There are many ways to know when a university president has had a profound impact on its students, one of them is when students take initiative to express their gratitude. When it comes to Dr. Julie Sullivan’s impact on students during her tenure as president of the University of St. Thomas, the Undergraduate Student Government responded by naming its student achievement center in her honor: The Julie H. Sullivan Center for Student Achievement.
The Undergraduate Student Government has worked closely with university administrators for many years. However, under President Julie Sullivan's leadership, the relationship between USG and administrators has strengthened, said USG President Adam Revoir ’22.
“She has continuously supported students and has implemented policies to further the student experience,” Revoir said. “Because of all that, USG couldn't think of a better show of appreciation and recognition than renaming a space on campus that offers an abundance of resources to students.”
The Undergraduate Student Government will host a special dedication ceremony on May 13, 2022, from 1-2 p.m., on the first floor of the Murray-Herrick Campus Center to commemorate the naming of the Julie H. Sullivan Center for Student Achievement. A reception will follow the ceremony.
“Her legacy and commitment to students and the St. Thomas community will forever have a place on campus with the Julie H. Sullivan Center for Student Achievement,” Revoir said.
The center first launched collaboratively in 2018 by Academic Affairs and Student Affairs after Director of Retention and Student Success Tonia Jones Peterson proposed to create a physical and expanded space that would elevate the academic life for all Tommies. The center, which reaches and partners with all sectors of the university to enhance the student experience, was established midway through Sullivan’s time at the university. It is home to key academic, health and wellness, career, and Proud to be First programs.
“During the past nine years as president of the University of St. Thomas, Dr. Julie Sullivan has inspired and empowered thousands of students to wholly engage in their full academic and cocurricular experience through her support of these programs and many others,” said Dr. Karen Lange, vice president for student affairs. “She has committed herself to advancing both the academic and cocurricular success of every student at St Thomas.”
Revoir met with Sullivan in March after she announced that she’d step down as president in June in order to assume the president role at Santa Clara University. He asked her what would be the most meaningful farewell token of appreciation from the student body.
“In true President Sullivan fashion, she was modest and humble as she went on to say no need to put something together,” he recalled. “Next, I asked her what she was most proud of during her nine years as president and her face lit up when speaking on the student experience with notable achievements like D-I transition, Dougherty Family College, new residence halls and more. From that moment, I knew that USG's gift should be something centering around students and for students.”
Given that the center’s mission is to "intentionally integrate resources to empower students as they navigate academic and professional goals," the Undergraduate Student Government believes that Dr. Sullivan's tenure as president embodies the mission and objectives that the center carries out.
The center is not the first space at the university to carry Sullivan’s name. Earlier in April, the Dougherty Family College unveiled The Julie H. Sullivan Commons on the Minneapolis campus, which also held a reception where students, faculty, staff and supporters thanked Sullivan in person for serving as president and leaving a lasting legacy.
“As I reflect on my time here at St. Thomas while Julie Sullivan has been president, I am proud to call her president,” Revoir said. “It's been a roller coaster with events many would not have predicted but she has always put students first and that is what makes her a great university leader that many will miss.”