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BICENTENNIAL: Four who made a difference: Education

December 12, 2015
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Ora Ellis Butz

1883-1966

Ora E. Butz graduated from Indiana Business College in Logansport in 1905 and in 1916 came to Indianapolis as manager of the college’s Indianapolis branch after serving as manager of Marion Business College. Ten years later, he succeeded founder Charles Cring as president and remained as an officer and director for 40 years. Born and raised on a farm in Cass County, Butz divided his time from 1916 to 1926 between the Marion and Indianapolis campuses of Indiana Business College. He established rigorous standards for graduates, gaining an outstanding reputation for the school among the state’s business community. Indiana Business College pioneered higher and vocational education for female students; by 1916, the student body at the Indianapolis campus was more than half female. In the post-war years, Butz engineered the college’s move from downtown offices to a former church across North Meridian Street from Central Library. Today, the college’s successor, Harrison College, continues to educate students for the workforce from its campus on East Washington Street.•

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Nebraska Cropsey

1846-1916

Nebraska Cropsey was appointed assistant principal for elementary education for the Indianapolis public schools in 1871. She held that position for 43 years and helped define a grade school education for several generations of Indianapolis residents. A Pennsylvania native, she moved to the Hoosier capital city when a young girl and returned to Indianapolis after completing her teacher training in Oswego, New York. In the 1890s, she wrote a widely used arithmetic primer, and she was instrumental in supporting passage of the 1897 Compulsory Education Act through the General Assembly. Cropsey died in the spring of 1916, two years after she retired from the Indianapolis public school system and three years after being awarded an honorary degree by Indiana University. IPS School 22 was named in her honor, and the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation offices are housed in what was for many years known as Cropsey Auditorium.•

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Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle

I898-1992

Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle was one of the most successful coaches in Indiana collegiate sports history. His Butler Bulldogs basketball team won 560 games in nearly 50 years, and he coached Butler University football teams to 171 victories, including undefeated seasons in 1936, 1939, 1959 and 1961. His Butler baseball teams won 325 games during his coaching career. Like any great coach, Hinkle was foremost a teacher. A Logansport native and University of Chicago graduate, Hinkle taught generations of Butler athletes sportsmanship, teamwork and grace under pressure. He installed a motion offense for the Butler basketball team that emphasized picks, screens and passing, and Bob Knight became one of Hinkle’s most passionate students. Butler renamed its hieldhouse, which Hinkle helped open in 1928, for the longtime coach in 1965, and was the model for downtown’s Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Hinkle retired from coaching in 1970 and spent the next 22 years as a special assistant to the president of Butler University. He died in Indianapolis in 1992 at the age of 93.•

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Thomas Carr Howe

1867-1934

A native of Clark County, Thomas Carr Howe came to Indianapolis in 1884 to enroll as a senior preparatory student at then-Butler College in Irvington. Howe graduated with a philosophy degree in 1889, spent a school year teaching Latin and German at Butler, got married, and left for two years of study in Germany at the University of Berlin. He returned to Indianapolis in 1892, when he took the position of Armstrong Professor of Germanic Languages at Butler. Howe took a leave of absence to get his master’s degree in 1896-1897; two years later, he was awarded his doctorate from Harvard University. He returned to Butler as professor of German, but it was his administrative ability that attracted the attention of the board of directors. In 1906, Howe was named to head Butler’s endowment committee, and soon after, was named dean of the college. In 1908, the trustees elected Howe president of Butler, a position he held for 12 years. Following his death, the Indianapolis School Board named Thomas Carr Howe High School in Irvington in his honor.•

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