These past few weeks have been a thrill ride for myself and the other 42,000 Butler alumni across the globe. The sense of pride in our small Midwestern university has been astounding to me. Being a small school (the smallest school to reach the Final Four), we are a close-knit community and we already had a great sense of pride in the years that we spent at Sunset and Hampton.
But then you throw on the excitement of an amazing basketball season for the men’s team – Horizon League champs, No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the third time in the past decade, the Elite 8 for the first time, Western Regional Champs and a road to the Final Four right here in our hometown of Indy, 25 straight wins and a National Runner-Up title. Whew! I, along with countless other alumni, could not be prouder of what this basketball team has done for our school.
This year, the Bulldogs ran with the big dogs, gaining national exposure not only for our incredibly talented men’s basketball team, but also for our academics, fine arts, student life and that powerful mix of tradition and innovation.
After each and every game this March, my Twitter timeline would explode with Butler pride as our community rallied around our school. And after each and every game, that community grew. I had people tweeting me congratulations from across the country. People who had barely even recognized the name of Butler University were jumping on that blue bandwagon. They may have done it because we were the “underdawgs” or because of the hope for that Cinderella story we all hope for, the one which us Butler alum know started in Hinkle Fieldhouse in 1954 with Milan and Bobby Plump. But I believe that it was something a little bit deeper, it was the belief that our school is capable of accomplishing great things. You didn’t have to be a Butler alum during this tournament to begin to understand The Butler Way.
And so I want to thank all of you who stood behind the small school just six miles from Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, the birthplace to many bright, determined students and alumni, and the center of this great community of which I have never been prouder to call myself a member. Go Bulldogs!