The Davidson (Butler) Way

Posted by Chris Potts | Posted in Athletics, Concepts, Thoughts | Posted on 03-29-2008

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Posted by: Chris Potts, Senior Assistant Director of Admission 

We have a saying here at Butler University, that we frequently use, especially over in the athletic department: “The Butler Way.” Essentially it means that we as a university place a strong emphasis on doing things the right way, in everything we do. We strive to represent ourselves and the Butler and broader Indianapolis community in the best manner possible. Or, more specifically, “The Butler Way demands commitment, denies selfishness, accepts reality yet seeks improvement everyday while putting the team above self.” Consider this clever slogan a way to encourage altruistic behavior and inspire people to want and expect greatness. In a way (no pun intended) this has become our new branding catch phrase, almost by default. And it’s working.

I don’t know if anyone reading this has picked up on the story about Davidson College, a small liberal arts school located in North Carolina. Obviously if you’re living anywhere than under a rock you know that Davidson shocked the athletic world yesterday by demolishing big-ten powerhouse Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. And sweet it was – especially for all those Davidson fans present at the game.

So how many fans of a school located in North Carolina, with a total student population of 1,700, would make the trip to Detroit to watch this game? Well, as it turns out, LOTS.

In one of the best college athletics stories in a long time, in my opinion, Davidson College decided to let ANY of its students go the game in Detroit to support THEIR team. So what’s the big deal, you ask? Well the college paid all expenses for any student who wanted to go to the game: ticket, transportation, and lodging. Wow! (see http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=3315722&sportCat=ncb&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos2) for the complete story. And I think a big part of Davidson’s success last night was because of their fan support at the game and the inspiring story that resulted: a university totally in support of their mission, their success, and their students. Sure, athletics is a terrific way to galvanize support for a school and through winning ways promote school pride. But what the Davidson College administrators did here was show the world that they CARE about their students and their school, and believe in who they are. I don’t know too many other schools who would do such a thing. Granted, they are a small school who probably has the funds to offer this – and they are not a school who you’re going to see do this well in the tournament that often – but the fact remains that they took a bold step and said to their basketball team and their university: “we care.” Consider it an extension of Butler: “The Davidson Way.”

I’m surprised this story hasn’t gotten more attention, but hopefully other colleges and universities will read about this, and let it truly soak in. What an awesome way to give attention your school but ultimately, to show an act of goodwill and appreciation for the hard work and dedication of several young men who play their hearts out on the hard court. It’s refreshing to know that there are still these kinds of stories out there. Let’s keep it up.

Comments posted (3)

Very Cool!

I hadn’t heard this story at all. I bet it helps to have a 400 million endowment.

oops!

Scratch that part about the endowment, I just finished reading the ESPN link.

the expenses for the students were paid by the trustees out of their personal wallets.

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