Mother, son duo excelling after graduation

In their Christmas card, the Lutz family characterized 2017 as “a year filled with healing and growth, even in baby steps.”

It’s been a long road since Terry Lutz walked across the stage to receive his wife’s diploma. Sharon had been in a horrific car accident with their son, Bryan. The accident happened just a few days before Sharon and Bryan were set to graduate together with business management degrees from the IU Kelley School of Business at IUPUI. Bryan was able to walk in the ceremony to receive his diploma, but Sharon was still in the hospital.

“I had been looking forward to our graduation ceremony for so long; it would be such a special moment for Bryan and me. But having Terry there on my behalf was special, as well; I was so glad he was there,” said Sharon.

After the accident in May 2016, Sharon went through eight months of surgeries to heal her shattered ankle, a hematoma in her leg and injuries to her head and hearing. In the months following, she worked through physical therapy.

A little more than a year after the accident, Sharon was able to apply for and accept a job in human resources at the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS).

“It’s been so fun to get back to work and to use my business degree,” said Sharon. “There were times during my recovery I wasn’t sure if I would get to this moment. But I’ve been learning so much. It’s been wonderful.”

Sharon and Bryan started the journey toward their bachelor’s degrees after Bryan issued a challenge to his mom – “What keeps you from finishing your degree, Mom?”

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Bryan Lutz, BS'16, and his father Terry stop for a photo before Commencement in May 2016. Terry walked across the stage for his wife Sharon Lutz, BS'16, who was recovering from a car accident at the time.

The duo took classes at Ivy Tech before transferring to the Kelley School at IUPUI – taking every class together and finishing at the same time.

“It was a bonding experience for Bryan and me,” said Sharon. “Where I was weak, he was strong. And vice versa. These courses and the professors helped me find the strength I didn’t know I had before I got my degree. The experiences gave me the confidence to say – We can do this. We can succeed in business. It gave us goals that we didn’t have before.”

“Sharon and Bryan worked so hard to complete this milestone together,” said Terry. “I’m proud to see Sharon in this new role. Our family has truly worked as a team through all of this. Whether it was Sharon and Bryan working together on schoolwork, or all of us supporting each other after the car accident and after they graduated, it’s been a strengthening year for our family.”

After all these months, to walk into a new job and use her Kelley degree, was a feeling nothing less than proud, Sharon said.

“It’s been a long road that continues to this day,” Sharon added. “But I’m proud of where I am today. My family’s support got me here.”