Dr. Michael Sullivan, vice president for business affairs and treasurer at St. Thomas since 1985, will become an associate professor in the Graduate School of Business and chief investment officer of the university in the summer of 2000.
In addition to his teaching duties, Sullivan will be responsible for management of institutional investments and cash management and financial institutional relationships, and will serve as an adviser on debt and real estate issues. He will be based at the Minneapolis campus, and will remain in his current position until his successor is hired.
The move to a faculty position reflects a growing desire to spend more time in the classroom, said Sullivan, who has taught graduate business and education courses at St. Thomas as an adjunct professor since 1981. He taught at St. Cloud State University from 1979 to 1993.
"I have loved my time as an administrator at St. Thomas," said Sullivan, "but my goal always has been to get to the point where I could spend most of my time teaching. The new position gives me an opportunity to do that and to manage our investment portfolio."
The Rev. Dennis Dease, president, praised Sullivan for his achievements in overseeing a division that includes the Physical Plant, Administrative and Auxiliary Services, Human Resources, Purchasing and the Controller’s office.
"Michael has been a vital part of every facet of our growth into a comprehensive urban university," Dease said. "In his 15 years as vice president of business affairs, our enrollment has nearly doubled, our investment assets have increased more than fivefold in value and we have constructed seven major buildings or additions to existing buildings. He has been an invaluable member of my staff, and I thank him for his hard work."
Dr. Judith Dwyer, executive vice president, said Sullivan has been effective because he has a broad understanding and grasp of the university’s inner workings.
"Michael has encyclopedic knowledge of St. Thomas along with great instincts and sound judgment," she said. "He understands higher education finances as well as anyone I know, and we are fortunate that he still will oversee our endowment funds and other invested assets."
Sullivan will report to the new vice president for business affairs. Dwyer said a national search for Sullivan’s successor will begin later this fall, with a goal of bringing that person to St. Thomas by next summer.
Sullivan, a native of Boston, earned his bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts from St. John’s University in Collegeville and his Ph.D. in educational and higher administration from the University of Minnesota. His post-doctoral studies include three endowment or management institutes at Harvard University, a Bush Leadership Fellow Award and research grants from the Minnesota Private College Council and the Eurasia Foundation.
He was assistant to the superintendent for finance in the St. Anthony-New Brighton School District from 1977 to 1982, when he became manager of finance and support services in the South Washington County School District. He started at St. Thomas in October 1985.
In the subsequent years, enrollment grew from 5,959 to a record 10,955 this fall. St. Thomas assets increased from $128 million to $523 million, with investment assets growing from $49 million to $265 million. The institutional budget has increased from $45 million to $149 million since 1985, and the number of faculty and staff has more than doubled (from 777 to 1,671).
Sullivan coordinated the design and construction of $157 million in new and renovated buildings, including the Murray-Herrick Campus Center and O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center additions, the Frey Science and Engineering Center, Morrison Hall, 1000 LaSalle and Opus Hall. He is chair of the committee involved with the renovation of Albertus Magnus Hall, which will reopen next summer as a center for the liberal arts.
"These seven projects alone represent more than half of the space we have at St. Thomas," Dwyer said. "Michael was involved in every decision that was made as we expanded the campus to better meet the needs of students, faculty, staff and the community."
He also has overseen the acquisition of parts of four city blocks in downtown Minneapolis for the development of that campus and the two blocks bounded by Summit, Cretin, Grand and Cleveland avenues for the St. Paul campus expansion. He administered the 1987 affiliation with the St. Paul Seminary and has been involved with the physical development of the south campus.
Dease pointed out that fringe benefits also have increased during Sullivan’s tenure. The university’s contribution to the employee retirement program grew from 6 percent to 10.4 percent, and investment options expanded from two to 40 funds.
Sullivan has been active in higher education organizations around the country.
He has held positions in the National Association of College and University Business Officials, the Association of School Business Officials International and the American Siberian Education Foundation, and serves on accreditation visiting teams for the North Central Association.
In Minnesota, he serves on boards or committees at St. Thomas Academy, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Catholic Digest, the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning and the Daniel C. Gainey Conference Center. He has held several positions in the Minnesota Association of School Business Officials, including president.