As she opened the doors of the large lecture hall, Dr. Linda Swindell was instantly greeted by chatty students eager to tell her about their summer adventures. She made her way down the aisle, with sweaty palms and butterflies in her stomach. It was her first time teaching at Anderson University. Now, 19 years later, Swindell is ready to say goodbye to the university she has come to cherish.
At the end of this semester, Swindell will step down as the chair of the psychology department and retire from AU. At 62, she is ready to set out on a new path. She hopes to experience new opportunities like volunteering with immigrants and getting involved with politics.
“My plan is to continue my master’s work at St. Meinrad School of Theology,” said Swindell. “I want to get involved with a political campaign and volunteer with my church, helping legal immigrants adjust to a life in the United States.”
Swindell sees a need for immigrants in her community to feel accepted into society. Her goal is to educate others about immigration and to further her knowledge in that area. “It’s simple: I see a need and I want to be the one to fill it,” said Swindell.
As Swindell prepares for life beyond AU, she focuses on the reason she is retiring in the first place. “I lost my husband, Bill, three years ago, and something has not been right since,” said Swindell. “I knew that my time here was coming to a close. Life is short and brief. I want to spend it with my parents, my two daughters, and my five grandchildren.”
Swindell has touched the lives of numerous students she has come into contact with in her time at AU. “Dr. Swindell is wonderful,” said Emily Thalls, a senior psychology major. “She’s incredible at what she does as a professor and advisor. She is organized, efficient, and she truly cares.”
Along with the students she teaches, Swindell has blessed her fellow psychology associates through encouraging and helpful words.
“She is a valuable asset to the department and the university,” said Dr. Wayne Priest, colleague and friend of Swindell for five years. “Swindell has excellent knowledge of psychology and theology and consistently puts these into practice, both personally and in her relationships with others.”
Dr. Lee Griffith, professor of psychology, has worked alongside Swindell for all of her years at AU. “She has shown us all how to face sickness, loss, and death with strength, determination, perseverance, and faith,” said Griffith. “Anderson University has been greatly blessed to have her contribution to the spiritual, intellectual, and collegial life of the institution. We will greatly miss her.”
Closing the book on one chapter and starting another is a difficult and rewarding adventure to take. Even though her time at AU is ending, her legacy will remain.
“Leaving here will be difficult,” said Swindell. “I have found redemptive aspects of working here, and it has given my life meaning and structure. I am truly blessed to have participated with this campus.”
With her strength, faith in Christ, and the same butterflies she had 19 years ago, Swindell will set out on a new road full of hope, promise, and family.
— Kayla Meid is a junior from Indianapolis, Ind., majoring in communication arts with a focus on public relations and theatre arts. Meid is an associate of Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.