Interim VP for Enrollment Management Has Told the Piedmont Story for More Than 20 Years
If you know Cindy Peterson, you know Piedmont. Sharing the university’s story, especially with prospective students and their families, is what she likes best about her job.
“Having been here as long as I have been, I love this institution and the mission of this college,” she said. “To share with families who think that college is not accessible to them that our mission is to provide just that for students who may not think they would be able to afford higher education, that is what I love doing.”
Peterson has been part of the university’s story since 2001, when she came on board as director of external affairs. She rose to director of undergraduate admissions in 2005, dean of admissions in 2010, and associate vice president of undergraduate enrollment in 2018, the role she held until being appointed interim vice president for enrollment management in June.
The word she uses when she thinks about Piedmont’s future is “vibrant,” citing its growth in just the last 10 years, let alone 21.
“Venues and facilities have been improved and added. I see students engaged more and more on campus in clubs and organizations. The new academic programs that are coming along and coming on board both at the graduate and undergraduate level — we are a vibrant university,” she said.
The number of incoming first-year undergraduate students for the fall semester is on track to break records. Peterson looks forward to working alongside graduate admissions to help increase enrollment on that level. She also wants to build a robust global community of online learners, and, with Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Dr. Kim Crawford, focus on retention.
Approximately 40 percent of Piedmont students are first-generation, meaning their parents did not complete a four-year degree. Peterson knows this part of the university’s story well. She was a “first-gen” college student.
Peterson was an athlete and a scholar in high school and college. Her teachers and parents encouraged her to go to college.
She played basketball and tennis for James Madison University, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in health and physical education. Peterson got a scholarship for a graduate assistantship at Auburn University, where she achieved a master’s degree in kinesiology and education.
Peterson went on to receive a graduate assistantship at Auburn University to coach the Lady Tigers basketball team and teach in its health and physical education department. She earned her master’s in education degree and landed her first job teaching and coaching at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.
The value of a liberal arts education is a part of the Piedmont story Peterson also knows well. Students will likely change careers at least once. Peterson did three times. Her second career was at Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta, where she was director of the Sports and Recreation Ministry for eight years. That is where she learned about Piedmont. Some parishioners had homes on Lake Burton, less than an hour’s drive from Piedmont’s Demorest campus, and some had connections to the university.
In her third career at Piedmont, Peterson takes full advantage of the university’s scenic location in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For this part of the story, she would just as soon show as tell. Peterson is an avid outdoorswoman.
“I get the opportunity to take students backpacking and hiking, to share my love for adventure,” she said. “That is what keeps me going, that I still get the opportunity to do those things with our students.”