Josh Butts

Josh Butts

Josh Butts

Class of '09

Josh juggled a lot of personas at TU -- artist, athlete, veteran. His campus experience provided just the right amount of support to channel his disparate interests and help him become the successful entrepreneur he is today.

Camaraderie, perseverance and pain defined his experience as a member of TU’s Conference USA track team. While serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq, he suffered an injury when a piece of shrapnel embedded in his heel.

“I didn’t think it was a big deal, but when I started running again, I noticed I had to ice my heel constantly.”

Surgery would have ended his running career, so he worked through the pain, got in shape and moved to Tulsa to pursue a track scholarship Coach Steve Gulley had promised him before he had been deployed to Iraq.

“I look at what I’ve done as an exercise in perseverance, not some wreath around my head,” he said. “I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and pick up my goals from before I was injured.”

As an artist, Josh’s talent was unmistakable. His portraits of veterans feature so much attention to detail, every wrinkle and hair conveys a lifetime of stories. But talent didn’t spare him from criticism.

“The art program at TU is phenomenal – even the criticism,” he said. “If I hadn’t gotten that experience, the first time a client threw out my work, I wouldn’t have known what to do.”

Josh also got a reality check about the joys and struggles of owning his own business.

“The advertising program with Bill Hinkle really prepared me for success in entrepreneurship as a marketer, artist and businessman,” he said. “Now I’m able to pitch an idea with the correct vernacular and put a concept together. “

And he’s had to get ready in a hurry. Right before his participation in the Conference USA track and field championship in June 2009, newspaper, t.v. and radio journalists blasted his unique story to the public.

Since then, his already long list of freelance projects has grown to include a multitude of other exciting prospects.

“It’s really exciting to see it all come together,” he said. “Being integrated in TU is a great fraternity – great connections.”