Mary Stallcup (1954–1997)
Mary Stallcup was the first woman to serve as attorney general of Arkansas, although her tenure was brief. She also served as general counsel and in top administrative roles at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner County). Before she was on staff at UCA, she served in various divisions at the state attorney general’s office.
Mary Barbara Stallcup was born on June 21, 1954, in Omaha, Nebraska, as one of six children of Lieutenant Ed Stallcup and Helen Conroy Stallcup. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana College in Pineville in 1974, having majored in history, and earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1979. Beyond her admission to the state bar, Stallcup also was admitted to practice before the Arkansas Supreme Court, federal courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. While her legal career included private practice working in the Little Rock law firm of Friday, Eldredge and Clark, as well as a stint at the Pine Bluff Arsenal for the Naval Sea Command, Stallcup spent the bulk of her career, and made her greatest impact, first in the state attorney general’s office and then at the University of Central Arkansas.
Stallcup joined the Arkansas Attorney General’s office in 1980, working in the division of energy conservation and rate advocacy. During her twelve years with the Attorney General’s office, she served as director of the consumer utility rate advocacy division and later as assistant attorney general, deputy attorney general, and chief of staff. At the end of December 1990, upon the resignation of interim attorney general Ron Field, Governor Bill Clinton appointed Stallcup, then serving as Field’s top deputy, as the state’s first female attorney general. She held the job until the newly elected Winston Bryant took office on January 15, 1991. Stallcup stayed with the attorney general’s office for the transition period but then joined the staff of UCA in 1992 in the role of general counsel.
She became executive assistant to UCA president Winfred Thompson on June 1, 1996, managing the operations of the president’s office in addition to the governmental affairs program. Observers noted that she helped ease longtime tensions between the Arkansas Board of Higher Education and the president’s office. She was slated to be promoted to executive vice president on July 1, 1997. However, she experienced a recurrence of cancer in 1996 (she had had an earlier bout with cancer before her employment at UCA), and the disease advanced quickly; she appeared at a university function at the president’s house barely a week before her death.
Mary Stallcup died on May 17, 1997. Stallcup, who never married, is buried along with other family members in Crestlawn Memorial Park in Conway.
For additional information:
“Interim Attorney General Steps Down in Arkansas.” Tulsa World, December 28, 1990. Online at http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/interim-attorney-general-steps-down-in-arkansas/article_91dd661f-a652-5979-b777-a76a95546968.html (accessed December 7, 2017).
“Mary Stallcup Dies, Was UCA Counsel and Former AG.” Log Cabin Democrat, May 19, 1997. Online at http://thecabin.net/stories/051997/stallcup.html#.WYBz6ITyuM8 (accessed December 7, 2017).
William H. Pruden III
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