Indiana State University Newsroom

2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients announced

October 1, 2019

The Indiana State University Alumni Association has announced the recipients of this year's Distinguished Alumni Awards, the association's most prestigious honor.

Patty Butwin, Michael Holthouse, Jamal Khashoggi and Amadou Yattassaye will be recognized at 6:30 p.m. October 11 in the Sycamore Banquet Center.

"These alumni are great examples of the impact an Indiana State University education can have on a life, a community, and, indeed, on the world," ISU President Deborah Curtis said. "We celebrate the achievements of these four alumni who serve as an inspiration to their alma mater."

"Every year, Indiana State University and the Alumni Association honor excellence by bestowing our most prestigious award to deserving alumni," said Rex Kendall, Alumni Association executive director. "The award recognizes alumni whose personal lives, professional achievements and community service exemplify and support the mission of Indiana State University. We are extremely proud to honor four exemplary Sycamore role models as this year's Distinguished Alumni recipients."

Presented annually since 1957, the Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have made significant achievements professionally and within their communities, locally and globally.

Butwin, '71, GR'73, received bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics. She taught junior high math before moving into a successful business career with AT&T, where she held a variety of positions within AT&T's Legal and Regulatory Affairs Organization.

After accepting an early retirement, Butwin consulted on contract and legal/regulatory compliance projects for AT&T's Consumer Services Law Group in New Jersey.

Butwin supports Indiana State as an emerita member of the Foundation Board of Directors, President's Society, Book and Torch Society, the 1865 Society and Lifetime Member of the ISU Alumni Association.

Butwin has accepted many invitations as an alumni guest speaker on campus at events for Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, Networks Financial Institute, ISU Summer High School Honors Marketing and Communications Program, ISU Honors College and College of Technology Women in STEM Programs.

Her other volunteer efforts: Providence Cristo Rey High School (Indianapolis); The Money Bus, an ISU Financial Literacy Program; ISU Center for Mathematics Education; ISU Career Center Mentoring and Networking Programs; ISU Center for Community Engagement Educational Outreach; Terre Haute Children's Museum Board of Directors; Saint Susanna Church Religious Education Program; and Hendricks County Family Promise (Preventing Homelessness).

Holthouse, '80, graduated from Indiana State with a bachelor's degree in economics and computer science. As an INC. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year and a two-time "Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Company" winner, he has started and grown several start-up companies. His network services company - Paranet, grew in six years to 27 offices with 1600 employees and revenues in excess of $120 million which he ultimately sold to Sprint in 1997. Today, Holthouse focuses on early stage technology investments, philanthropy, family and fun. His investment company, Holthouse Interests, has dozens of investments in early stage technology companies. His family foundation, The Holthouse Foundation for Kids, focuses proactively on the needs of Houston's most at-risk youth. Philanthropy is an enormous part of Michael's life and he has served on a variety of boards including Junior Achievement, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Sisters, The Children's Museum, Boy Scouts of America and many others. Community Leadership is important as well with organizations including Young Presidents Organization, Leadership Houston, American Leadership Forum, Houston Technology Center and the Center for Houston's Future. His largest philanthropic venture is called "Lemonade DayTM" which is a community wide event teaching youth how to start, own and operate their very own business, a lemonade stand. Lemonade Day is now in 85 cities in the USA and 14 countries around the world, having served well over a million youth. The most treasured part of Michael's life is spending time with his wife Lisa and their children.

Khashoggi attended Indiana State as an undergraduate from 1977 to 1983 and received a business administration degree. A critic of the Saudi government, he was assassinated in early October 2018 after visiting the Saudi embassy in Turkey to obtain marriage documents. His death prompted an international outcry.

Khashoggi was among the journalists honored by Time magazine as Person of the Year in 2018. "The Guardians," as the magazine dubbed them, were dedicated to the pursuit of truth despite a war on facts and tremendous obstacles, including violence and imprisonment. Khashoggi is the only Indiana State alumnus to receive the honor and the only person to be posthumously named a Person of the Year.

In addition to awarding Khashoggi a posthumous Distinguished Alumni Award, ISU also hosted the inaugural Jamal Khashoggi Annual Address on Journalism and the Media in his honor.

Yattassaye, '98, a native of Mali, West Africa, serves as the Plan President of the Missouri Commercial & Specialty Business Division (CSBD) for Anthem, Inc. As a member of the company leadership team, he is responsible for Anthem's commercial business, including state-based Exchanges and Individual, Small Group and Large Group local business. Yattassaye and his team have profit and loss responsibility for Anthem BCBS Missouri and HealthLink members.

Yattassaye is an industry leader with over 20 years of executive experience. Previously, he served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and Interim Plan President for the New York Commercial & Specialty Business Division (CSBD) for Anthem, Inc. Prior to joining Anthem, Amadou spent over 10 years in the auditing and consulting industry, including more than seven years at Ernst & Young LLP.

He joined Anthem in 2011 as chief audit executive and chief ethics and compliance officer. Yattassaye was responsible for overseeing the planning, design and implementation of the annual master audit plan, as well as the development and administration of Anthem's ethics, compliance and privacy programs.

Yattassaye is active in the community, including strong support for the United Way (de Tocqueville Society member), membership on the Regional Business Council and serving on the board of directors for various organizations.

"It would be difficult for me to choose a singular favorite memory during my time as a student because all of it made my experience," Yattassaye said. "By all of it, I mean the laughs, the expectations that I was held to by my professors and my peers, the late nights in the computer science room trying to make sense of the World Wide Web and its impact, and the intense camaraderie we had in the various Dede rooms on late nights as a community. My best and absolute favorite memory of being in the College of Business was from the very day I made the dean's list ... It was the day that I realized how much it meant to me to be a leader, and it showed me that no matter where I ended up, I wanted to make an impact."

Photo: - Patty Butwin

Photo: - Michael Holthouse

Photo: - Amadou Yattassaye

Media Contact: Rex Kendall, executive director of alumni engagement, Indiana State University Alumni Association,

Writer: Betsy Simon, University Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or