Staff Spotlight: Lorna Griffin

Lorna Griffin has a unique job: she meets every single person who joins the Kelley Indianapolis family. As assistant director of human resources for the past seven years, we all know Lorna as the bearer of benefits and onboarding information, but did you know she had a previous life in show choir, band and cheerleading costuming?

Q: What’s the best part about your job?
Lorna: I get to meet so many interesting people from all over the world – people I wouldn’t normally have the chance to know. One of the coolest things anyone ever said to me was a student employee, after I explained the payroll process, he said, “Oh I get paid, too?!” He was just so happy to be working at Kelley. That was the cutest thing I ever heard.

Q: You weren’t always in HR. What did you do before you joined IUPUI 15 years ago?
Lorna: I ran my own business, Starrider Designs Custom Clothier. We specialized in the designing, manufacturing and on-site fitting of group performance wear. Our primary customer base was Indiana high school bands, dance teams and show choirs, although I also created uniforms for cheerleaders and athletic teams. I’ve been a seamstress since I made my first outfit in 7th grade and dreamed of having a sewing business since that time. With the support of my husband, this job gave me the chance to design and create outfits while also saving on childcare costs. Because it was a home-based business, I was able to be home with my two young sons, Richard and Robert. When my sons became high school age, I pursued an opportunity at IUPUI. The location and great benefits – including reduced tuition for my sons – was very motivating.

I feel like I’m the luckiest person here because I get to meet every single employee who comes to Kelley Indianapolis.

Lorna Griffin, assistant director of human resources

Q: What is your most memorable costume design?
Lorna: A few years ago, the theme for IUPUI homecoming was “Superheroes.” Our jaguar mascot, Jawz, needed a costume. A past colleague remembered that I was a seamstress and contacted me for guidance. I happily volunteered to create a cape and mask. It was interesting to sew a mask for such a large head!

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Lorna Griffin created Jawz the Jaguar's crimson cape and mask for IUPUI's homecoming.
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Lorna sewed Jawz's crimson cape and mask.

Q: You started working at IUPUI because your sons were about to head to college, how has IUPUI remained a part of your family?

Lorna: My eldest son, Richard works at the School of Nursing as a program manager. My daughter-in-law, Sara Griffin, works in the IUPUI Professional Development & Corporate Education office as Assistant Director. I’ve discovered there are a lot of us at Kelley with an extended family here at IU. It’s one big family.