Cyndy Quigley is a lifelong learner, and that’s one of the reasons she keeps coming back to Moraine Valley. Another is her desire to give back to an institution she says gave her so much.
“I love the concept of learning new things and building skills for fun or for your job,” said Quigley, who grew up in Alsip and graduated from Moraine Valley in 1982. “Once I left Moraine Valley, I came back and took courses over the years. One of them was an abnormal psychology course. It was just something I always wanted to take but could never fit in my schedule.”
Her schedule is more flexible now that she’s temporarily retired from her accounting career, and one of the things she wants to do is give back.
“I did a lot of volunteering activities through my job, but once I left, I wanted to figure out how I could keep doing it,” she said. “I thought about Moraine Valley and how I always connected so it was logical for me to want to give back to the college.”
She serves on the college’s alumni group.
Quigley was accepted to several major universities thanks to an outstanding high school academic career, but finances constrained her choices.
“Not being able to go to one of the larger universities did wear on me for a lot of years, but then I realized what I found at Moraine Valley and that was really what got me to where I am today,” she said. “I believe being in a smaller environment where class sizes of 30, not 500, allowed me to try different things academically.”
It was the opportunity to take varying coursework that prompted Quigley to revise her career choices.
“I started out wanting to go into education. When I was at Moraine Valley, I found a passion for writing so I wanted to go into journalism. Then my dad said, ‘yeah, but you gotta pay the bills’ so I took an accounting class and really liked it. I decided to become a business major,” Quigley said.
“I had some amazing teachers at Moraine Valley. My accounting teacher for all my classes was Tom Barrett. When I finished my degree, I took the Becker review for the CPA exam, and there was Tom Barrett teaching the review. This is the caliber of faculty at Moraine Valley. They teach here, but they also might be teaching at another college or have their own business or practice,” she said.
With 96 completed credit hours from Moraine Valley, she transferred to Illinois State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and continued on to earn an MBA in financial fraud from Saint Xavier University. She’s a licensed CPA, a certified Charted Global Management Accountant and has her certification from the American Institute of CPAs and Certified Financial Forensics.
Quigley’s career included being an accounting supervisor at Arthur Andersen & Company and accounting supervisor, corporate accounting manager, operations manager, and finance program and operations lead at Accenture.
Although now retired, Quigley does plan to return to work.
“The best part of all of this is that now until I go back to work, I have time to do things because I want to do them,” she said. “I’m taking a break. I say I did the ‘wow.’ I worked at the C-Suite, opened and closed the market on Wall Street. I got to work with and mentor people all over the world. I feel like I’ve done so much cool stuff and don’t know what I want to do next, but I think there’s a lot of cool stuff to do. I’m very appreciative and humbled by what I’ve been able to do.”
As a first-generation student, Quigley said college was foreign territory to her family.
“I pretty much was on my own. As one of five kids, affordability was a big part of my decision. So it made sense to me to go to Moraine Valley. I also was able to have flexibility at Moraine Valley that I probably wouldn’t have had anywhere else, and that was huge,” she said.
“I look at life as I had amazing experiences and jobs, and it all boiled down to my education and knowledge, and I got that base at Moraine Valley.”