2003 - Alumni Awards Ceremony
David Sullivan '96
introduces Accounting Professor Bill Sullivan as Honorary
Alumnus Award winner
Good afternoon. I have the
privilege of introducing Assumption's next Honorary Alumnus,
and I'm very happy to have this honor. The last time that
I shared a podium with this man was at the Baccalaureate dinner
for the graduating Class of 1996, of which I was class president.
Only that time, he went on before I did,
and left me a blubbering mess before I even gave my speech
-- so now it's my turn for a little payback! The man that
I'm speaking of is a great friend of mine, and through coincidence,
is also my father, Bill Sullivan. Today means a great deal
to my father, and will surely be one of the highlights of
his long career at this institution. For I believe that there
are few people who truly love this school, its faculty and
students, and its place in academia as much as Bill does.
He has poured his heart and soul into Assumption, and this
award is a fine way for Assumption to show its appreciation.
I still remember when my father decided to leave his successful
career in accounting to go teach full time. Like many in today's
society, I say "successful" based mainly upon a
"financial" measure. I remember telling him over
dinner one night, at the age of five, that I had finally learned
how to tie my shoes. He asked me who taught me, and I told
him that my friend's father did, which made him realize what
he was missing out on because of the career choices he made,
and the lack of passion he had for that chosen career.
Soon after, he decided that he wanted to
teach. Assumption was nice enough to give him that opportunity,
and he has never looked back since. In the over 20 years that
he has been teaching here, I've seen him decide to buy and
sell five houses, two sailboats, a camper, more cars than
I can care to mention, and engage in many other impulsive
behaviors -- but never once has he ever doubted his decision
to teach, nor have I heard him ever say that he "had
a bad day at work". In fact, during this same period,
his wife received her master's degree here, his three sons
received their bachelor's degrees, his eldest son met his
future wife here, and I'm happy to say that the newest generation
of Sullivan's, who turns one year old in a month, has already
applied for "early acceptance" and will be starting
at Assumption in the fall of 2020.
I think my father is one of the few professors
who will never again ask for or take a sabbatical, or even
talk of retiring. He'll be the first to tell you that he has
the best job in the world and instead of counting the days
until summer recess, would prefer to count the days until
Labor Day. And it's not because he loves the fact that "debits
must always equal credits." It's because he is lucky
enough to one of the few people in this world to discover
what it is he was destined to do -- which is helping people
be better people. Bill does not "teach," not according
to the standard classroom definition. He nurtures. He puts
the needs of his students before all else, and is not afraid
to act as a teacher, a mentor, a confidant, in some cases
a "surrogate father," and most importantly, a friend.
He has helped literally thousands upon thousands of people
improve their station in life -- whether
that is academically, or otherwise.
There are few places that my brothers or
I can go without running into someone who knows my father.
And each and every time, it's usually a cavalcade of compliments
about how it was Bill who helped change that person's life
because he took the time to listen, gave advice when asked,
and help alter the course of their lives to the path less
traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
I could continue to talk for hours about
how much my father loves Assumption, but I'd rather he tell
you himself. I would like to thank Assumption, on behalf of
my family, for bestowing this honor upon my father, and would
like to say how proud I am that he continues to inspire so
many by just being himself. I'm so very proud of you dad and
I love you.
Ladies and gentlemen, will you please
lend me your hand in applause for Professor Bill Sullivan,
Assumption's Honorary Alumnus for 2003!