MOUNT OLIVE- James Sullivan uses a quote from Author and Motivational Speaker Jim Rohn to summarize his goals in life, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” Sullivan, who recently retired as a US Army Military Police Officer after 18 years of service, was searching for new possibilities for the next phase in his professional career. After much soul-searching and self-evaluation, he turned to the University of Mount Olive (UMO) to prepare him for life after service.
“After years of running around the world, I knew I wanted a more structured environment,” the Pikeville resident explained. “So, I decided to utilize my Post 9/11 GI Bill to be competitive in the workforce.”
With an attitude of no excuses and no regrets, Sullivan enrolled in UMO’s Human Resources Management program in the spring of 2018. Well versed in structure, details, and deadlines, the Army veteran quickly adapted to the academic rigors of college life.
“As a former senior raking officer, my greatest struggle was starting over as a college student surrounded by 18 and 20 year-olds,” expressed the 39 year-old. “I had to learn to adapt to the mindset of today’s generation, which allowed me to see things from a whole new perspective.”
Throughout his time at UMO, Sullivan has maintained a 3.59 GPA. He has become heavily involved in the University’s Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) chapter, having served as President at the local level and having been nominated as the Eastern Region Vice President for the state chapter.
“PBL has really opened my eyes and provided experiences within the business world,” he said. “It has prepared me for my next career through leadership opportunities, connections, and resume building.”
Dr. Kathy Best Dean of the Tillman School of Business at UMO said, “James has made a tremendous impact as a student leader and Tillman human resource management major. His proactive approach to ‘getting the job done,’ as well as his positive attitude are exemplary qualities.”
Dr. Deborah M. Houston, Assistant Professor of Management, said, “I’ve had the opportunity to have James in several of my classes. He was always engaged, and willing to share experiences that related to the subject matter of the course. As a PBL advisor, I now have the awesome opportunity to work closely with him as we continue to develop our students in the areas of leadership, community engagement, and academic prowess.”
Sullivan is on track to graduate in May of 2020. He plans to pursue a career that will maximize his knowledge and skillset.
“My time in the service allowed me to become a detailed orientated person, learning to quickly adapt to my environments, and following rules or guidelines on assignments,” Sullivan shared. “My time at UMO has allowed me to make connections and has taught me to think outside the box, listen to all the information, and keep an open mind when making decisions. I look forward to combining all of this into the next chapter of my professional life.”
Sullivan is married to Jessica Sullivan and they have two children, Kandace and Breven. He is also a volunteer fire fighter for the town of Pikeville.
The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has education service centers in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and online. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.