By Rebecca Flannery
Alice Starr is the wife of Baylor President and Chancellor, Ken Starr. Mrs. Starr has been involved in several charities and nonprofits. The Starrs have lived all over the country. They have three children and six grandchildren.
Can you tell me a little bit about your life with Mr. Starr?
We’ve been married for 44 years and lived all over the country. It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve each had our own careers. I’ve been a professional in marketing and public relations at several firms.
When we moved to California, I decided to form my own company and help nonprofits with marketing, public relations and fundraising. That’s essentially what I still continue to do, mostly in the Waco area and the Washington, D.C., area.
Do you feel like you have an opportunity to accomplish what you want to do here in Waco?
I feel like I’m a partner of my husband’s in his role. As first lady I like to take a very active role. So I go to many of the lectures, concerts and sporting events and I truly try to take part. I think that makes the job so much more fun as first lady.
How did you and Mr. Starr meet?
We met in school. For those of you who think, “Oh, it’s terrible that I’m not able to graduate on time” because they have to take one more course, listen. Ken’s adviser in college never told him that he had to take two years of the same language. He had two years of languages, but not two years of the same language. So he went to Harvard summer school in the summer of 1968 to take Spanish, and we were in the same class. I had just finished my freshman year at college. That’s how we met, and we were married two years later in New York, where I am from. Immediately we moved down to Durham, N.C., and I helped put him through law school at Duke.
What is something you have learned after moving around so much?
We have moved a lot and I have always found jobs, everywhere I am. I try to help students looking for a job by saying “be bold.” Don’t just send your resume in. Go in person and talk to them about what you could offer. I’ve gotten about 10 different jobs that way, just showing up to a place where I’d like to work and telling them what I could possibly do.
How did your role shift when you had children?
I always had my own career but I worked part time once the children were born. I decided, some women would like to be CEO of a company but I knew with three children I could not do that. I became vice president of the largest commercial real estate company in northern Virginia but they were flexible hours, so I could always be at my children’s activities and I could always support my husband when he needed it.
If you had to narrow it down to a few short sentences, what would you say are your main passions?
I like to help nonprofits, especially with marketing, public relations and communications. I’m able to do that here at Baylor as well as the surrounding community. And I think it’s been important for my husband and I to be involved in the Waco community. We love everybody we’ve met; we think it’s just a community full of culture, and waiting to blossom even more.
What has been the most difficult transition for your family?
I have not had a single transition that I didn’t think was challenging and fun. I love meeting new people; we have lived in North Carolina, Florida, California and some other spots along the way. And now we live in Waco. All have been so much fun and we really enjoy it. We’re really easy to please.
What has been your driving force as a female behind a very powerful figure?
My fulfillment comes in helping my husband and my family, to tell you the truth. I love helping the community as well, but my first priority is to be a support to my husband and my family no matter what. If one of my daughters is having a baby, I will drop everything and go there to help her. And yet I love being creative and innovative in the nonprofit business world because there’s so much to be done and there’s much need. I feel that you can never do too much. It’s very tough in this world. My family is my priority.