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Cindy Sturgeon reflects on a UIndy career of giving back

Cindy Sturgeon

Cindy Sturgeon, Office Manager in Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs, retired in May 2020 after 21 years of service to the University of Indianapolis. Cindy graduated from the University in 1977 with an associate degree in legal secretarial science and in 2003 with a bachelor of liberal studies. 

Cindy has been noted for her hospitality and care for visitors to the EIP office, often including distraught students who come to the office looking for refuge. We are grateful for Cindy’s tremendous contributions to campus life and for her 21 years of faithful ministry to our campus.

We had the chance to ask Cindy a few questions reflecting on her UIndy career.

What different departments did you work in over the years at UIndy?

I began working in 1999 for the Senior Vice President and Provost, Lynn Youngblood. I worked for a couple of years for Andy Kocher in the annual fund and then in 2006 I began working as the office manager for Ecumenical & Interfaith Programs.

What do you appreciate the most about your time working in EIP? Do you have any happy memories you’d like to share? 

I co-led trips with Sr. Jennifer Horner (2009) and Rev. Lang Brownlee (2011) to Taize, France with UIndy students.  We spent a week living in Christian community with students from around the world. I have worked with incoming freshmen at our annual Threshold Retreat and co-led Christian vocation retreats. The Phase III grant provided me with funds to become a certified spiritual director.  As a spiritual director I have spent hours listening to students’ stories and asking questions to help them reflect on their faith life. After becoming a spiritual director, I asked Dr. Cartwright if we could turn some closet space into a “soul care” room where I could do spiritual direction with students, the priest could hear confession, and students could find a place of rest.

Could you describe your involvement in the “Sharing My Story” program?

Sr. Jennifer Horner originally started the series while she was chaplain at UIndy. After she left, the program was placed on the shelf.  As a certified spiritual director, I help others to tell their sacred stories.  It seemed natural for me to bring this program back to campus so faculty, staff, and students can share their story of God’s call on their life. Faculty, staff, and students who share their story will often tell me what a gift it was to them to reflect and share their story.  I also often hear from the audience members about how they were touched by the story that was shared. 

How will you be spending your time during retirement? 

One of Cindy's favorite photos with her family.
One of Cindy’s favorite photos with her family.

I have a 96-year-old mother-in-law, a 90-year-old mother,  a total of four children, and six grandchildren. I will be spending a lot of time with my family.  My husband and I have a boat and plan to spend a lot of time on the water. I love to read and volunteer at my church. We also hope to do some traveling.



Are there any other UIndy connections in your family?

My son, Charles Tyree, graduated in 2005 with a degree in criminal justice,  and my daughter, Tiffany Tyree Peterman, graduated in 2007 with a degree in education. Charlie is a detective with the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department and Tiffany is the lead instructionalist in the Midlothian,Texas, school district. My son-in-law, Erik Peterman also graduated from UIndy with a bachelor’s in sports management 2004 and an MBA in 2007. He is a teacher and head baseball coach at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Texas.

What or who will you miss at UIndy? Is there anyone you’d like to thank? 

I will miss the students! I want to thank Dr. Michael Cartwright for providing me with many opportunities to grow in my faith. I will miss working with my colleagues Dr. Jeremiah Gibbs, Rev. Arionne Williams, and Dr. David Boyd. I want to thank Kory Vitangeli for the words of encouragement and gifts I often found on my desk on special occasions. I will miss my noontime walks with my good friend, Gail Grande. There are many others that I will miss but there isn’t enough room to list them all!   

What is something about you that people might be surprised to know? 

I was a cheerleader for basketball and football at Indiana Central University in 1976. I could actually do cartwheels and the splits!

In 1974, my good friend from Ohio called me on the phone to see if I would go on a campus visit with her.  She wanted to be a nurse.  I made that visit with her to Indiana Central College.  I wasn’t planning to go to college because my dad died when I was 12 and my mom struggled to make ends meet. I could not imagine how I could go to college. But God seemed to have other plans, and I found myself moving into Krannert Hall (now Cravens) in the fall of 1975. Who would have known that Indiana Central/University of Indianapolis would end up playing such a big part of my life and the life of my children.