Susan West Story ’93 named 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

The College of Charleston Honors College has named Susan West Story ’93 the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Since 2010, the Honors College has bestowed the Distinguished Alumni Award, its highest honor, on graduates who are noted for their professional achievements, their contributions to society, and their support of the College of Charleston. Honorees have performed exceptional service for the College of Charleston through cumulative contributions or by extraordinary efforts that advance both the Honors College and the College of Charleston. Members of the Honors College Advisory Board select each year’s recipient based on nominations received by individual board members and by CofC Honors alumni, faculty, and staff.

This year’s recipient, Susan (West) Story, is a native of Moncks Corner, SC and a 1993 graduate of the Honors Program. Susan graduated cum laude with B.S. degrees in economics and business administration, as well as departmental honors in economics and finance. Since graduating from CofC, Susan has lived across the globe and worked in a variety of capacities for the United States government. Along with her husband Jimmy, a career foreign service officer with the US Department of State, and their son Mac, Susan has resided in Washington, D.C., New York City, Guadalajara, Mexico, Maputo, Mozambique, Brasilia, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Bogota, Colombia, and most recently, Caracas, Venezuela.

Susan’s unique skill set and international experiences have seen her develop into an expert in international relations, national security issues, foreign policy, contract and program management, and international development. Throughout her career, she has worked for a variety of U.S. embassies, government entities, and private firms in areas ranging from financial management to procurement to contract administration.

Susan (center) pictured with son Mac (left) and husband Jimmy (right) at Angel Falls, the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, in Venezuela.

“Susan was selected as this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient from a pool of many deserving candidates,” says Honors College Advisory Board Vice Chair Jerry Crotty. “What stood out to us was Susan’s inspirational personal story and career achievements that reflect exemplary resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptability we could all learn from.”

Currently, Susan works as a Contract Support Advisor for E-9 Corporation, a business management firm that provides administrative, IT, and public safety services for a client list that includes the DOS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Army, and the National Institute of Health. Susan’s work with E-9 has seen her provide procurement assistance to the DOS Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), specifically at the Office of Africa and the Middle East (AME).

Susan’s atypical trajectory has not only led to a fascinating career, but it’s also produced its share of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. One such highlight was her participation in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games while living in Brazil during Jimmy’s tenure as U.S. Consul General to Rio de Janeiro. Not only did her family have the opportunity to attend several sporting events, but, as part of a crew of volunteers, she also danced in the opening ceremony of the games at Maracaña Stadium in front of more than 75,000 attendees and millions more watching on television.

Dean Trisha Folds-Bennett (L) and Susan West Story ’93 (R) speak with CofC Honors students during a Coffee Conversation event in Fall 2018.

More recently, Susan returned to campus in October 2018 where she met with a small group of CofC Honors students interested in foreign travel. Susan offered the students advice culled from her decades of experience and encouraged them to “bloom where they are planted.” The life of an expat, she explained, can be filled with both challenge and opportunity, but her own experiences allowed her to develop professional skills and a high level of adaptability that have served her well throughout her time abroad.

“Susan’s global career resonates with our students, many of whom have aspirations to live and work abroad,” says Honors College Dean Trisha Folds-Bennett. “Susan has served as a great connector. Since a visit to campus last fall, she has kept in touch with students and reached out with internship opportunities. Our students benefit from alumni like Susan who seek to stay engaged with the CofC Honors community.”

Susan will be presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award at the Honors College Ceremony at Charleston Music Hall on Friday, May 10, 2019. At the ceremony, she will address members of the Class of 2019 as they join the ranks of CofC Honors alumni.


2018- Michael S. Shemtov ’00
2017- Arlinda Locklear, J.D. ’76
2016- Lisa Broome, Ph.D ’92
2015- Melissa Siegel, Ph.D ’03
2014- James G. Hodge Jr., J.D., LLM ’89
2013- Howard L. Hall, Ph.D ’85
2012- Wills Geils, MD ’88
2011- Beth Middleton Burke, J.D. ’94
2010- Steve Swanson ’89

  • Graduate of the Honors Program/College at the College of Charleston
  • Exemplary Professional Achievements
  • Significant Contributions to Society
  • Distinguished Service to the Honors College and the College of Charleston
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