When this series began 199 weeks ago, General Gordon R. Sullivan was the chair of the Norwich board of trustees, and he shared a video message with you introducing our ambitious project. Today, we turn our attention to his life and accomplishments.
General Sullivan was born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in Quincy. He entered Norwich as a Rook in 1955. During his time at Norwich, he was a history major, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, and served on the Junior Week and Winter Carnival committees. He was also on the Guidon staff and penned a regular column titled “Sully’s Scratchings.”
General Sullivan completed his bachelor’s degree from Norwich in 1959 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Armor in the same year. He retired from the Army on July 31, 1995, after more than 36 years of active service. He culminated his uniformed service as the 32nd Chief of Staff—the Army’s senior general officer—and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Gordon Sullivan served overseas in Korea, two tours in Vietnam, and for 12 years in West Germany. His service involved commands from platoon to Division, as well as staff duty from battalion to the Department of the Army. He also had a role as a combat advisor.
An active member of the alumni community since his graduation, General Sullivan first joined the Norwich Board of Trustees in 1995, shortly after his retirement from the Army. He was elected chair in 2003 and served in that capacity for 13 years, retiring in 2016 to become Norwich’s Distinguished Leader-in-Residence. His leadership on the Board saw Norwich into the 21st century, with growth on our physical campus as well as our innovative online learning programs.
General Sullivan currently serves as the Chairman of the Board at the Marshall Legacy Institute and is also a member of the Mitre Army Advisory Board, the MIT Lincoln Labs Advisory Board, and a Life Trustee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. He also serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Army Historical Foundation in Arlington, Virginia. In this capacity, he leads the Capital Campaign to construct the National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. A tireless advocate for Soldiers and their families, the Museum project remains consistent with General Sullivan’s priorities—to recognize the contributions of over 30 million American men and women who have served in our Army.
For many years, General Sullivan was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of the United States Army, where he oversaw the transformation of the association into a dynamic, member-based organization that continues to represent Soldiers, Army families, and the defense industry.
In addition to his numerous military awards and decorations, he is also the recipient of the AUSA 2016 Marshall Award, the West Point Association of Graduates’ Sylvanus Thayer Award and a member of the Sergeants Major Academy’s Hall of Honor. He was granted an honorary Doctor of Military Science degree from Norwich in 1991.
General Sullivan currently resides in Falmouth, Massachusetts with his wife Lori. He has three children and three grandchildren. He is an avid reader, amateur historian, and active sailor and sport fishing enthusiast.