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Student pianist wins statewide competition



UIndy senior Kevin Ellenberger came away with one of the top honors at the Music Teachers National Association State Performance Competitions, held Saturday at Ball State University.

Ellenberger’s 30-minute performance of selections by C.P.E. Bach, Kodaly, Messiaen and Shostakovich won the piano category in the Collegiate/Young Artist division for ages 19-26. The piano performance and finance major from New Palestine will proceed to MTNA’s East-Central Division competition in January at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, on his way (hopefully) to the national finals in March in Las Vegas.

Another UIndy student, junior James Loughery, earned honorable mention in the same category of Saturday’s competition with his performance of J.S. Bach, Liszt, Debussy, Poulenc and Michael Schelle.

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Pastors, author to discuss same-sex marriage

What does the Bible really say about same-sex marriage? Eighty United Methodist Church pastors have registered for a Dec. 3 conference at UIndy to discuss that very question, and the morning keynote presentation is open to the campus community and the public.

The topic is undoubtedly controversial, says event organizer Michael Cartwright, dean of Ecumenical & Interfaith Programs at UIndy and himself an ordained UMC elder. That’s why he titled the conference Can We Talk? The Bible and Same-Sex Marriage, hoping to spark a positive dialogue that looks beyond easy answers.

“You don’t have to agree with one another, but you can learn from the conversation,” Cartwright says.



The open session from 10 to 11:20 a.m. in McCleary Chapel will feature Mark Achtemeier, a Presbyterian minister and author of The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart. Achtemeier’s presentation will be followed by brief responses from Cartwright and colleague Perry Kea, both associate professors in UIndy’s Department of Philosophy & Religion, reflecting their scholarly perspectives. Attendees who are not registered for the overall conference will be welcome to remain in the chapel afterward for further discussion.

The conference will continue with lunch, an afternoon panel discussion and other activities for registered participants. The conference is at capacity, and registration is closed.

More information is available from Dr. Cartwright at

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5 questions: Obama’s immigration action

President Barack Obama’s new executive action on immigration, announced Thursday night, is neither the overreach his opponents have criticized nor the sweeping move some supporters have hailed, says a political science professor at the University of Indianapolis.



As a practical matter, the significance of the new, temporary protections for certain undocumented immigrants is more political than tangible and probably will attract far fewer participants than estimated, says Assistant Professor Maryam Stevenson, who has more than nine years’ experience as an immigration attorney.

The president’s announcement was not surprising, she says, given that immigration is emerging as a key issue among the American public, one on which Congress has been unable to make progress.

“The president was making more of a political statement than anything else,” Stevenson says. “It gave him an opportunity to go in front of the American people and kind of look like a hero (to his political base). He looks like the good guy, and Congress looks like the bad guy.”

We asked Stevenson to explain further.

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Pro Edge event explores business of sports

Reinbold eventAuto dealer, racing team owner and UIndy alum and trustee Dennis Reinbold addresses students, faculty and alumni Wednesday during a Professional Edge Center networking event at the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Shop.

Students and young alumni interested in “The Business of Sports” enjoyed some firsthand perspective Wednesday from key local leaders in the field.

The dinner, discussion and networking event, sponsored by UIndy’s Professional Edge Center, took place at the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Shop and featured Anucha Browne, vice president of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships; Kelly Krauskopf, president and general manager of the Indiana Fever; Ersal Ozdemir, president/CEO of Keystone Construction, owner/founder of the Indy Eleven soccer team and member of the UIndy Board of Trustees; Dennis Reinbold, president/CEO of Dreyer & Reinbold, as well as a UIndy alumnus and trustee; and Joel Zawacki, also a UIndy alum and director of Corporate Sales & Marketing for the Indianapolis Indians.

Wednesday’s event followed a similar Professional Edge networking opportunity Nov. 13 at the Columbia Club, this one aimed at student leaders and those interested in public service careers. The panelists included former Senator Richard Lugar, now a distinguished professor of Political Science and International Relations at UIndy; Jeff Mitchell, lead sales professional for Airwatch and a former Greyhound quarterback; Ryan Vaughn, president of the Indiana Sports Corp.; and Indiana State Rep. Justin Moed.

The Professional Edge Center works with local employers and professionals to develop internship, mentorship, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for students and recent graduates. The center also seeks to create career pipelines in entrepreneurship and in business sectors that are important to the Indiana economy and tied to UIndy’s academic programs and expertise. More information on the Professional Edge Center is available at

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Student-Directed Productions open tonight

It’s that time of year again, when students in the Department of Theatre get to call the shots and bring their classroom learning to the stage.

The annual Student-Directed Productions will debut with a free sneak preview tonight before officially opening for public performances Friday through Sunday and again Dec. 4-6 in Studio Theatre on the lower level of Esch Hall. All performances begin at 8 p.m.

This year’s offerings, generally single-act plays or portions of longer plays, include:

  • A Kind of Alaska by Harold Pinter, directed by senior Elise Campagna
  • Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., directed by senior Anna Wieseman
  • The Maids by Jean Genet, directed by senior India Van Camp
  • Dog Sees God by Bert V. Royal, directed by senior Daryl Hollonquest Jr.

Each features a student cast and an army of students and faculty working behind the scenes. Involved in all four productions are sophomore Michelle Trayweek, sound designer; senior Cassie Cutshaw, scenic designer; junior Connor Avery, production technical director; and sophomore Kayla Carroll, production stage manager.

As always, admission is free to UIndy students, faculty and staff with campus ID. For others, tickets are $12 general; $10 for alumni, seniors, groups and non-UIndy students with ID. The Dec. 4 performance is a Half-Price Second Thursday, with regular tickets at just $6.

More information on this year’s Department of Theatre season is available here.

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Health care advocacy program is state’s first

Degree will prepare professionals to guide patients through system

Watch WXIN-Fox59 story

A new bachelor’s degree at the University of Indianapolis is designed to fill an urgent need in the health care industry: helping patients to navigate it.

The Health Care Consumer Advocacy program is the first in the state designed to prepare graduates for careers supporting and promoting the rights and needs of patients and their families in a changing and often confusing marketplace.

Health care consumer advocates work in settings that include hospitals, medical practices, insurance companies, long-term care facilities and public and nonprofit agencies, often under such titles as “patient care coordinator,” “patient case manager” or “client services manager.” Traditionally, these roles have been filled by nurses and social workers who have to learn on the job about the complexities of financial management, information technology and industry policy and terminology.

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OK, so they didn’t catch a comet, but …

space image 2014 - webThis still image from an on-board video camera shows the latest UIndy science balloon at the peak of its flight, nearly 18 miles above Earth’s surface.

Watch flight video

The world has been abuzz this week over the amazing images captured by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, which traveled for 10 years through space and landed a probe on the bizarre, duck-shaped Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Less widely known, but still pretty cool, are the latest images captured by UIndy’s own space agency — the Department of Physics & Earth-Space Science — during its high-altitude balloon launch on Homecoming Day, Oct. 25.

This was the 13th such launch by the department, which has been sending up two or three balloons a year since 2009, department chair Steve Spicklemire says. The latest was for a course in astronomy and laboratory instrumentation, and it carried seven self-contained experiment pods prepared by students for the flight. According to an on-board GPS tracker, the payload reached a height of 93,360 feet — nearly 18 miles — before the balloon popped as planned and the assembly spiraled wildly back to earth, landing in a tree in Kentucky’s Big Bone Lick State Park.

You can follow the entire two-hour, 20-minute flight on this video, which shows the balloon lifting off from campus and rising to the very edge of space before beginning its descent. (CAUTION: The camera motion may cause discomfort in viewers prone to wooziness.)

The next UIndy balloon launch will be this spring, for a meteorology class.

balloon flight pathThis map shows the ground path of the latest UIndy balloon flight, which began on campus and ended two hours later in Kentucky’s Big Bone Lick State Park.

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Fifth Third Bank funds student loan initiative

Fifth Third Bank Greater Indiana is awarding a $100,000 grant to the University of Indianapolis from the Charles E. Schell Foundation, Fifth Third Trustee, to provide interest-free educational loans to help UIndy students fulfill their dreams of a college education.

fifth third logoFifth Third Region President and CEO Steven Alonso will join UIndy President Robert Manuel for a brief ceremony recognizing the grant at approximately 3:45 p.m. Saturday in Key Stadium, just prior to the UIndy football game.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to essentially create a revolving student loan fund at the University of Indianapolis,” Alonso said. “Charles Schell, the trust’s founder, insisted that students understand their moral obligation to repay the loan, which allows recipients to help future students in need.”

The unique “pay it forward” conditions established by Schell provide that when award recipients repay the funds, they create opportunities for additional students to benefit from the generosity of the Schell Foundation and Fifth Third Bank. The repaid funds go toward interest-free educational assistance loans for new students.

“Not only will this loan fund provide crucial support for students who otherwise might not be able to complete their degrees, but it also will enable those recipients to take part in an ongoing cycle of support for future students,” President Manuel said. “It’s an innovative approach with tangible benefits for the community, thanks to a great ongoing partnership between Fifth Third Bank and the University of Indianapolis.”

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Event tonight celebrates Burmese culture

The culture of our city’s Burmese immigrant community – at least 9,000 strong and growing, especially on the Southside – is the focus of a student-organized public event tonight at UIndy.

map-burmaPerforming arts, food, children’s games and guest speakers are all part of “Engaging & Celebrating the Burmese of Central Indiana,” which will run from 6 to 8 p.m. in Schwitzer Student Center. Part of this year’s Spirit & Place Festival, the free event is sponsored by the university and the Burmese American Community Institute.

Students from UIndy’s Experience Design program led the planning, in collaboration with Kinesiology majors and students from a Community Service Learning course who also will assist with the execution.

“This is really driven by the students of the university and the residents of Perry Township,” says Marianna Foulkrod, director of Service Learning & Community Engagement. “We talked about designing an experience to celebrate not just the people of Burma, but also the people of Indianapolis who have worked together with them.”

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Nov. 20 CAC workshop to explore elder abuse

CAC buttonProfessionals who work with older adults – and students who plan to — can learn how to combat elder abuse at an upcoming workshop presented by the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community.

“Helping Professionals Prevent Elder Abuse & Neglect” is scheduled 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Wheeler Arts Community, 1035 Sanders St. in Fountain Square. The cost is $20, or $10 for UIndy students, which includes continental breakfast and lunch.

Elder abuse and neglect is an increasing concern as the population ages. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 2.1 million adults age 65 and older are victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation each year.

At the workshop, part of CAC’s “Helping Professionals” series, participants will learn how to recognize and prevent multiple forms of elder abuse, including physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and financial abuse, as well as neglect and self-neglect.

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