Cornelius J. Sullivan ‘27 was born in Calumet, Michigan where he attended the local schools and graduated from Sacred Heart High School. After graduating, Sullivan joined the United States Army and served during World War I.
Upon returning to the Upper Peninsula, he worked for the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company before entering Northern State Normal School (1) in the fall of 1923, where he was granted a Bachelor of Arts degree in June, 1927 with a major in English and History. Sullivan would later continue his education at the University of Michigan, where he was granted a Master of Arts degree in public school administration.
After graduating from Northern State Normal, he accepted a position in the L’Anse School System, where he remained for 36 years. Sullivan began as an instructor in the Junior-Senior High School English department. Three years later, he became principal of the Junior-Senior High School. On May 1, 1937, he became Superintendent of the L’Anse Township School System.
During World War II, Sullivan was appointed the Baraga County chairman for the sale of War Bonds (2) by the United States Treasury Department. He was awarded the Lutheran Brotherhood Liberty Bell for his volunteer service in 1966 and, in 1971, he was cited by the Treasury Department for his service.
In 1962, Alumni of L’Anse Township Schools honored him by establishing the C.J. Sullivan Scholarship, which is awarded annually to students of the school system who are interested in entering the teaching profession. Sullivan remained Superintendent until his retirement in 1963.
In addition to his position as Superintendent, Sullivan was instrumental in consolidating the elementary schools in in L’Anse Township and incorporating high school students from the nearby Arvon, Covington and Sidnaw Township into the L’Anse Township School System.
Sullivan was a lifelong member of the L’Anse Education Association and the Michigan Education Association. He held an active membership in the National Education Association of School Administrators before his retirement. He was also a member of the NMU Alumni Association. amongst his involvement in several community programs, he took interest in the athletic programs of Michigan high schools and was a charter member of the Upper Peninsula High School Athletic Committee, where he served as secretary for nearly three decades.
A new elementary school was constructed in L’Anse Township in 1965 and named the C.J. Sullivan Elementary School in his honor.