Butler University’s College of Business has been renamed the Andre B. Lacy School of Business, in recognition of a $25 million commitment from the Chairman of the Board of Indianapolis-based LDI, Ltd (Lacy Diversified Industries) and his wife, Julia, Butler president James M. Danko announced today. In addition, Lacy will serve as senior adviser to the School of Business.
The gift is Butler’s largest ever from an individual or family.
“The Butler community is deeply grateful to Andre and Julia Lacy for this transformational investment,” said Danko. “This partnership brings together recognized champions of business and education, and will further extend Butler’s national reputation as an innovative, world-class institution.”
“Butler has long been an excellent school and an anchor to the Indianapolis and Central Indiana community,” Lacy said. “But in the last five years, under President Danko’s leadership, I have seen Butler grow into a national player, especially when it comes to the University’s focus on innovation, experiential learning, and outcomes.”
In 2015, Butler was recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the Midwest’s most innovative school, and among the best in the nation for internships, study abroad, and undergraduate research. Just last week, Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranked Butler’s School of Business No. 1 in the nation for internships, and the School’s 2015 graduating class achieved a 99 percent placement rate.
“We hope this investment further establishes the Lacy School of Business — and Butler University overall — as the premier destination for students, faculty, employers, and community partners in Central Indiana and across the country,” Lacy said.
Lacy To Serve As Senior Adviser
Lacy has worked with Butler for more than a decade, serving on the Butler Business Consulting Group Advisory Panel and endowing a student scholarship within the School of Business. As part of this new partnership, Lacy will serve as a direct resource to the Lacy School of Business and Butler University community.
Stephen Standifird, dean of the Lacy School of Business, said that Lacy will be an extraordinary asset to the School as senior adviser. “To do what we do well, we must have a strong group of people in the business community who are willing to advise us on what’s really happening—the dynamics of the marketplace, how we can increase connections with industry, and continue to be relevant,” Standifird said. “I can’t think of anybody better suited for that role than Andre Lacy. He is passionate about closely held business and developing the next generation of business leaders. We share these passions, which makes for a great partnership.”
Lacy said he sees his new role at Butler as an opportunity to pass down what he’s learned and what he knows.
“The adviser role,” he said, “provides that opportunity to share, mentor, and help students see that prospering an entity is bigger than any one individual—and it gives back exponentially to the communities where they live. That’s a desire we see in this generation—to be part of something bigger than themselves, and to be on the ground floor of establishing something that has meaning and value.”
A Differentiated Experience
Two areas of particular focus for Lacy and Standifird will be helping the school build upon its signature experiential approach to teaching and learning, and expanding its focus on closely held businesses. In the School of Business, students create a business plan their first year, launch a company as sophomores, and complete at least two internships before graduation—a series of experiential requirements unmatched in the business school landscape.
Lacy sees these strengths as key to Butler’s differentiation. “Butler’s business program presents two main points of value proposition for the student that differentiate it from Kelley, Krannert, Harvard, and the like,” he said. “The first is focusing on closely held businesses —meaning small businesses and family-owned businesses — which drive the nation’s economy and make up 90 percent of Indiana’s business sector. The second is giving students the real-world experience of working directly with local businesses, seeing first-hand the challenges they face, and learning the art and science of developing and selling solutions that have real value in the business market.”
An Everlasting Alignment
Butler President Danko said Lacy’s approach, which stresses leadership, character, and integrity, strongly aligns with The Butler Way.
“Andre Lacy has demonstrated through his business success, community leadership, and principled life a strong conviction to improving society and the well-being of others,” he said. “The financial commitment from Andre and Julia is extraordinary, but of equal or even greater value will be the everlasting alignment of the Lacy name and Butler University.”