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Students recognized for leadership and service

senior awards 2015

Vice President and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli, left, presents leadership awards during Sunday’s eighth annual Recognition Banquet in UIndy Hall.

Students and campus organizations that have distinguished themselves through service and leadership were honored Sunday night at the eighth annual Recognition Banquet in Schwitzer Student Center’s UIndy Hall.

Among the awards presented was the Outstanding Senior Leadership Award, recognizing 10 members of the Class of 2015 nominated by faculty, staff and fellow students for their selfless contributions both on and off campus throughout their time at UIndy. This year’s recipients, along with their hometowns and fields of study, are:

Brooke Boyts, Goshen, Pre-Art Therapy/Psychology
Boyts has been a resident assistant, research assistant, peer leader, admissions representative, student-athlete and active volunteer.

Hayley Good, Valencia, Calif., Communication
Good has served as Student Athlete Advisory Committee President, student ambassador, board member for several campus organizations and account manager for the student-run PR agency Top Dog Communications.

Elizabeth Hale, Brownsburg, Master of Business Administration
Hale has served in multiple internships and has been a peer tutor and active member of Biz Hounds, Student Business Leadership Academy and the Circle K service group. Read more »

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UIndy senior to publish debut YA novel

Watch UIndy TV5 interview

Francesca Zappia’s Made You Up set for national release May 19

Author Francesca Zappia

Author Francesca Zappia

Hardly talking by age 3, Francesca Zappia was screened for autism.

“The teacher doing the testing said that I was the lowest-functioning child she had ever seen,” says Zappia, apparently just a late bloomer. Now she’s a Dean’s List senior at UIndy, graduating May 2 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, minoring in Mathematics.

If she seems distracted on commencement day, she might be thinking ahead to May 19, when her debut novel, a quirky and thoughtful teen mystery titled Made You Up, will be released nationally in 448-page hardcover by a subsidiary of big-league HarperCollins Publishers. The Greenwillow Books imprint specializes in Young Adult fiction, or YA, the genre popularized by such mega-selling writers as J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins and Indianapolis’ own John Green.

The national marketing push includes print and online advertising, a social media campaign and outreach to librarians and educators. And Zappia, a 22-year-old Franklin Central High School grad, already has deals for translations to be published in Germany, Brazil, Taiwan and several other nations. She will mark the launch date with a 7 p.m. reading and book-signing event at the Barnes & Noble in Greenwood Park Mall.

Already, Zappia and her book have been included in the Huffington Post’s “16 of the Most Anticipated YA Debuts Due Out in the First Half of 2015,” the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog’s “15 Most-Anticipated YA Debuts of 2015” and Pop Crush’s “15 Authors to Watch in 2015.”

Read more »

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Kudos to Greyhounds: baseball and business



UIndy sophomore Jordan Tackett has been named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II National Pitcher of the Week after throwing a no-hitter Saturday against McKendree.

Tackett, a Finance major and Perry Meridian High School grad, struck out six and walked two to help the Hounds shut out the Bearcats 5-0.

Now 20-15 (16-8 in the GLVC), UIndy leads the GLVC East Division. This weekend the Greyhounds are in Louisville, playing doubleheaders today and Saturday against archrivals Bellarmine. Read more about the team here.

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Assistant Professor Mark Akers of the School of Business is being honored among the Top 50 alumni of the Doermer School of Business at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The honor recognizes alumni who “have made a difference through their careers in the business world, through involvement in our community, or devotion to the public sector or not-for profit fields.”

Akers certainly fits the description, having worked in the banking industry and then serving as Director of Public Works for the City of Fort Wayne and later as Director of Economic Development for the State of Indiana under Gov. Bob Orr, leading a group that created 75,000 new jobs for the state and sparked an additional 150,000 spin-off jobs during the 1980s.

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Professor, students honored at Pacers game

Pacers jumbotronFrom left, College of Health Sciences Dean Stephanie Kelly, Associate Professor Stephanie Combs-Miller and President Robert Manuel step into the spotlight Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse during UIndy Night at the Pacers.

The Indiana Pacers’ playoff hopes are still alive after last night’s 99-95 double-overtime win over the Washington Wizards, and who can disprove that a key factor was the enthusiastic presence of 100 UIndy students and 100 alumni and their families?

Tuesday was UIndy Night at the Pacers, an evening of festivities that included on-court recognition of accomplished faculty and students. Before the game, President Robert Manuel and College of Health Sciences Dean Stephanie Kelly took the floor with Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Stephanie Combs-Miller to recognize her groundbreaking research with stroke patients, which recently has attracted nearly $200,000 in grant support.

At halftime of the sold-out game in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Manuel and Associate Vice President Corey Wilson of Undy’s Professional Edge Center brought out two graduating seniors to be honored. Communication/Public Relations major Amber Derrow has just accepted a position as social media coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts. Communication/Electronic Media major Jordan Beasley is wrapping up an internship with the Pacers and soon will join WGN-TV as associate director of home broadcasts for the Chicago White Sox.

Pacers studentsAppearing midcourt at halftime are graduating seniors Jordan Beasley and Amber Derrow, flanked by President Manuel and Associate Vice President Corey Wilson of UIndy’s Professional Edge Center.

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Music students donate their time for IPS contest

About 700 Indianapolis Public Schools students will have a chance to put their musical talents to the test today, thanks to some of UIndy’s own music students.

The campus chapter of the National Association for Music Education is sending 22 members to Northwest High School this afternoon to serve as adjudicators for the IPS/Indiana State School Music Association Solo & Ensemble Contest for grades 5-8. The UIndy students receive special training from ISSMA and volunteer their time for the contest. This is the sixth consecutive year the UIndy chapter has provided the service.



“It provides invaluable professional development, as well as experience in the field, doing what they will be asked to do as professionals,” says Dr. Brenda Clark, chair of the Department of Music.

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Students set for annual neighborhood cleanup

cleanupJust like a home, any neighborhood can benefit from a good spring cleaning, and the area around campus will get its turn this week, thanks to a horde of UIndy volunteers.

More than 100 students and staffers already are signed up for this year’s Great UIndy Cleanup, which will send work crews Saturday morning to sites including the University Heights neighborhood, University Heights United Methodist Church, the Montessori Garden Academy and the Historic Hannah House. The annual event is another example of UIndy’s “Education for Service” motto in action.

The day begins with check-in, registration and breakfast from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m. in UIndy Hall before the crews head out to the designated sites for more than two hours of picking up trash, raking leaves and performing other outdoor chores. Walk-in registration is available, too.

How are you spending your Saturday morning?

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Theatre: Classic tale gets a classic rock twist

Eurydice - webFreshman Luke Garrigus and senior Elise Campagna are the tragic lovers of Eurydice, opening next week in Ransburg Auditorium.

Ancient Greek myth gets a mind-bending update in UIndy’s production of Eurydice, which begins its run with a free sneak preview next Thursday.

The 2003 play by Sarah Ruhl retells the legend of the musician-prophet Orpheus and his journey through the underworld by focusing on his doomed wife, Eurydice. The New York Times called it “weird and wonderful … an inexpressibly moving theatrical fable about love, loss and the pleasures and pains of memory.”

Our Department of Theatre is taking the adaptation even further by incorporating, through recordings and live performance, classic rock hits suited to the themes and setting.

“It’s a bit radical,” says Director of Theatre Brad Wright, promising a spectacle of projections, lighting and sound effects, electric guitar and an elaborate set that includes a working elevator.

Read more »

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Ethics panel features state health care experts

A panel discussion Monday on campus will feature three experts discussing Indiana’s health care system from an ethical perspective.

Presented by the Department of Philosophy & Religion and the College of Arts & Sciences, the event will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday in Schwitzer 013.

The featured panelists on the topics of justice, the Affordable Care Act and the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 will be:

  • Professor David Orentlicher, former state representative and co-director of the Hall Center for Law and Health at the IU School of Law
  • Rebecca Seifert, executive director of the Genesserat Free Clinic
  • Dr. John Wernert, Indiana’s Secretary of Family and Social Services.

The evening will conclude with a Q&A session.

A related event next Thursday will be a screening and discussion of How to Die in Oregon, a documentary about physician-assisted suicide. The movie begins at 7 p.m. in Schwitzer 010.

Both events are eligible for L/P credit. For more information, contact Dr. Peter Murphy at

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On the air: Jazz Week and the business of sport



Director of Jazz Studies Freddie Mendoza was a guest on the latest episode of WFYI’s The Art of the Matter to talk about the eighth annual UIndy Jazz Week, which starts today and continues through Saturday with nightly concerts featuring students as well as top local and national players.

Mendoza, who took over the Jazz Studies program last fall upon the retirement of founder Harry Miedema, also discussed the value of the program and his plans for its future. Listen to the interview with co-host Travis DiNicola here.

By the way, Jazz Week is No. 2 on the Indianapolis Star’s list of “21 best things to do in April.” Read more about the artists and schedule here.

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Professor Larry DeGaris of the School of Business was a guest on WIBC radio Saturday afternoon for a live discussion on the economic impact of major sporting events such as the Final Four, the role that sport has played in revitalizing the city of Indianapolis and the effect of corporate influence on sports. Listen to an excerpt here.

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Wheeler art exhibition features UIndy faculty

Pennell photo

Untitled by Greta Pennell

Some UIndy folks are marking the advent of spring with a multimedia art exhibit opening Friday at Wheeler Arts Community in Fountain Square.

A Breath of Fresh Art features paintings by Tim Maher, professor of Sociology; ceramics by Sandra Maher, adjunct faculty member in Nursing; and photography by former student Marikay Kapke as well as Greta Pennell, associate professor of Teacher Education. As the title hints, the show has been assembled around a nature theme to celebrate the change of seasons.

An opening reception is scheduled 6 to 9 p.m. Friday as part of the Indianapolis Artists and Dealers Association’s monthly First Friday citywide arts tour. Singer-songwriter Jim Pennell, associate professor of Sociology, will provide music.

The work will hang through April 30 in the Wheeler classroom/gallery, which is open noon to 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at 1035 Sanders St.

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