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Former state politician joins faculty
As a former lieutenant governor, Kevin Sullivan is a man who spent his career in law and politics, speaking to hundreds of Connecticut citizens about such topics as public school improvement, economic development, homeland security and state law enforcement. Now he is taking his knowledge of public and political policy to an even more daunting level: the Quinnipiac University classroom.
“It’s like a 12-step program a little bit,” said Sullivan, laughing. “I have to stay two weeks ahead of my students.”
All kidding aside, Sullivan has had a long and impressive career in the state of Connecticut, beginning as a lawyer who graduated from the University of Connecticut School of law. From there, he became state senator. In 2004, he was elected as the lieutenant governor and remained in that position until the term expired on Jan. 3, 2007. With all of his experience, Sullivan brings a considerable amount of knowledge to share with the Quinnipiac community.
According to Kathleen McCourt, the senior vice president for academic and student affairs, the addition of Sullivan to the Quinnipiac faculty is one that will provide “an extraordinary opportunity for students who are interested in media and government to learn from him.”
“Since he is the former lieutenant governor, I think that the perspective he can bring to covering government and politics is unique because he is right there,” McCourt said.
Rick Hancock, assistant dean of the school of Communications, echoes McCourt’s sentiments. “It’s awesome for the university, but more importantly for the students. I’ve known Kevin for 10 years since I was a political reporter at Fox 61 and I watched and covered him when he went from state senator to lieutenant governor,” Hancock said. “His experience and knowledge of politics, especially Connecticut politics, will certainly serve the students that are fortunate enough to take his class.”
While Sullivan has made the transition from politics to academia, it certainly does not mean his days in the government are over.
“I have not left politics,” Sullivan said. “When the end of my term came up, I hadn’t decided to run again, and I have taught in the past and always wanted the opportunity. Even though this is a retirement of sorts, I am still very involved in the Democratic Party and political policy and I would like to run for some public office again in the future. I will also most certainly be involved in one of the presidential campaigns.”
Sullivan is teaching “Covering Government and Politics,” a graduate course, which is a seminar-sized class.
“I’ve got a small group, which is terrific. Many of them have graduated last year or one year ago and have had some experiences with communications and seem to be curious and interested,” he said.
“Quinnipiac has an extraordinary communications school,” he added. “They saw an opportunity to expose their students to people in the media that they will cover and it gives me a chance to be associated with a really fine communications program.”
One of the biggest changes Sullivan has experienced in switching gears from politician to professor is the way he travels. “Since I left my position as lieutenant governor, I’ve had to drive for myself instead of having a state trooper driving me around,” he joked.
As far as future plans go, Quinnipiac has high hopes for its newest addition, McCourt said. “We would certainly welcome the opportunity for Professor Sullivan to continue at Quinnipiac and bring his valuable experience and knowledge to our students,” she said.
As far as the possibility of continuing teaching past this semester, Sullivan says that he will “take a look in two years at the landscape and plan accordingly.”