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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Julia Whitehead [email protected] (317) 652-1954 or Ruth Weiner [email protected] (914) 309-8570

Live Virtual Unceremonious Graduation Party, Vonnegut Style!

Vonnegut style grad parties will take place each Tuesday in May on Zoom. Tickets are available on Eventbrite. 

May 4, 2020. In celebration of the graduating class of 2020, the Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library and Seven Stories Press will co-host a series of live graduation events on Tuesdays in May. Each event will feature a roundtable reading of one of the many commencement speeches Kurt Vonnegut delivered during his lifetime that are newly collected in the paperback edition of If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?, edited by Dan Wakefield. 

The party kicks off on May 5th at 7:00 pm with author Jacqueline Woodson, actor Tony Shalhoub, and comedian Lewis Black along with graduating high school senior Ricco Schuster reading from the commencement address, “The Terrible Disease of Loneliness Can Be Cured!” with poet and performance artist Manon Voice and musicians Charlie Ballantine and Amanda Gardier also performing. Black will read the names of attendees who are graduating seniors during the program. 

May 5th is also #GivingTuesdayNow, a new day of global giving and unity in response to COVID-19, and tickets and other donations will go toward supporting the KVML. A portion of the proceeds from sales of If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? during the event will also go to the Vonnegut Library. 

The Tuesday, May 12th event will feature Russell Banks, David Brancaccio, and the book’s editor, Dan Wakefield, among others. Tuesday, May 19th will feature Paul Auster and Kurt’s son Mark Vonnegut with more to come. Visit or for updated information about the forthcoming graduation events. 

Additionally Ed Battista, owner of Bluebeard restaurant in Indianapolis, IN, has created a signature cocktail and mocktail recipe for these special events. 

“We can make the Class of 2020 graduation an affair to remember after all! These talented individuals and our audience will come together in a spirit of national unity as well as support for the Vonnegut Library. As the book title says: ‘If this isn’t nice, what is?'” said KVML founder and CEO Julia 

Whitehead. Seven Stories Press publisher, and Kurt Vonnegut’s friend and last editor, Dan Simon adds, “Kurt would have been ecstatic to be celebrating in this way with graduating high school and college students—he himself never graduated, which is part of what made his self-effacing and hilarious speeches so popular.” 

Tickets are $15 per household and free for students. To purchase tickets, please visit the Eventbrite page

For further information, to make a donation, or to order a copy of If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?, please contact Julia Whitehead at (317) 652-1954 email [email protected] or Ruth Weiner at 914-309-8570, [email protected] | 

@vonnegutlibrary @7StoriesPress 

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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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