Indiana State University Newsroom

Former Ambassador Cynthia Shepard Perry returns to Terre Haute, Indiana State

January 12, 2015

Vigo County native and Indiana State University graduate Cynthia Shepard Perry will return to campus this week in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day events.

Perry, who had an extensive career as a U.S. diplomat will deliver a public speech on "The Power of Education and the Obligation to Serve Humanity" at 4 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 15) in University Hall Auditorium. She will also meet with students from noon-12:50 p.m. Friday (Jan. 16) in the Cunningham Memorial Library Events area and speak at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner at 6 p.m. Friday in the Sycamore Banquet Center.

While an Indiana State student, she developed a 25-year plan to become an ambassador. Following her graduation in 1968, she served as director of the National Teachers Corps at the University of Massachusetts where she received a doctorate. She then joined the faculty of Texas Southern University, serving as associate professor and associate director of Teacher Corps/Peace Corps, later becoming a full professor and dean of international affairs from 1978-82.

She served the Reagan Administration in the U.S. Agency for International Development's Africa Bureau from 1982-86. President George H.W. Bush then named her ambassador to Sierra Leone, where she served until 1989. From 1989-93, she was ambassador to Burundi and served from 2001-07 as U.S. executive director of the African Development Bank. She is currently honorary consul general of Rwanda.

An accomplished artist, Perry continues her passion for painting in oils, primarily portraits and African landscapes. She is currently updating her memoirs published in 2001, entitled, "All Things Being Equal."

A limited number of tickets for the Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner are available for $30 each or $240 for a table of eight. More information is available from Indiana State University's Charles E. Brown African- American Cultural Center by calling 812-237-3811.


Contact: Stephanie Jefferson, director, Charles E. Brown African-American Cultural Center, Indiana State University, 812-237-3822 or