Cynthia Torp named this year's honorary degree recipient

Photo of Cynthia Torp

Cynthia Torp, B.A. '84, will receive this year’s honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from IU Southeast. Although the IU Southeast commencement ceremony was postponed this year, Torp will be officially recognized at the future ceremony. Torp is a native of Clarksville, Indiana. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from Indiana University Southeast. After brief educational experiences at Purdue University and Herron School of Art at IUPUI, Torp returned to Southern Indiana to complete her education, raise her family, and open her successful businesses. Torp owned Cynthia Torp Studios, a commercial design and illustration agency with clients from the east to the west coast for 15 years. Looking for a new creative outlet, Torp began Solid Light in 1999. One of her early clients was Owsley Frazier, helping him with the foundational creation work of the Frazier History Museum. “In Louisville, we need more business leaders like Cynthia,” said Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville, Kentucky. “She possesses a creativity and vision that asks those she works for and works with to dream big and to engage others through storytelling and innovation. Her influence and her business make a great impact in our city.” Torp has provided pro bono consultation and work for Indiana museums and cultural centers, including the Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center in Clarksville, Indiana, and the Carnegie Center for Art & History in New Albany, Indiana. In addition, Torp has continued to be actively involved with her alma mater IU Southeast, mentoring and hiring graduates for her business. Cynthia and her husband, retired IU Southeast Professor Emeritus Brian Jones, reside in Corydon, Indiana.

In 2010, Torp received the Epic Award from the regional National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), recognizing her as Woman Business Owner of the Year. She was named the 2015 Distinguished Contributor by the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) in recognition of her outstanding service, leadership, and innovation in shaping the world of museums, as well as the IU Southeast Distinguished Alumni Award for her career achievements, community service, and engagement with her alma mater. In 2019, Solid Light received the Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI) award for best small business, as well as Business First's real estate award for adaptive reuse for the renovation of a warehouse into their new offices. She was most recently honored by Business First with its Enterprising Woman award.

“Cynthia is known and appreciated for cultivating a culture of altruism and for fostering deep connections within the community through a dedication to 'giving back' whenever the opportunity arises,” said Ray Wallace, chancellor of IU Southeast. “In regard to Indiana University and IU Southeast, she and her husband Brian have been ardent supporters through three scholarships for gifted and talented students, and a recent $1.5 million bequest to establish the Brian and Cynthia Jones Artist in Excellence Fund.” Throughout the years, Torp has generously volunteered countless hours of her time and talent for organizations like the AASLH, Southeast Museum Conference, Louisville Visual Arts, the Carnegie Center for Art & History, the Falls of the Ohio State Park, and Women 4 Women. She served on the Board of the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana for many years and is now an officer on the boards of the National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME), the Kentucky Historical Society, and is a founding member for Bourbon Women, an association of professional women in the Bourbon industry. Torp has a daughter, Heather Weaver, a veterinarian and Major in the US Army, and a grandchild, Haiden. She and her husband also established the Kate Torp Fine Arts Scholarship at IU Southeast in honor of her deceased daughter.

Header image: Cynthia Torp, Brian Jones and Chancellor Ray Wallace smile together during the 2017 IU Southeast Founder’s Day Luncheon.

Distinguished Alumni