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Introducing Dr. Sullivan!

November 4, 2019

Meet one of the many new additions to this year’s teaching staff, Dr. John Sullivan! Dr. Sullivan comes to Mercy with teaching experience from Georgia Southern University, Georgia State, and Spellman college. Equipped with a PhD in Religion and a Masters in Religious Studies, Dr. Sullivan teaches American Government and U.S. History in the Social Studies department and World Religions in the Theology department. A proclaimed travel aficionado and history buff, Dr. Sullivan brings a new perspective and a world of knowledge into the Mercy community. I sat down with Dr. Sullivan to find more about him both in and outside of the classroom.

What drew you to teaching the subjects of history and religion?

Dr. Sullivan: I believe religion intersects with history very well. I got my PhD in religion and did my dissertation on history and religion. In my time teaching at colleges, I also taught in both departments, and I see how the two subjects complement each other more and more.

Why did you decide to teach at Mercy?

Dr. Sullivan: Well, the primary reason is that I like to teach. At many of the schools I worked at, the focus was on research, and not teaching. At Mercy, the focus is on teaching, and there are so many excellent students here. I get to do what I love. I also get to bring my college teaching and international studies insights to students and give them access to new experiences. The faculty here is also excellent, and this school is great college preparation.

What has been your favorite part of Mercy so far?

Dr. Sullivan: I would say coming in every day and being around students who want to learn. If you like to teach, you are excited when students are excited to learn. I believe learning should be fun, and I like to create an environment where it is.

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

Dr. Sullivan: This is a tough question to ask a world historian. I think I would have dinner with Alfonso X, the king of Spain in the 13th century, known as “The Wise.” He ruled over Spain during a time when Christian, Muslim, and Jewish people lived together and were able to coexist. I would love to have dinner with him to ask him about being a patron of the arts, having such a cosmopolitan view for the time, and understanding all these different cultures he ruled over. He also helped build many big time buildings in Spain, which is what I did my research on. I’m not sure many of your readers will know who Alfonso X is, but maybe a few people will look him up.

Do you have a favorite book, movie, or TV show?

Dr. Sullivan: I don’t know if I have a favorite movie or TV show, but The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite books.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Dr. Sullivan: This is something my friends and I discuss frequently actually. I’m always torn between flying or having the ability to speak every language. There are great benefits to both.

What is the greatest life lesson you’ve learned so far?

Dr. Sullivan: Definitely to travel. To make time to travel, whenever you can, even when it’s within your state. Experience things outside of your normal, everyday life, and take advantage of your opportunities. Getting exposed to new places and views makes you not only a better student, but a more well-rounded person.

Lastly, perhaps, my most important question, do you have a go-to dance move?

Dr. Sullivan: *he laughs* I probably don’t have one, but I’m more of a musician anyways. I’m a percussionist, and I play the drums. I recently hurt my hand and can’t play, but I was in a band for a number of years.

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