th Street

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