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Long time UTMB donors Gerald and Susanne Sullivan

Gerald and Susanne Sullivan Give to Campaign,
Name Jennie Sealy Hospital Playroom

Susanne Sullivan of Galveston can’t easily recall a time when she was not connected to UTMB.

She returned to the university more than a dozen years after she graduated with a nursing degree in 1967 to serve as chairwoman of the School of Nursing’s advisory council, and later was the school’s first development director.

Today, she and her husband, Gerald, are members of numerous key leadership groups, including her Working Wonders cabinet membership. Their loyalty to UTMB has never been more apparent than when they pledged to give generously to the $438 million project. The hospital’s second-floor Day Surgery Playroom will be named in their honor.

“We wanted to support families who have sick children,” Susanne Sullivan said. “We hope the playroom gives comfort to families and all the children who use it.”

In making their pledge, the couple said they have given this and other gifts to UTMB not for praise or fanfare. Their generosity to UTMB also includes their creation of the Susanne and Gerald Sullivan Scholarship for the School of Nursing Accelerated Nursing Program. The couple, along with her sisters and their spouses, also established another nursing scholarship that honors her mother, Ann Marie Hooser, a nurse and World War II veteran.    

Their need to give back and their understanding of the university’s importance to Galveston and the region are what compel them to give. 

“I think it’s our responsibility to give back to our community,” Susanne Sullivan said. “I live and breathe that.”

To that her husband added: “We’re very proud to be associated with UTMB. It’s such a major part of Galveston and if we don’t have people who continue to support the university, we won’t have the university.”

Gerald Sullivan said his Development Board membership has given him a greater appreciation of the Kempner Fund, Sealy & Smith Foundation, Moody Foundation and other sources of considerable campaign contributions. These foundations, he said, have made Galveston, and UTMB, what they are today.

The Sullivans’ gift to UTMB simply carries on a tradition that the Galveston families tied to those organizations began, he said. The campaign’s success will also rely in large part upon individual contributions like theirs.

“We know that individual giving will push us over the top in this campaign,” Gerald Sullivan said.    

The Sullivans’ affinity for the university also stems from the fact that Gerald Sullivan and all of the couple’s five children were born at UTMB. They particularly admire the dedication of Dr. Joan Richardson, chairwoman of the Department of Pediatrics, who was so attentive when one of their 11 grandchildren was sick. She saw to his transfer to Texas Children’s Hospital after Hurricane Ike struck the island.

UTMB’s reemergence following the storm deepened the Sullivans’ passion for UTMB and made clear the need to “carry a torch” for the university.

“We were so fortunate to get our hospital back the way we wanted, and we knew we should support any effort to keep building UTMB,” she said. “We should never take this institution for granted.”

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