2017 Sullivan Award recipients reflect on honor

Posted on Apr 10 2017 - 8:51pm by Italiana Anderson

Honest, integrity and courage are just a few of the qualities the recipients and finalists of the 2017 Sullivan Awards exemplify.

Donald Cole, assistant provost and associate professor of mathematics, received the Alumni Sullivan Award at the Celebration of Service.

“My lips dropped, and my eyes boggled. I was really surprised by that because this is the university’s highest award they give for service, and I immediately think, ‘Well, why me?’ I know so many people that have done so much in term of service,” Cole said.

The Alumni Sullivan Award is given to an Ole Miss alumnus who epitomizes what community service is on campus.

Cole has done numerous projects with the Oxford community and the University of Mississippi. He raved about his most recent work with Books and Bears, which is sponsored by the university’s Black Faculty and Staff Organization, and his service with Habitat for Humanity.

“I was very pleased and liked to be called amongst those that do serve, so this solidifies in some sense that the service I’ve rendered is somehow recognized because you don’t really think about the service you do; you just work,” Cole said.

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation was established in 1890 by Algernon Sydney Sullivan when he was a young and motivated lawyer in Indiana. He used his talents to help people in his community who were in turmoil.

The Sullivan Awards are given out at select college and university campuses in the South. Using criteria maintained by the foundation, Sullivan schools may present the awards to graduating seniors, alumni or community members.

Other honorees for the Sullivan Awards include: Community Member Sullivan Award recipient Jo Ann O’Quin and Student Sullivan Award recipient Miller Richmond.

“I’m very thankful to my family and friends for being great examples of service,” Richmond, an international studies major, said. ” I am glad to have served alongside many great students on this campus, and I could think of many deserving people for the Sullivan Award. I am honored and excited to receive this award alongside community leaders that I look up to.”

Richmond was the Ole Miss Big Event executive co-director and a member of the UM Columns Society.

The McClean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement facilitated the 2017 Sullivan Awards last Wednesday.  This award is the university’s highest award in honor of service, and it is given to a community leader who places service to others and the community before him or herself while portraying the qualities of honesty, morality, ethics, integrity, responsibility, determination, courage and compassion.

This article was submitted to The Daily Mississippian from an advanced reporting class.