Remembering Jane Sullivan
From 1972 through 1984, a genuine love for British literature permeated Mrs. Jane Sullivan’s British literature classes at Aquinas College. She was always impeccably dressed with her signature French twist hair style and presided over her classes with a keen intellect and quick wit. She set the tone for each class with her prayer: “May the meditations of my heart and the words of my mouth be pleasing to you, O God.”
Mrs. Sullivan was a quintessential Southern Lady and was always gracious even when she had to correct a wrong interpretation of a text. She expected her students not only to read and understand the texts but to discuss the finer points that the author imbedded in the text. She could laugh with students who threw up their arms in frustration trying to understand the Romantic poets. Then she would kindly unlock the text so that everyone could understand it. Since she wanted all her students to succeed, Mrs. Sullivan was willing to help any student who was struggling with the readings or the writing assignments. She especially had a soft spot for the police officers who were juggling full time jobs with college courses.
Throughout her tenure, British Literature was required for the associate degree, so she had most of the student body in her classes. They were enriched by her instruction and her support. Wordsworth’s “Ode on Intimations of Immortality” may speak for us who remember those splendid lessons:
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring,
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
She passed away on October 5, 2022, at the age of 98. May she rest in peace. To make a gift in memory of Mrs. Sullivan, please click here. All gifts will go toward Aquinas’ endowment, allowing these gifts to provide a remembrance of Mrs. Sullivan in perpetuity.