Dr. Marylouise Fennell, Past Chair, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees
Steve Butler is an extraordinary educator and a gifted administrator. His sense of fairness, his loyalty, his concern for students and faculty are second to none. As former Chair of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Board of Trustees, I know first-hand of the faith and trust that the Board had and have in Steve Butler.
George L. Pry, Executive Vice President Pittsburgh Technical Institute
As President of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh from 1999 through 2010, I had the pleasure of working alongside with Steve Butler as he held a variety of educational leadership roles. Steve is the kind of individual that is always willing to step up to the plate – no matter the job or the time commitment. If it could benefit the college and more importantly the faculty and the students – Steve did it.
What is so special about Steve is that he combines true knowledge of educational leadership with a wonderful sense and understanding of student success and what it takes to make great graduates. He is always focused on the needs of the faculty and manages the complexities of the whole organization, academic, financial, recruitment and operational goals and objectives.
On a personal level, Steve was a trusted colleague and true sounding board – never afraid to point out new ways of doing things or to convince me to change a course of action when there was a better way. Steve Butler has always proven to exemplify what you can expect of a true leader.
Jenna Templeton, Ed.D, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Chatham University
I had the distinct pleasure of working with Steve for many years at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He is a truly wonderful colleague. He has the ability to separate work from personal, to see situations objectively, and to always work to find the solution that best meets the needs of the students and the institution. I miss working with Steve, so I am glad we are also friends and will always find opportunities to work together.
Angela Jedrzejek, Graduate
Steve Butler has impacted my creative life by introducing me to the world of design through his work as a compassionate and respectful educator. In a profound way, Mr. Butler unveiled all of the possibilities available to a visual thinker simply by showing his students the proper tools, and gently guiding us along the path of self-discovery. His classic teaching style matched his timeless design style, and to this day, his work influences my own preference for the sophisticated and subtle.
Jacob Thomas, Graduate
Illustrator, New York Magazine, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Forbes Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, GQ, Atlantic Monthly, the Boston Globe and Newsweek
Steve Butler was always available. He cared about the students and expected a great deal of himself and of each of us. It made me want to do better for him and I never wanted to let him down. He was a leader and he set the bar high which is something that I think has rubbed off on me.
Richard Johnson, Graduate
Mr. Steve Butler isn’t just a good teacher, or even a great teacher…it’s something more special than that. He is the kind of teacher that you remember forever for the impact that they had on your life and education.
Jesse Vader, Graduate, Vice President of ocreations
Although I did not realize it at the time, my life was permanently altered during my years spent at AIP. The encouragement, support and creative freedom that was given me by the leadership of Steve Butler allowed me to focus my wayward energy and blossom as an artist. He helped me to build the confidence that was necessary to keep pushing myself to the outer limits of my potential. Steve would listen intently when we would speak, and he made me feel like I really had something to offer the world through my talent. He was always approachable, never too busy for my questions – and as a young, vulnerable artist, I always felt welcome in his presence. For this, I am truly grateful, and I will never take my time spent with Steve for granted.
Lee Colker, Former Vice President, Senior Director of Admissions, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Steve has always been the glue between recruitment efforts and academics. He genuinely understands the perspective of the prospective student and helps managers and faculty to see the value behind supporting recruitment events. He is a great communicator and always effectively provides training for admissions staff. His natural ability to see the needs and perspectives of all constituents make him so highly effective in his leadership role. Steve’s fun, open and warm personality also made him such a joy to work with.
Alberta Certo, Director, Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness,Chatham University
Steve Butler has consistently been committed to the success of AIP’s students both in the classroom and in the community. He initiated countless programs during his tenure with the college to ensure the success of all students, probably one of the most notable was his initiation of the classroom and real work experience learning environment known at the Design Studio. Here, students had an opportunity to practice their skills and work with clients in a studio setting simulating what they might encounter as graduates. This project was so special to Steve that it became the core of his graduate studies and doctoral research. He has maintained a thoughtful and clearly focused work ethic and always approached each project while at the school with passion and dedication.
Shawn O’Mara, Faculty Member, Graphic Design, President of ocreations
Designer, Educator and Tour Guide…In my life, there have been a few key people who have helped guide me along my career path. Steve Butler was one of my professional guides. If it were not for Steve, I would not be a full-time instructor at AIP and would probably not have my agency, ocreations. Steve showed me how to blend the worlds of education and industry together.
Mike Zappone, Former Academic Department Director, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
When I think of Steve the words that come immediately to mind are: Integrity, Patience, Diplomatic andTactful, all important traits of a good leader. He is knowledgeable and never self-serving. He had the ability to deliver “bad” news to you in a way you felt good about receiving it – he had empathy for the situation in which you may have been placed, but never left you hanging, and never left a problem unresolved. Steve is the ultimate team player and he was always willing to help you work out the details and solutions to the problem.
Mark Bender, Faculty Member, Graphic Design
More than a dozen years ago, Steve hired me and gave an inexperienced teacher an opportunity that changed my life in so many ways for the better. He has always been there in good times and bad, and shown true leadership with poise under pressure. Steve has always been able to balance friendship and professionalism, not just getting the best out his faculty, but what is best for each individual with compassion and heartfelt concern.
Mike Malle, Faculty Member, Graphic Design
Steve is the consummate professional when it comes to faculty. Whether work related or personal issues, he shows the faculty the utmost respect for their given talents. It has been a pleasure to work beside, and for Steve, and I will always consider him a friend.
Nadine Josephs, Former Vice President, Dean of Student Affairs, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
One of Steve’s favorite events at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is our new student orientation and he frequently tells the students that during his segment. One of my favorite events is also orientation because I look forward to listening to Steve talk to the students. He has the natural ability to speak from his heart and he inspires the students. Because of Steve, a few more reach a little further for the “stars” because they can identify with him.
Kathy Bowers, Administrative Staff Professional, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Steve is a good friend, an excellent instructor, a good Dean, and a steady advocate for student and teacher alike. He’s learned to balance the needs of the customer with the needs of the corporation and has earned the trust and admiration of his co- workers. The insight and wisdom he’s delivered over the past 15 years can not be over-estimated.
Kelly Spewock, Academic Department Director, Interior Design
Everyone goes to Steve for advice. One of the qualities I admire most about Steve is his ability to recognize that everyone needs to work differently in order to achieve success.Steve believes in my abilities and in turn, I never want to disappoint him, so I work harder. Most of all – Steve has a sense of humor. Through simple encouragement, a little tough love and by example, Steve has pushed me to be a better and stronger manager. I am grateful.
Andres Tapia Urzua, Former Academic Department Director, Digital Filmmaking & Media Production
Steve’s good nature, confidence and experience have provided a more sensible working environment within our community. He is a leader who welcomes professional growth with freedom, creativity and understanding. His ability to listen, laugh and be everywhere assisting others is admirable. Steve values challenges and responsibilities towards a common goal of excellence; his energy, trust and generosity are what I value most. I thank him for his guidance, friendship and adventurous spirit.
Jeff Braun, Former Graduation Coordinator, Executive Assistant to the President
In the 91 year history of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, there are names, like John Johns, Henry Koener, Inez Hall, or George Pry, names that you just have to say and people know their impact on this institution. Steve Butler is one of those names. There is not a major initiative at AiP in the past 15 years that Steve did not impact in some way. For me personally, what I appreciate most about Steve is his leadership style. His way of listening to others and always remaining level headed, along with his ability to always see the big picture is unmatched.
Angela Love, Faculty Member, Media Arts & Animation
Smart & tireless, Steve builds trust across all constituents. Steve Butler is a rare academic and administrative leader with the ability to think like his faculty because he’s been one. Faculty trust him; his attitude was ever, “I’m here to help you.”
Don Gabany, Faculty Member, Digital Filmmaking & Media Production
Steve conveys strength and dignity in his contacts with students, faculty, and staff.
He is very approachable when colleagues have any concern because he cares deeply
and connects with everyone. Steve has never lost his passion for creatively communicating his ideas from his teaching days that have served him admirably on the administrative side.
Trish Thomas, Academic Advisor
Steve Butler is both the heart and the soul of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. His passion and dedication for the students, faculty and staff is an inspiration. I would not be where I am today without his support for me and I will always be grateful.
Andy Maietta, Faculty Member, Digital Filmmaking & Media Production
Steve has always demonstrated a commitment to higher learning. His dedication to the college’s mission has been instrumental in AIP’s progress as a leader in arts education. Personally it’s been gratifying to work with a well-respected colleague who finds time in a busy schedule to listen to and address concerns of students and faculty.
David Dibella, Alumni Coordinator, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh (retired)
If Steve Butler were a bumper sticker it would read: Expect a little, get a little; expect a lot and get a lot. Steve expects quite a bit from the faculty, staff and students he supervises, but even more from himself. Regardless of what hat he is wearing, and there are many, Steve strives to be constructive, compassionate and fair. Even if you don’t get the answer you want, you can be certain your concerns are not being lightly dismissed.
Steve excels in development of programs and his successes include the creation of a professional level honor’s studio for graphic design students; the elevation of a faculty exhibit that went from an afterthought to a major event in the college’s gallery calendar; facilitating the faculty and curriculum components of the Art Institute’s successful accreditation by Middle States, and so much more. You would be hard pressed to find someone in a position of such responsibility who garners both the affection and respect given universally to Steve by his faculty and students. It is well earned and very much deserved.