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By Gracie Phillips, KVML 2020 Summer Intern

The third installment of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML) virtual graduation parties opened with a welcome and introduction from co-sponsors CEO and Founder Julia Whitehead and Dan Simon of Seven Stories Press.

Julia Whitehead of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

“Kurt would’ve loved . . . the Kurt Vonnegut Museum. It’s a quirky place,” Simon said of KVML. “And it’s also just full of life and keeping his legacy alive.”

Tuesday’s graduation ceremony featured Paul Auster, Lewis Black, A’lelia Bundles, Suzanne McConnell, Ryan North, and Mark Vonnegut reading Vonnegut’s 1999 speech “How Music Cures Our Ills (and there are a lot of them)” to graduates of Agnes Scott College, a private women’s school in Decatur, Georgia. Special guest Dan Wakefield, editor of the book of Vonnegut speeches If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?, said a few words to celebrate the graduates, as well. The book is available at the KVML gift shop and makes a great present for this year’s graduating class.

After the reading, musician Ethan Hodes played “Back Home Again in Indiana” on the trumpet, followed by “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” a piece Hodes mentioned he’s “sure Kurt would’ve heard back in the day.” Mariah Murray, a 2020 graduate from Anderson University read the poem “Aspiration” by Henrietta Cordelia Ray.

Mariah Murray, an Anderson University 2020 grad, read a poem at the graduation ceremony.

After the interlude, twenty names of graduating seniors as near as Indiana University and as far as Glasgow, Scotland, were read by comedian Lewis Black.

Lewis Black

Simon also wished the graduates well and concluded, “Kurt Vonnegut is here with you, with us, and thank you everyone for being here tonight. Best wishes to the graduates and to the path ahead.”

This is Black’s third time participating in the graduation parties. He returns Tuesday, May 26, for the fourth and final installment of the KVML virtual graduations. Special guests will include actor Matt Dillon, musical duo Kat Wallace and David Sasso, writer Lee Stringer (who collaborated with Vonnegut on the book, Like Shaking Hands with God),  influencer and KVML board member Terrian Barnes, Steve Campbell with the Indianapolis Colts, journalist David Brancaccio, singer Judy Pancoast, and comedian Scott Long. Tickets can be purchased here on Eventbrite. Join us!



Kathi Badertscher, PhD

Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Kathi Badertscher, PhD, is Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Dr. Badertscher teaches a variety of BA, MA, and doctoral courses, including Applying Ethics in Philanthropy and History of Philanthropy. She has participated in several Teaching Vonnegut workshops and is a member of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. Dr. Badertscher has been a guest speaker on ethics in philanthropy, including at the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners – Indianapolis Council; Association of Fundraising Professionals – Indiana Chapter; and Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, Tianjin, China. In 2019 she received IUPUI Office for Women, Women’s Leadership Award for Newcomer Faculty. In 2019 and 2020 she received the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Graduate Teaching Award.
Dr. Badertscher’s publications include “Fundraising for Advocacy and Social Change,” co-authored with Shariq Siddiqui in Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, 5th ed., 2022; “Insulin at 100: Indianapolis, Toronto, Woods Hole, and the ‘Insulin Road,’ co-authored with Christopher Rutty, Pharmacy in History (2020); and three articles in the Indiana Magazine of History: “A New Wishard Is on the Way,” “Evaline Holliday and the Work of Community Service,” and “Social Networks in Indianapolis during the Progressive Era.” Her chapters on social welfare history will appear in three upcoming edited volumes on the history of philanthropy, including “The Legacy of Edna Henry and Her Contributions to the IU School of Social Work,” Women at Indiana University: Views of the Past and the Future, edited by Andrea Walton, Indiana University Press, 2022 (forthcoming). Dr. Badertscher is also the Philanthropy and Nonprofits Consulting Editor for the forthcoming Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer and Elizabeth Van Allen, Indiana University Press, 2021. Dr. Badertscher is an active volunteer in the Indianapolis community. At present, she is a Coburn Place Safe Haven Board Member and a Children’s Bureau/Families First Brand and Marketing Advisor. Dr. Badertscher holds the MA in History from Indiana University and the MA and PhD in philanthropic studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

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