prepares for role as first female vice chair of Board
When Susan Stalnecker
arrived in 1970, Duke was preparing to merge the Woman's College
and men's Trinity College
into one Trinity College
of Arts and Sciences.
Now, Stalnecker, Trinity '73, is a vice president at DuPont and the first female vice chair of the Duke Board of Trustees.
says Duke in the present can't be compared to Duke of the 1970s, Stalnecker
believes that many of the values that led her
to success both in college and her
professional career as a woman still hold true today.
As a freshman, she
lived in Pegram residence hall on East Campus, where all women lived at the time.
But the next year, she
moved to Kilgo Quadrangle, as part of the first class of women to live on West Campus alongside their male classmates.
In that first year, Stalnecker
did not sense that men and women had contrasting Duke experiences other than living on different campuses.
"I don't think I even at the time perceived it was a woman's college-I just went to Duke," she
"It didn't stand out to me as a distinction because we all went to the same classes."
felt that men and women were relatively equal at Duke, but there were some slight differences that highlighted where men had an advantage.
For example, the fields where women's sports teams practiced were of much lower quality than the men's fields-so much so that she
ankle during field hockey practice.
"You [also] realized what a tremendous benefit it was for the men [to live on West] because you didn't have to take the bus all the time," she
Outside of field hockey, Stalnecker
spent most of her
time in the library.
She finished her degree in just three years, graduating summa cum laude with a double major in economics and history.
After Duke, Stalnecker
husband-Mark Stalnecker, also Trinity
'73-earned MBAs at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
then took a job at DuPont
, over one at Goldman Sachs
, because she
could get a richer experience in the corporate environment.
In her 37 years at DuPont, she has served in numerous capacities, holding executive roles in finance, consumer markets, risk management and hospitality, eventually leading to her current role of vice president of global fixed cost infrastructure.
Duke continues to be an integral part of Stalnecker's life.
freshman year roommate remains one of her
closest friends and her
Aside from her
husband, both of her
children are Blue Devils-twins Erica, Trinity
'06 and Law '11, and Andrew, Pratt '06 and current MBA candidate at the Fuqua School of Business
"It's a wonderful family dynamic and a lot of fun," Stalnecker
said, noting that they are all big basketball fans.
Stalnecker has also been on the Board since 2003 and has served on the business and finance, audit and executive committees.
She is also actively involved in the Duke Alumni Association and a member of the Duke University Health System Board of Directors.
Stalnecker said the Duke that she deals with as a Board member has modernized tremendously in terms of diversity since she was a student.
noted the student body's racial and socioeconomic make up as well as the increasing number of female deans as examples.
Of the Board, she
new role as vice chair exemplifies the positive gender balance-15 women to 22 men.
She added that there are numerous women on the Board who inspire her.
"The University has evolved as the times have evolved-it is going to create a community that's rich in dialogue and academic pursuits," she
The Duke environment is one that encourages students to take advantage of as many opportunities as they can while they're in college, Stalnecker
said, pointing to the strong faculty and programs like DukeEngage.
added that seizing opportunities and working hard are keys to success.
"Learn as much as you can from other people and use this time in your life to diverge as much as you can-don't converge too soon," Stalnecker