Shawn Fields MBA ’98 might not be the person you’d picture when thinking about a person who has created a legacy gift for Fuqua. In her 40s with two children and a position teaching Spanish to sixth, seventh and ninth graders in New York, Shawn takes the long view in her relationship with her alma mater.
“I’m not in a position right now to name a building, but I hope that when I reach the end of my life I can honor a really important part of my life through this gift. I’m giving back to the place that helped form me,” Shawn explains.
Shawn enrolled in the Daytime MBA program after working for several years in marketing with the National Basketball Association. A liberal arts major, she sought formal business training to enhance her marketing career. Shawn describes her experience at Fuqua as two of the best years of her life—a time in which she developed meaningful friendships and made deep connections with her classmates. As a student, she dove into many opportunities to build the Fuqua community, serving as a section rep, an orientation committee member, and a career fellows coordinator.
Post-graduation, Shawn returned to the NBA for four years before moving to PepsiCo, working in both New York and London. She left the marketing world to spend time with her young children; after a few years, she decided to pursue a lifelong passion for teaching foreign languages. Throughout her career, Shawn has continued to be involved with Fuqua as a volunteer, serving on reunion committees, volunteering for admissions, and helping with regional alumni events.
“I received so much from my experience at Fuqua that it feels natural for it to continue to be an important part of my life,” says Shawn. “Fuqua has given me the courage to follow my passions—my transition to teaching came about because of the leadership opportunities I had.”
In 2018, Shawn joined Fuqua’s Minority Alumni Advisory Board after being nominated by two of her classmates.
“I was excited to be considered and to join the board, especially as a Latina woman who felt underrepresented during my time in school,” Shawn reflects. “It is so rewarding to be able to come back to Duke and have conversations with such a bright group of individuals about how to make Fuqua more friendly and accessible to underrepresented minority students.”
Shawn sees both volunteerism and philanthropy as part of her lifelong relationship with Fuqua. She has been a loyal donor to the Fuqua Annual Fund since graduation and recently stepped up her giving to join the Thomas F. Keller Leadership Donor Society. With her planned gift to Fuqua, she joins Duke’s Heritage Society and cements her legacy as an enduring supporter of Team Fuqua.
“I received a partial scholarship to attend Fuqua, and I’m deeply grateful for that opportunity,” says Shawn. “I recently brought my kids to campus for the first time and explained to them how different it was when I was a student. If my contributions can help Fuqua to continue to innovate and attract great young talent, I’m happy to support that.”