The Bickel family: Following in the footsteps of UIndy tradition
As UIndy Family Weekend approaches, the Bickel family of Carmel is sharing memories and looking forward to the future. Married for 22 years, Joe ’93 and Cindy Bickel ’93 first met as undergraduates at the University – and the family ties to UIndy go even further.
Joe and Cindy are all smiles when asked about how they met. Joe was working as an RA helping freshmen (including his brother Scott) move into the residence halls.
“I was helping my brother move into what was called North Hall at the time. I see this cute blonde walk by, and I’m thinking I’d like to get to know her, maybe,” he grinned. “Later on in the day, we happened to meet and I just said ‘hi’ to her. That evening, all the freshmen came over for the freshman dance. I thought if I happen to see her come into the Schwitzer Center, I’ll ask her to dance with me.”
He didn’t have to wait long.
“That evening, she came walking in with a bunch of friends and I asked her to dance. That went on and we dated through college,” said Joe.
The University’s criminal justice program, which recently celebrated its 45th anniversary, has played a major role in the lives of Joe and his brother Scott Bickel ’94, both of whom went on to pursue law enforcement careers after graduating from UIndy with degrees in criminal justice. Now Joe’s son Tyler ’21 is following in the family footsteps in a place that feels like home.
“UIndy gives you a very welcoming feeling in a friendly environment,” said Tyler.
The UIndy ties are strong in this family. Cindy graduated with a major in business and a minor in accounting in 1993. His brother Scott ’94 (criminal justice) and sister-in-law Steph (education) are UIndy alumni, and Cindy’s brother is also a graduate.
Tyler appreciates those family connections.
“Having both my parents as UIndy graduates, they’ve given me personal tips on UIndy – how to survive the first year. ‘You’re on your own now but we’re still looking out for you,’” he said.
Joe, a lieutenant with the Carmel Police Department, grew up in a law enforcement family and knew from a young age he wanted to be a police officer. He took a position with Carmel PD a year after graduating from UIndy. He’s served in several different roles at Carmel PD, including field training officer, community outreach, public information, hiring and recruiting and crime scene investigators supervisor.
Along with personal connections, Joe created important professional relationships through UIndy’s criminal justice program. Dennis Williams, assistant professor of criminal justice, was Joe’s law enforcement advisor who helped him obtain internships with Indiana State Police and the U.S. Customs Service.
“He was an awesome mentor and professor,” said Joe.
The Bickels have another son, Josh, who is a junior at Carmel High School.