Emilie Dulles, '03


When you first came to Princeton what did you think your major would be?

I remember the incoming class speech the Dean of Butler College gave to future 2003 graduates, during which she told us we would change our major four times during our time at Princeton.

Having a passion for musical theatre, including seven years of classical voice training, I was certain that I would start and finish Princeton as a Music major.

In the end, the Dean was right. I went from Music to Comparative Literature to Creative Writing. I finally found that deciding on a Philosophy Major would benefit my academic and professional future more broadly and greatly.

What made you decide to major in Philosophy?

My Philosophy curriculum offered me the most challenging topics and intellectually rigorous work. Music came naturally, and so I wanted to carve out something more for myself, something I had not tackled or accomplished yet.

The format of Princeton's Philosophy Department allowed me to expand my thinking and apply a more inquisitive approach to the profound concepts of life. It was the work and rigor of Princeton Philosophy that have helped me use my degree every day since. I not only think differently, I also write more accurately and weigh each word more acutely, especially for client stationery projects.

Are there any stories about your experiences as a Philosophy major at Princeton that you'd like to share?

My study of Philosophy definitely impacted my choice to participate in Princeton in Beijing during the summer of 2001, to accept the treasury role at my eating Club, and to embrace life and critical thinking with dual European and American citizenships. I'd be happy to share more stories during Reunions...

The coursework offered by the Philosophy Department was so varied that I decided to study a broad range of concepts as opposed to delving deeply into one particular school of thought or subject matter. 

Each student had the flexibility to build their own curriculum, which makes Philosophy a particularly personal educational experience at Princeton.

What did you do immediately after leaving Princeton?

I was recruited heavily to develop my family's custom stationery and wedding invitation business, so I passed on Wall Street opportunities and moved to Charleston, South Carolina.

My plan was stay in Charleston for a year or two, and get right back to Manhattan or London. As philosophy teaches us all, my original visions for life and location did not turn out according to plan.

I now split my time seasonally between South Florida, South Carolina, Washington, DC, and New York City.

What do you do now?

I now own Dulles Designs ~ Exquisite Stationery. We manage annual correspondence and event stationery projects, by offering full-service design, calligraphy, production, and über-secure guest list management to the traditional-luxury wedding, country club, and cocktail party market.

I also work with private schools, law practices, consulting and architecture firms, design businesses, and most commonly other Ivy League graduates and families to design and print their custom stationery.

I especially apply my Princeton Philosophy degree towards counseling brides, their mothers, event planners, and interior designers with vexing design and color palette decisions.

Our main studio is located in the historic South of Broad district of Charleston. Many northern and destination weddings choose coastal South Carolina for their nuptials. However, I travel almost monthly to meet with clients, personal assistants, and dignitaries prior to their sit-down-dinner event launch. [This interview was conducted in January 2015]

Final words?

God, good food, and hand-written 'thank you' notes are implicitly grounded in love, and this trilogy will continuously ameliorate the world by making our relationships and experiences more joyful and successful.