Mount Saint Mary College senior Thomas Sullivan of Monroe, N.Y. summed up his life over the last four years in a single sentence: “I’ve made so many great friends, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I’ve figured out what I want to do going forward,” he said.
Sullivan, who majored in Criminology, will graduate from the Mount on Saturday, May 20. He has already applied to graduate school and plans to pursue a master’s degree in law enforcement, social work, or another discipline within the Social Sciences field. Human interaction in his career is a must, Sullivan said, a conclusion he came to during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The main thing that’s got to be there is people,” he said. “I can’t do working on the computer all the time. I love being with people. I love the little family I have here at the Mount.”
The dedicated student made the most of his Mount experience by joining the college’s Criminology Club, becoming a member of the Criminology honor society Alpha Phi Sigma, and lending his skills to the Mount’s production of plays like “Everything Will Be All Right” and “Tuna Christmas.” Sullivan also took part in the Mount’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, where he examined incarceration statistics in New York State.
But the campus community that had the largest impact on Sullivan was the Dominican Scholars of Hope (DSH). A living and learning community for highly motivated Mount students, the Dominican Scholars are rooted in the Dominican heritage of the college. DSH is overseen by Charles Zola, director of the Catholic and Dominican Institute, assistant to the President in Mission Integration, and associate professor of Philosophy.
Sullivan was a familiar face at the scholars’ many on-campus offerings and served on the DSH Leadership Council. The council was “an opportunity that not a lot of people get, and I loved it,” Sullivan explained. “Before this I had never been in a leadership position. I don’t know if the leadership qualities I have now had always been there and just needed a chance to come out, or if this is where I obtained them. Regardless, it helped me to blossom.”
His time at the Mount and as a Dominican Scholar of Hope also worked to strengthen his Christian faith, Sullivan revealed. About a month before his classes came to an end, Sullivan and about ten other Mount students received the sacrament of Confirmation as Catholics.
“I wondered, ‘why didn’t I do this sooner?’” he said. “When I walk into the Dominican Center chapel after a stressful day, I feel calm.”
In addition to Zola, there were many professors and staff members throughout his time at the Mount who left a positive impact on Sullivan both personally and professionally, including Sarah Maple, assistant professor of Religious Studies; Dr. Jason N. Adsit, president of the Mount and adjunct professor of Philosophy; Michael McGuire, assistant professor of History and Political Science; and Robert Miller, associate professor of Religious Studies; among others.
“It just goes to show you, I’ve taken inspiration from so many people here at the Mount,” he said.
After countless late-night study sessions and a job well done as a Dominican Scholar, Sullivan has earned some time to reflect on what made his college experience so memorable. There’s a lot he’s going to miss about the Mount, he said.
“I feel so connected with the campus and my professors,” he noted. “I’m going to miss the people and the sense of community the most.”