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Reunion 2003 - Alumni Awards Ceremony
Accounting Professor Bill Sullivan accepts Honorary Alumnus Award

Alumni Relations Director] Bob Carroll has been worried about this ever since I was chosen for this honor. He knows that faculty are programed to talk in either 50 or 75 minutes blocks ... I've promised him that I would be brief ... but I know he's still worried. When he told me that this award meant that I would have "all the rights and privileges of a member of the class of 2003" ... my first question was whether that meant I could fulfill my President's Council pledge for the next few years at the reduced rate offered to recent grads. His answer was a swift and emphatic "NO!"

On a serious note, I am honored and delighted to receive this recognition. When I saw that the recent faculty to get this award were Mike True and Wayne Rollins, I was also humbled at the thought of being included with them.

Much of what I do that caused the alumni to honor me with this -- the help with placement and job searches, the effort to help students with the selection of their major or courses, the fact that I feel that the phrase "in loco parentis" is one that we should take seriously -- these do not get the same kind of official recognition that publishing monographs and presenting papers in East Overshoe get, so I am pleased that my efforts have been recognized by the alumni. Putting this together with my five Baccalaureate speeches means I'm doing something right, I guess.
When I started trying to figure out what I would say today, my wife, Linda, who has always been able to help me figure things out, suggested that I talk about how much I love Assumption and how grateful I am that I found both this place and this work.

I have just finished my 23rd year here at Assumption. And I actually taught in Continuing Ed for a year before coming on full-time in September 1980. A few years ago, when I was complaining about some aches and pains, Tom Begley (another prof) told me that I wasn't really old until I had my first student come up to me, offer to shake my hand, and say "Hi, you had my mother or father in class." Each year now, I know that student is going to show up soon!

Before that I had a career in public accounting and industry so I know how good this work is, "how blessed" I am. Every year, I have (in fact, every teacher has) the chance to be that one teacher that a student will never forget ... that's pretty exciting compared to that old debit and credit stuff! And I've had a job where for 10 years in a row, I got to see at least one of my sons practically every day while they were students here. And one of them even met his wife here. Pretty good fringe benefits, I think.

Well, keeping Bob's concerns in mind, now I know how the winners at the Academy Awards feel when they have to say everything they want to say before the orchestra starts playing.

I would like to recognize some of the people who have helped me get to this place:

Richard Bruno, my Intermediate Accounting professor many years ago in all three semesters of my two junior years at BC, is the reason I decided I would try to be a teacher one day. I try to publicly acknowledge him whenever I can. He left BC after being denied tenure and went on to be Teacher of the Year at Babson College many, many times.

Joe Sheerin and Maurice Plasse, two teachers here at Assumption -- both passed on now -- who taught me a lot about keeping my priorities straight as I grew into the job. Even now, I tell people that Doc Sheerin is who I want to be when I grow up, "the teacher no one has to take, but everyone wants to take."

Joe Foley, Frank Marino, and Saeed Mohaghegh, my three long-time colleagues in the Business Studies Department (we've been together since 1983) who have always supported me and my efforts.

[Former College president] Joe Hagan, who had the courage 23 years ago to offer me a job. (He told me he only had one question for "business-types" who claimed to want to teach at the college level: "How old are your kids?" Since the boys were 8, 6 and 2, he felt I was really interested in doing the work not just interested in the tuition remission.)

And last but far from least, Linda, my wife. Who, when I suggested that I wanted to do something that was going to cut our family income in half, not only agreed but was very enthusiastic about my career switch.

Thank you all again. Now I am an alumnus of three schools Boston College, Babson College and, now, Assumption, I think you all know which one means the most to me.