Alumnus’ $1.5 Million Endowment to Support Math Department

A $1.5 million bequest commitment by alumnus John Dixon Sullivan, BS ’76, MS ’83, will aid faculty, research and scholarly work in the Mathematics Department.
May 10, 2023
Alumnus John Sullivan (left) with CCAS Dean Paul Wahlbeck (right).

Alumnus John Sullivan, BS ’76, MS ’83, (left) with CCAS Dean Paul Wahlbeck.

A $1.5 million bequest commitment by alumnus John Dixon Sullivan, BS ’76, MS ’83, will create The John Dixon Sullivan Mathematics Innovation Fund to help recruit faculty, bolster research and enhance scholarly work in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) Department of Mathematics.

The bequest intention from Mr. Sullivan, who earned his bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics before going on to a 40-year career with the federal government (30 at the Federal Aviation Administration), was announced at a signing ceremony where CCAS Dean Paul Wahlbeck and Mathematics Department Chair Frank Baginski both lauded Mr. Sullivan for his commitment to strengthening the CCAS math community.

“John Sullivan’s generous gift will further our Math Department’s mission to provide high-quality education and research that prepares the next generation of analytical problem solvers to meet the demands of today’s data-driven world,” Wahlbeck said.

The endowment will fund numerous initiatives within the Math Department, including recruitment and retention of faculty members and post-doctoral fellows, and faculty research, visitor programs, travel and scholarly work, along with other department needs. 

Baginski celebrated the fund’s future impact on supporting “top-notch faculty, increasing our research stature and enhancing the educational experience for our students.” He said that, with the bequest’s support, the department will continue to encourage students as they develop the analytical and technical skills that make them highly sought after by employers and professional schools. Baginski also noted that almost every agency and branch of government employs mathematicians in various capacities, and CCAS math alumni have pursued careers as consultants, actuaries, researchers, financial engineers, educators, computer programmers, data scientists, lawyers, physicians and more.

In addition to his BS in applied mathematics, Mr. Sullivan holds a master’s in systems analysis and management and a post-master’s certificate in applied science from the GW School of Engineering and Applied Science.