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Farewell to an MCC Friend

Paul SullivanPaul Sullivan, an MCC professor of both journalism and business, was buried today, four days after losing his battle with cancer.  Thousands of mourners turned out for Sullivan's wake on Wednesday, and hundreds more attended his funeral at the Immaculate Conception Church in Lowell.

Tributes poured in all week for Sullivan, who was arguably MCC's biggest cheerleader in the media market, whether it be in his Lowell Sun columns or his WBZ talk show.

A few years ago, Sullivan, working with President Carole Cowan, had pitched the idea of creating a leadership institute at MCC, a program that would help identify the leaders of tomorrow and introduce them to business development and government, and help cultivate their leadership potential.  Sullivan took ill, though, and was never quite able to get the program off and running.

This week, President Cowan announced that she plans to reinvigorate the institute, and has renamed it the Paul H. Sullivan Leadership Institute at MCC.  More plans about the program will be announced in the days to come, but we at MCC thought it appropriate to honor Paul in this manner on the day of his burial.

At his service, WBZ radio personality Carl Stevens shared a poem about Sullivan that we reproduce here, in memory of our friend and colleague, Paul Sullivan

 

FOR PAUL, by Carl Stevens

Go home, Sully

To where the grass is green and tall

Where every home is a microphone;

You can own them all.

You can take calls from Saint Peter,

Argue with prophets and popes.

Take the heavenly twine of rhetoric

And knit yourself some hope.

Know the joy that Adam knew

Long before the fall.

Go home, Sully,

To where the grass is green and tall.

 

To where angels speak in sound bites

As long as the Nile and wider

Where everything's so peaceful

That Gandhi's considered a fighter;

Where God will bring you breakfast,

Only the expensive stuff;

Breathe in, breathe out, enjoy yourself,

God knows you suffered enough.

Buy yourself a radio

In heaven's shopping mall.

Go home, Sully,

To where the grass is green and tall.

 

Back here we'll shine your memory

Like a trophy in a case.

We can fill your time slot,

But who could take your place?

Who can fill a room like you

With laughter, wit and venom?

In a week you'll have the

Top-rated talk show in heaven.

Elijah, Paul and Moses

I'm sure that they will call.

Go home, Sully,

To where the grass is green and tall.

 

Say good-bye to all the doctors

They will not cut again.

I'm sure it seemed these past few years

Like pain was your best friend.

But now the pain is over,

Your spirit rises high.

You showed us how to live

And you taught us how to die.

You're out of that hospital bed;

Laugh out loud, stand tall.

Welcome home, Paul Sullivan,

To where the grass is green and tall.

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Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 10:00 PM by MCC Blog Admin

Comments

Chris Lindsey said:

This was a real nice well written tribute to Paul Sullivan. He will be missed. I loved the poem. Thank you for sharing it with us.

# September 13, 2007 3:16 PM

Karen A. Warren said:

Paul and are were both alums of MCC and Simmons College.  We met at Simmons as he was beginning the graduate program and I was finishing - we sat together in a class for a semester.  At this time he spoke of his desire to teach at MCC - he had a passion to teach and be a part of MCC. MCC made a difference in my life and I shared his appreciation for the importance of the community college program.  With my roots in Chelmsford at the time and his affliations in Lowell we had a lot of wonderful conversations and we made a connection that was lasting for me.  I moved to RI seven yrs ago but would always turn him on at night if I was near WBZ - often when I was staying in Boston.  He was a gem - someone we will all miss.  I would love to be able to make a donation to the leadership program in honor Paul - it would give me a chance to remember Paul and acknowledge what MCC did for me.  

Karen Warren (Sullivan-Wharton '74 MCC)  

# September 13, 2007 4:02 PM

jay linnehan said:

Today's ceremony was a great tribute to a great man!

And his family did him proud. The eulogy and singing were outstanding.

It certainly made me reflect on what's really important in life.

May God bless.

# September 13, 2007 5:24 PM

Judy Hogan said:

I have sat down to start this many times and many times I have stopped.  There have been many magnificent tributes written by so many accomplished writers, I knew I couldn't compete with those who buy ink by the barrel.  Paul is worth the risk, so here goes.

Although I have known Paul for more than 20 years, in many different capacities, most recently I knew him as a teacher.  Paul was an amazing teacher and his students loved him.  Every semester, faculty advisors would call me asking which sections of Introduction to Business Paul Sullivan would be teaching.  Their students wanted to know so they could register for his class.  You see, good news travels fast on a college campus and Paul was known as one of the great interesting teachers.  You never fell asleep in one of Paul's classes and students sought him out.

Over the last few years Paul and I had many discussions about his wanting to teach full time some day.  Needless to say I was thrilled by the prospect and I encouraged him to meet with myself and other members of the college to talk about the possibility.  When Paul came to meet with us, there were a few skeptics in the room.  After all, he was known as a writer and a talk show host and what did he know about good teaching?

As with everything else he did, Paul was brilliant in the interview.  He talked passionately about comminity college students and the importance of public higher education.  Paul often used examples of good business practices from the greater Lowell community in his course and I encouraged him to talk about them that day.  He raised his arm and pointed in the direction of Saints Medical Center and talked about a great management strategy they were using, a snazzy marketing campaign at Lowell General and a great product mix at a downtown retailer.  He talked about things our students could relate to and it was clear why he was a favorite among them.  When Paul was finished there were no skeptics left in the room.

Often times Paul would come to visit me in my office on campus.  He would walk in exclaiming "Hi Boss!". That always made me laugh.  As you can imagine, rare was the person who was the boss in a relationship with Paul.  I let him think, I thought, he thought I was the boss :-)  In every conversation he always asked about my son Patrick.  Pat and Paul were suffering from a brain condition at the same time.  Although Pat's problem was miniscule in comparison to Paul's, he knew I worried.  Frequently he would remind me that the "head guys" (Paul's affectionate term for neurologists and neurosurgeons) in Boston were the best and we were lucky to live so close.  In his selfless way he would say "Pat and I have it easy.  It's toughest on the people who have to wait in the waiting room for us."

Paul was all about everyone else.  One of my fondest memories of Paul was when he was trying to raise money to help a young mother who had fallen on hard times.  She was going to be reunited with her children and they were going to live together as a family again.

I called Tony Accardi, Paul's good friend and colleague at WLLH.  I told Tony to tell Paul I would drop off a check.  A few minutes later the phone rang.  "Hey listen" Paul said.  "Here's what I want you to do.  Got to a spa and get a gift certificate for a make-over...hair, nails, facial, the works.  I want her to look great for her kids."

Later that day I started off to pick up the gift certificate.  The city was slowly but surely becoming paralyzed by a termendous snow storm.  Under ordinary circumstances I wouldn't have driven in that weather to find a water hose if I were on fire.  But, Paul had a mission and I was the wing man.  It didn't get better than that.

I recently received an email from a good friend, Dr. Kathryn Hughes.  Paul had written an article about Kathy and her work as a surgeon in the city.  She commented on the many tributes to Paul in the Lowell Sun and how touched she was that Paul had taken the time to write about her work.  In reality it was Paul who was grateful to have met Kathy.  I have a very vivid memory of him calling me after he interviewed her.  Paul was so impressed by her dedication to her profession, and her patients and how humble she was.  He remarked, "she doesn't get how great she is."  Paul was all about ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help the community he loved so much.  He knew the rich and powerful had more than their 15 minutes of fame.  His goal was to make people aware of the unsung heroes whose stories might never be told on 60 Minutes or 20/20.

When Paul was brought into the Immaculate Conception Church on Thursday for the last time he was greeted by the words of a favorite hynm.  "Here I am Lord.  Is it I Lord?  I have heard you calling in the night.  I will go Lord, if you lead me.  I will hold your people in my heart."  Paul certainly held us in his heart and how lucky we were.

# September 15, 2007 8:59 PM

Ashley Sullivan said:

This would make my Dad very VERY proud.

Thank you to all thoes who have shown love and support for my Dad.

# September 17, 2007 9:41 AM
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