Lise Shipley, EMBA
Olin scholarship donor and recipient: Fostering connections between generations

For nearly two years, Lise Shipley and Darcy Cunningham have worked together, shared stories, absorbed advice and enjoyed sports. Shipley, EMBA ’93, is a scholarship donor. Cunningham, BSBA ’19, is the recipient of Shipley’s scholarship.

“It’s all about the opportunities I’ve been able to have here at Washington University,” Cunningham said. “I would not have been able to come to WashU without Lise’s generosity.”

As she winds down her undergraduate life and prepares to launch her career as a commercial underwriter at Liberty Mutual in Chicago, Cunningham easily expresses her gratitude for the advice and the role model Shipley has provided since they became acquainted two years ago.

Shipley—a pioneer during the mid-1990s in developing and marketing internet and WiFi networks and services to businesses and consumers during a long career with AT&T—is now a partner in a women-led angel investing firm called Next Wave Ventures and consults with small business startups.

Cunningham—a star on WashU’s women’s soccer team with an NCAA championship under her belt—is the sixth recipient of the Lise Shipley Scholarship since Shipley started funding it in 2005. While her family funds scholarships at several institutions, Shipley finds WashU Olin’s approach to be unique—and the most rewarding.

“Olin makes such a great effort to introduce the awardee with the donor,” she said. “The Scholars in Business event is one of my favorites. Not only do I get to meet my recipient, but I get to meet other students. The real game changer is that you follow the recipients for two, maybe three years. You get a longer time to develop a relationship with the students.”

She’s been able to tell her story, explaining how she decided to get an MBA when she was well into her career, counseling women about managing their careers and providing advice about bringing balance into their lives and careers.

“She’s told me a lot about her career. I’ve been fascinated by the way she has taken ahold of her life—traveling, working with women in business,” Cunningham said. “It was cool to hear how once you have proved yourself, you have a lot of options to make an impact, to keep in touch with your passion.”

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