Alumni Spotlight: Alice Sullivan | Cumberland University

Alumni Spotlight: Alice Sullivan

Like many students, Alice Dorothy Sullivan had no idea what she wanted to do with her life when she graduated from college. Alice graduated from Cumberland in 2001 and while attending CU, she received soccer and tennis scholarships as well as the prestigious Laura Cooke Scholarship. She was the 2001 recipient of the Lindsey Donnell Award, presented annually to a student who excels in both academics and athletics. 

After her graduation, Alice soon learned that she could make money writing and editing for local newspapers, magazines, and businesses. In 2003, she was hired by Thomas Nelson Publishers (now HarperCollins) as an assistant editor. 

Over four years, she learned everything she could and worked her way up the corporate ladder to Managing Editor of the Business and Culture division. She and her team published biographies, history, and political titles. Following this role, she worked at HCA as a clinical editor for two years.

In 2009, Alice decided she wanted more control over her life, career, and earning potential, so she left her corporate job to become a freelance writer. 

Today, Alice is self-employed through her company, Alice Sullivan Literary, LLC, where she is a non-fiction ghostwriter, writing coach, and developmental editor. Alice helps her clients write memoirs, business leadership, and self-help books that educate, entertain, and inspire the reader. 

For the last 11 years, she has worked with celebrities, professional athletes, entrepreneurs, speakers, and creatives, helping them tell their stories. 

“I owe a great deal of my success to CU for nurturing my gift of writing,” said Alice.

Alice would not have been able to attend college without the financial assistance she received. “There was no way I could afford to attend college unless I had a great deal of financial help,” said Alice. “I played nearly every sport available in high school. I attended Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet for Health Sciences and Engineering at Pearl High School and when a representative for CU visited, they said I could get dual scholarships for tennis and soccer, as well as a scholarship based on my academic performance. I didn’t even apply anywhere else! I was the second signed member of the CU women’s soccer team, right after Tiffany Clary.”   

Alice enjoyed attending Cumberland for an exceptional education and small class sizes. “It was an incredible education and I loved being part of small classes where I was able to ask questions,” said Alice. “I think when I was there, the school only had 1,200 students. Even though I graduated with very little idea about what career I wanted to pursue, my degree and triple minors—English, Anthropology, and Sociology—align perfectly with the work I do today.”

While at CU, Alice was able to garner skills from her experiences that have helped her in life and in building her business. “The number-one lesson I learned during my college years was how to be responsible for myself,” said Alice. “I learned what it was like to be my own priority, to balance my finances, to hit deadlines, and to dream of what I wanted my future to look like. All of these things set me up for success as a business owner.” 

Alice had many professors and experiences that helped shape her while at CU. “I have a few favorites,” said Alice. “I loved my coaches, Coach Walters (soccer) and Coach Deering (tennis). My English teachers, Dr. Alice Nunnery and Stuart Harris nurtured my talent and made the classes fun. Dr. Markert was a wonderful Sociology professor and I took as many of his classes as I could, as well as the late history teacher, Dr. Dressler. My favorite professor will always be Dr. Fred Heifner. I went on his summer Anthropology trips to New Mexico twice, and those experiences sparked a love for travel, culture, and service that I will carry with me forever.”

Alice and her soccer teammates continue to stay in touch. “I loved my classes and am still in touch with a number of my professors, and playing collegiate sports, soccer especially, gave me teammates for life. I felt at home within my team. Almost 20 years later, there’s a group of us that still talk weekly: Tiffany Clary, Rachel Juillerat, Jessica Suggs, Amy Scott, and Sadie Saullo.”

Many students worry about where life will take them after college. The skills learned and the relationships built at Cumberland create a foundation for success.  

Learn more about Alice through her website, alicesullivan.com.

Written by Courtney Vick, Senior Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations