'Everyone deserves an education'

Office of the Registrar’s Cyndi Cave recognizes and celebrates scholarship
Cyndi Cave, assistant registrar, Awards, in MRU’s Office of the Registrar.
Cyndi Cave, assistant registrar, Awards, in MRU’s Office of the Registrar, says she feels fortunate to be part of a community that is dedicated to student success.

This profile is part of Celebrate U, Mount Royal's employee rewards and recognition program. The University values and appreciates the exceptional work and contributions of our employees. Through this program, we aim to celebrate those who have dedicated themselves to the success of Mount Royal.

Sometimes the life choices we make are carefully considered — long, hard and thoroughly thought out — while at other times, we make a spur-of-the-moment decision that affects the course of our lives. Whatever the case, every choice we make leads us to where we are today.

Cyndi Cave can tell you about making spontaneous choices and how they can end up  being exactly what was needed — how the right time and the right place can make all the difference.

When she was in her mid-30s, the now assistant registrar, Awards, in MRU’s Office of the Registrar was looking to make a change. Living in Halifax and experienced in positions in government, industry, not-for-profit and small business, she started thinking about moving to Calgary.

“I was always drawn to the mountains,” Cave says, “so I left my apartment fully furnished with my roommate and thought I’d head west for a few months.”

With no firm plan, she came across a posting for a position at Mount Royal just hours before the application window closed. It was in the Alumni Relations Department; she applied and was hired. As a single woman at the time, there was no discussion to be had over the decision. Before she knew it, she was on her way to Calgary.

That was in 2007. Since then, Cave has served at Mount Royal in various capacities. From Alumni Relations, she moved to Enrolment Services in 2014, and today is responsible for the administration and fair and equitable distribution of all awards at MRU.

"I love my job for this reason — I can see the direct impact."
Cyndi Cave

“This includes everything from creating the application and reviewing the terms of reference, making revisions where necessary to supporting the development of new awards, ensuring feasibility, and due process,” she says.

Cave is passionate about student support, perhaps in part due to her own experience. Growing up in a military family, she and her brother changed schools at least a half dozen times which, in itself, built a level of resiliency in the siblings. As a senior in high school, she fell ill and missed several weeks of classes — along with the critical window to apply for scholarships and awards.

“The opportunities to support students back in 1990 weren’t the same as they are now,” she says. “Student loans never looked at the entire picture when assessing students. I just didn’t have the means to continue my education.”

With post-secondary possibilities on hold for the time being (years later, Cave attended university in Nova Scotia, earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations), she held day jobs and used her talents as a singer on evenings and weekends to perform in clubs, cafés and at special events. When she stopped performing professionally, she used her talents to raise money to create The Greatest Gift of All, a bursary program for students from her high school. The awards were small, she says, but meaningful to those that received them. “I firmly believe to my core that everyone deserves an education,” she says.

“Awards offer accessibility and comfort to our students. Sometimes it means giving a student the chance to attend school where they wouldn’t otherwise be able, and other times awards allow students to reduce their hours of work so they can take more time to focus on their studies. Awards really impact a student differently, depending on their particular set of circumstances.”

Cave says that meeting students is the biggest reward for what she does.

“I love hearing their unique stories and the impact an award has made on their lives,” she says. “I love my job for this reason — I can see the direct impact. I’m one of many at MRU helping to get our students prepared for the future.”

And Cave says it’s the community around her and the commitment to the students that makes her glad she made that leap 16 years ago.

“The people are what make MRU a community. I feel fortunate to have been able to work with so many colleagues dedicated to the work that they do as we work together toward the common goal of preparing our students for their futures,” she says. “I look forward to hearing the stories of my colleagues, whether that’s in a story like this, in a meeting, at an event or simply stopping and chatting in the line at Tim’s.”

Mount Royal has hundreds of awards available to new and continuing students. Find out more.