Letter from the President

With this issue of Engage, we mark two years of publishing our magazine and we couldn’t be more pleased with the response we’ve gotten or more excited about the stories we plan to share in the future. In that spirit, we’re taking a moment in this issue to look at our past as well as our future.

Our main feature is a three-part look at the relationship between the Sullivan Foundation and Rollins College of Winter Park, Florida. The relationship dates back a century, and the pairing of these two institutions has and will make great contributions to service around the world.

The Foundation itself is looking from the past to the future, as well. A new faculty conference on social entrepreneurship is set to debut in Raleigh/Durham in April 2016 and we’re looking forward to a faculty reception in Charlotte this fall. We also recently said goodbye to our Director of Programs Rebecca Camarigg, who served the Foundation with skill and dedication for the last four years. While we’re sad she’s moving on, we welcome her replacement, Krystal Cormack, who brings great experience to the position.

As our staff begins transitioning to the work of preparing issue five, I’d remind everyone to keep sending us your stories. We’re always open to new things to publish in these pages. And, as always, thank you for your interest in and support for the Sullivan Foundation. Our work is only possible because of the strong network of our supporters across the country.



Stephan Land McDavid
President, Sullivan Foundation

Building bridges

Sullivan retreat weekends help a Campbell University student embark on a dream

Jonathan Bridges, a senior at Campbell University, wanted to be a football player when he first arrived on campus, but injury plagued him and, after suffering his second concussion, he was forced to find a new focus.

That’s exactly what he did. Combining his passion for athletics with a desire to change the world for the better, he eventually founded Goal, a youth program he hopes will improve the lives of young people and, through them, improve the communities around them.

Getting to that point didn’t come without some help, however, and perhaps nothing helped Bridges more than landing in one of the Sullivan Foundation’s Service and Social Entrepreneurship Program retreats.

He’s now been to three retreats, and has found that, in addition to the education on offer, the program offered him the opportunity to develop into the kind of person who can tackle the challenges of launching such an ambitious program.

“(Sullivan retreats) helped me find a different side of myself,” he says. “When I went to my first Sullivan retreat, I was so closed in and quiet. But by the end, I was probably the most outgoing person there. It’s dribbled over into my daily life.”

It takes more than confidence, of course, to find success. Bridges needed guidance and found it at another retreat, where he met Christopher Gergen, CEO of Forward Impact, an entrepreneurship education organization. A conversation they had led Bridges to take his vague ambition and hone it into something he could make a reality.

“He told me my original idea was too broad. He said to go with the thing you love most in the world and use that to change the world. What did I love most in the world? Soccer.”

Soccer had served as a replacement for football late in Bridges’ college career, and he’d fallen in love with the game. Using soccer tournaments as an anchor, he plans to educate kids and their parents about making healthy choices to combat childhood obesity.

But battling that epidemic is only the beginning. Bridges wants his program to have two other components: building up communities and giving kids new opportunities—to learn about themselves and about important qualities like discipline, teamwork, and leadership.

As the goal broadens, so will the method. In addition to soccer, Bridges hopes to build after-school programs for arts and academics to help create well-rounded children ready for the challenges that await them.

“I want kids to be able to go where they want to go, whether academically or artistically or (in) whatever field,” says Bridges. “I want to give them some kind of push to help them find out what they’re capable of doing and to help them be who they want to be.”

With the solid foundation he’s gained from Campbell University and his Sullivan retreats, he’s well on his way, with plans to make Goal his full-time job post-graduation.

“My number one goal is to change the world and change lives,” says Bridges. “I want to be able to put smiles on the faces of others.”

Sullivan Flashback: John Nathan Deal

In 1942, in the small farming community of Bay Branch, Georgia, John Nathan Deal was born to Mary and Noah J. Deal. His parents likely never guessed the lofty offices to which their son would rise, but Deal was destined to prove that big things can come from small places.

Most of Deal’s childhood was spent in the town of Sandersville, where he excelled as a student and became a Future Farmers of America national champion. He won state farming and hog raising competitions and dreamed of one day becoming a veterinarian. One particularly fortuitous trip to Mercer College—where Deal would go on to win the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 1964—changed everything. He visited the campus for a debate competition, and decided he wanted to come back to pursue his education.

A young Nathan Deal poses for a military photo

A student body president and ROTC cadet commander at Mercer, Deal was selected for the Sullivan Award as a result of his track record of service and hard work while a student. He returned to Sandersville during the summers to work at a local canning plant to pay for college, while still finding the time to sing in the church choir. It was at choir practice the summer of his sophomore year that he met his future wife, Sandra Dunagan.

After his graduation and marriage to Sandra, Deal joined the Army JAG Corps. Following his service, he accepted an offer to practice in a one-man law office in Gainesville. It was then that he fully realized the influence he could have on people’s lives and began to discover his calling to serve his neighbors and his community. As his career grew, so did his family. He and Sandra, married now for 49 years, raised four children on a farm in Hall County.

In 1980, Deal served his first of six terms in the State Senate, quickly becoming known for his work ethic, his team approach, and his ability to get things done. In 1992, Deal went to Washington, serving nine terms in Congress before his servant’s heart called him home.

In 2010, he became the 82nd governor of Georgia. He also reconnected with Gayle Hollinger, a docent at the Governor’s Mansion, whom he’d first met nearly 50 years earlier. Her name was Gayle Watson then, when she shared the stage with Deal at Mercer College to receive the 1964 Margaret Sullivan Award. To think—two Sullivan Award recipients working to better their state under one roof! And quite an impressive roof, at that.

Party by the park: Sullivan alumni and friends gather in Atlanta for spring reception

Under the lights of midtown Atlanta, another successful reception brought members and friends of the Sullivan family together on April 16. The reception was held at the historic Piedmont Driving Club, which boasts terrific views of the Atlanta skyline as well as beautiful Piedmont Park.

Twenty alumni guests joined the Sullivan Board of Trustees, a host committee of local Sullivan alumni, staff from host colleges, as well as representatives from local foundations. Those foundations—the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, and the Sartain Lanier Family Foundation—have goals in common with Sullivan in the field of education.


As always, the reception served its dual purpose: building and maintaining ties between Sullivan alumni and giving those alumni a chance to connect with each other and like-minded individuals on ways to increase the impact of service on a region or community.

Since Atlanta was the venue for this most recent reception, five Georgia colleges and universities served as host institutions: Mercer University, Berry College, Brenau University, Oglethorpe University, and Wesleyan College.

Some alumni represented schools farther afield, as well—the event drew attendees from Florida, Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee schools. It was Rhodes College of Memphis, Tennessee, in fact, that sent the largest delegation, with six alumni present.

“Sullivan has been hosting these receptions twice yearly in conjunction with our board meetings, which rotate among our member colleges,” says Foundation president Steve McDavid. “They are a great way for alumni who have a common alma mater to connect with each other.”



Social Entrepreneurship Education

Rollins professors on “changing the world one student at a time”

by Tonia Warnecke and Michelle Stecker

Top: Tonia Warnecke
Bottom: Michelle Stecker

What is a college to do? Students are passionate about changing the world, their parents are demanding a “pragmatic” education, and employers need graduates equipped for the demands of a 21st-century workplace. The answer to this million-dollar question at Rollins College is social entrepreneurship—an emerging field that is taking the academy by storm.

The first social entrepreneurship class was taught at Harvard University in 1993, but the field is quickly capturing the hearts and minds of millennials and their parents. Social entrepreneurship provides innovative and sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems.

In 2013, Rollins College founded the first social entrepreneurship major in the world that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the hallmark of top-quality business education. In the social entrepreneurship and business major, students learn to define root causes of intractable problems and use a solution-focused methodology called “design thinking” to innovate. They then build a business plan and proceed to finance and launch a for-profit business or sustainable non-profit enterprise. This builds upon the rich base of a well-rounded liberal arts education, and the new major is already one of the most popular.

Getting Started

 The history of social entrepreneurship and social innovation at Rollins long predates the inauguration of the major. The Social Entrepreneurship & Sustainability Initiative (renamed to the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub in 2015), formally launched in 2010 and based in the Crummer graduate business school, expanded campuswide as faculty, staff, and student interest grew.

After first emphasizing co-curricular opportunities related to social innovation, discussions soon shifted to the development of targeted social entrepreneurship education. Campus surveys in 2010 and 2013 indicated strong student interest in social entrepreneurship and increasing interest in related academic coursework and programs.

From there, our new Business & Social Entrepreneurship department was born, and the new social entrepreneurship and business major was created within it.

Our faculty—who have varied academic backgrounds including business, history, economics, law, communication, religion, education, environmental studies, sociology, psychology, anthropology, biology, political science, math, and philosophy—have been eager to offer a wide variety of courses for the new major and minor. Interdisciplinarity is critical because social entrepreneurship tackles diverse global challenges.

About the Major

Dean Debra Wellman joins students to announce Rollins’ two new majors at an Innovation Impact Workshop in 2014

The social entrepreneurship and business major aims to “position graduates to find or create careers that apply innovative, sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.” The program focuses on interdisciplinarity, diversity, critical thinking, experiential learning, problem-based learning, and the development of both “hard” and “soft” skills. The major is divided into three parts: the business core, the social entrepreneurship core, and “impact track” electives.

In the business core, students engage with a full suite of business skill-building courses including accounting, economics, law and ethics, statistics, management, leadership, marketing, and finance. These courses were developed from scratch or overhauled to reflect the program’s guiding themes: innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, and social responsibility.

In the introductory course, students learn the principles of design thinking for the first time. A required, intensive 5-hour workshop at the Florida Hospital Innovation Lab gives them hands-on practice in real-world problem solving.

The social entrepreneurship core provides targeted instruction about changemaking theory and skill-building. Emphasis on the creation of social value runs throughout the curriculum and students are exposed to non-profit, for-profit, and hybrid models of social enterprise, in addition to the concept of social intrapreneurship (using innovation within existing organizations).

“Impact track” electives enable students to explore several social issues or specialize in an area they are passionate about: the environment, health, development, race/ethnicity, education, poverty, gender, human rights, religion, peace/conflict, or inequality. In addition to normal coursework, students are required to participate in an immersive experience outside the classroom.

Worth the Journey

 It is a monumental task to create a new major and minor in an emerging field, but it has been well worth the effort. One of the keys to success is our interdisciplinary, high-performing team that is committed to changing the world one student at a time. An effective team serves as a liaison to the administration and other faculty, introduces new courses, and ultimately teaches those courses. Our team believes that “if you build it, they will come”—and so far, we have been right.

Thoughts from the scholars

Recent Rollins Sullivan Scholars reflect on the Sullivan spirit and how they plan to make a difference

Gaby Cabrera – Class of 2015

“I found Algernon Sullivan’s passion for helping those around him to be truly inspiring, and, while his story and circumstances are different than my own, I cannot help but feel a sense of similarity between us. I came to the United States in 1999, and, as of two years ago, I am finally a U.S. citizen. The journey was rough, and I want to help the organizations that helped my family through the legal system and helped my mom learn English. l would like to share my “secret” with the Hope Community Center in Apopka, Florida (the center that helped my family and me), as well as with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which helps my Mexican community members who work in the fields to strive for dignity and fair treatment.”


Courtney Durbin – Class of 2016

“Mr. Sullivan lived a life in which he included everyone, put others before himself, and was so incredibly selfless. While I do not think there is any amount of words to explain how grateful I am for being compared to living such a life as his, I try to live his way every single day. I know that I have so much more to do in my life to accomplish half of what Mr. Sullivan did, but it is my goal to live the best life possible every single day. A couple months ago, my uncle was paralyzed from the waist down as a result of an accident; this has changed the dynamics of our family entirely. I would like to share my Sullivan gift with the Center for Independent Living, so that they can help even more families overcome life-altering disabilities.”


Bethany Eriksen – Class of 2015

“What I admire most about Mr. Sullivan was his desire to help others and give back as much as he could to the world without being recognized for his work. In a world that often puts the spotlight on the superficial actions of people like celebrities, it is quite humbling and admirable to recognize the work of someone like Mr. Sullivan who did the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do. I hope to keep these values, exhibited by Mr. Sullivan, at the forefront of my own life, in an attempt to always strive to help others for the right reasons. I plan to use my “secret” anonymously to assist in the efforts of the Florida Farm Workers Association and the Ecuadorian campesino community of El Placer (who opened their homes to me while I studied abroad) through the NGO EcoMinga.”


Matthew Hendry – Class of 2015

“Mr. Sullivan was a man who believed in helping others with more than just one’s financial resources, but also with one’s talents and time. In turn I wish to do the same. I would like to share my Algernon Sydney Sullivan “secret” in the following two ways. The Ronald McDonald House Charities hold a very special place in my heart, because of exposing me to service at a young age, as they provided a home away from home when my little brother had health complications. In turn I would like to use the resources to help other families staying there feel the same way that I did growing up. I would also like to use some of the award on a mission trip to volunteer to work with people in need overseas, as it has always been a dream of mine to expand my horizons and step out of my comfort zone by going to experience the world abroad.”


Sabrina Kent – Class of 2015

“I believe that the greatest acts of kindness begin with empathy. Algernon Sydney and Mary Mildred Sullivan both shared the spirit of service—of recognizing that all people suffer in their own individual ways. My Sullivan gift has encouraged me to share in others’ suffering in an uplifting way. Thus far, we helped a friend rescue an abused, dying kitten, as she did not have the money needed to pay vet bills. In about four days the cat’s health turned around and we were able to find it a safe, happy home. A peer of mine wanted to attend a social justice conference a few months back, so I gave her some money from “a secret scholarship fund” and was able to pay the small difference that allowed her to go. She said the experience changed her life. Finally, I allocated some of my funds for thank-you cards when visiting Washington, DC to volunteer with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce—which has now extended to small random acts of kindness. Every time I use this money I feel empowered to make a positive change in someone else’s life. I carry the Sullivan spirit with me wherever I go.”

The power of relationships

The enduring partnership of Rollins College and the Sullivan Foundation

By: Ja’Mara Washington and Mary Conway Dato-on

Rollins College of Winter Park, Florida, holds a special place in the history of the Sullivan Foundation as one of its oldest member schools. But that special connection
is about more than mere longevity. From the earliest days of the partnership between these two institutions, Rollins and Sullivan have helped each other grow and evolve in their mutual commitment to service. This feature takes a look at the history as well as the future of the Rollins-Sullivan relationship through the voices of faculty and students at the college who celebrate service in all its forms

Many business leaders say, “It’s not what you know, but who you know that matters in life.” This phrase rings true for Rollins College and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation.  The relationship between Hamilton Holt, 8th President of Rollins College (1925-1949), and George Sullivan, son of Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan, was the beginning of a social entrepreneurship journey—one that continues to this day.

George Sullivan and Hamilton Holt

The Sullivans were philanthropists who supported their community. Algernon, a lawyer in New York, was known for fighting for the “underdogs” in society, while his wife, Mary, worked with churches, social institutions, and schools, mostly in the South during the Civil War. George followed his parents’ philanthropic lead, and in the 1920s formed a close relationship with Holt, then serving as president of Rollins College.

The birth of a partnership

Sullivan partnered with the New York Southern Society, the organization his father had founded and served as president. In 1926, he asked Holt to assist in awarding two students at Rollins—one graduating and one continuing—the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion. The recognition was meant to be “bestowed, not earned” on individuals whose noble work in the community portrayed service above self.

Holt accepted, and the first award was given to Irving Berlinger in 1927. Today, Rollins awards the Sullivan Medallion to up to three individuals annually: one graduating male student, one graduating female student, and one locally-based resident.

In 1930, Sullivan created the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation to commemorate the life and work of his parents. A close relationship between Rollins and the Sullivan Foundation grew with the start of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Scholars Program in 1936. This program provided scholarships to juniors and seniors at Rollins for exceptional service to the Winter Park area or in communities around the world.

History repeats itself

Top: Stephanie Sang, a 2015 graduate of Rollins College and alumna of Rollins’ Algernon Sydney Sullivan Scholars Program, visits with children during a field study centered on education in Rwanda. Bottom: Melissa Looby, 2015 graduate and Sullivan Scholars Program alumna, poses with a friend while working for Rollins’ service organization Immersion

The program is still going strong today. Recommended students are selected based on an essay about how they attempt to live according to the values the Sullivans held dear. Once accepted, students receive a modest one-time monetary gift to use in support of their work. New members are accepted by referral every fall and spring term. The scholars continue their community-building efforts without fanfare or wide recognition as recipients.

The Sullivan-Rollins connection has deepened in the new millennium with the Sullivan Tuition Assistance Scholarship, which now annually provides 50 percent of undergraduate tuition costs to one rising junior who has financial need and whose co-curricular involvement portrays exemplary service above self.

An eye toward the future

Recently, Rollins and Sullivan Foundation leadership have sought more sustainable solutions to persistent community needs through curricular and co-curricular efforts. Emphasis on social entrepreneurship has become a priority and led to the development of the semi-annual Sullivan Service and Social Entrepreneurship Program retreats.

The retreats aim to encourage attendees to communicate and initiate their social ideas. A scholarship was formed to enable two students and one faculty member to attend the retreat in hopes they will return to campus with innovative solutions to the community’s persistent problems.

Simultaneously, Rollins developed its Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Initiative (SESi) (renamed to the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub in 2015) and supported students and faculty in developing methods to address societal inequalities via sustainable solutions. In 2012, Rollins earned recognition as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, acknowledging its leadership, innovation, and commitment to social entrepreneurship.

The connection between Holt and Sullivan proves the power of relationships. Two men who valued giving back to society wished to recognize and empower individuals who acted in the interest of others, and 88 years later, their ideas continue to foster new developments.

Did You Know?

In 2014, a husband and wife unexpectedly received simultaneous Sullivan awards

Curt McPhail and Molly Chappell-McPhail

After 15 years of marriage, Curt McPhail and Molly Chappell-McPhail have as strong a bond as anyone could hope for. Perhaps the only thing they’ve been committed to longer than each other, in fact, is service to others.

So, it’s not at all a surprise that either of them would be named a Sullivan Award recipient. What is a bit surprising is that they found out within a 24 hour period that both of them would receive the award the same year, from two different schools.

In the spring of 2014, McPhail met with Wofford officials and learned that he was going to receive his award. Naturally, he went home and told his wife.

“I thought, ‘That’s well deserved,’” Chappell-McPhail said.

The following day, Converse College notified her of her own award.

Neither college’s officials knew they were recognizing each of the McPhails until they had already decided on their award recipients, despite both schools being located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, according to Wofford spokeswoman Laura Corbin.

McPhail is a 1996 graduate of Wofford College, while Chappell-McPhail graduated in 1991 from Converse College. They each received their respective Sullivan Awards on the same weekend in May of 2014.

Serving the underserved

Chappell-McPhail is the founder of BirthMatters, a community doula program that provides services to mothers age 20 and younger in Spartanburg County. She is a certified doula and childbirth educator. Her career began as a social worker with Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, and she later worked with Regional Ob-Gyn Services, where she guided and directed a clinic for pregnant teens called Positive Results.

The Mary Mildred Sullivan Award recognizes “unselfish service, dedication to sharing with others and participation in the life of her community,” said Converse president Betsy Fleming during the ceremony. “It would be difficult to find a more deserving candidate for the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award.”

Curt McPhail is president of Greenlab Strategies in Spartanburg and project manager for the Northside Initiative.

Greenlab Strategies provides solutions to community development projects locally and around the world, and it serves as the executive staff for the Northside Development Corp., a nonprofit organization implementing the redevelopment of the city of Spartanburg’s Northside community, of which Wofford is a partner. The redevelopment initiative seeks to transform the area into a mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhood with education, health care, social service and employment opportunities.

Greenlab is also executive staff for globalbike inc., a nonprofit that provides people around the world with bicycles. McPhail served as director of global partnerships with globalbike from 2010 to 2013. He also served as program officer for the Mary Black Foundation from 2005 to 2013.

Admiration for dedication

Fittingly, the couple initially met through their community service work.

“We both have a heart for underserved communities, so we definitely relate in that perspective,” Chappell-McPhail said.

The 2014 announcement marked the second Sullivan award for McPhail, who received his first as a graduating senior in 1996. Now, he is a member of that most exclusive of Sullivan clubs—holders of both a student and community member award.

“It was really exciting to have that experience all over again,” he says.

McPhail’s own love for service is echoed in how he admires his wife for those same qualities that meant so much to the Sullivans long before the awards that bear their names were created in 1925 and 1940.

“The amazing work that she does with young moms is not only good for the families but for Spartanburg as well,” Curt McPhail said.

Well-deserved awards in hand, this husband-wife team will surely continue to have a positive impact on that community and represent the Foundation with true Sullivan spirit for years to come.

Positive Communication

Wofford College student brings the power of art to a Spartanburg, South Carolina jail

Wofford College student brings the power of art to a Spartanburg, South Carolina jail

Students in Katie Harmon’s Therapeutic Arts Program at the Spartanburg County Detention Center are given the opportunity to not only learn about art, but to create it themselves

As a Bonner Scholarship recipient, Wofford College senior Katie Harmon is required to spend 10 hours a week in community service. She never imagined herself working in a jail, however, until she got an unexpected request from one of her professors.

“I worked in the Northside of Spartanburg for three and a half years, mostly with an after-school program at the Northwest Recreation Center,” says Harmon, who is an art history major and studio art minor. “This past fall, Haley Guss, the AmeriCorps VISTA (worker) at the Spartanburg County Detention Center, asked for Wofford students who were potentially interested in working with therapeutic arts. Dr. Karen Goodchild (an associate professor of art history and department chair) referred me to Haley, and from there, we began corresponding and eventually started the program.”

Harmon and Guss’s Therapeutic Arts Program brings the arts to inmates in the form of both art history lessons and art therapy. Harmon held her first class in November 2014 in conjunction with four marriage and family therapists. The purpose is to help inmates work through the ideas of restorative justice.

“Restorative justice is more forgiveness-based as opposed to the standard retributive justice, which is punishment-based,” says Harmon. “We’re focused on helping inmates find some positive means of communication so that they can more positively deal with the crime that they’ve committed and learn about forgiveness. We try to show them that, yes, you did something wrong, and you’re working with the consequences, but you have a future beyond this.”

The overarching focus of the program is personal development and forward and positive thinking. The eventual goal is to lower inmate depression and anxiety rates. The art history aspect provides additional lessons on people and events from the past that can serve as models of behavior.

“The majority of the inmates are below a high-school reading level and have never been exposed to artists like van Gogh or Matisse. We’re building this base of artistic and cultural knowledge that they can recall and use,” says Harmon. “Now they know of people like Nelson Mandela. The inmates have especially been inspired by the Mandela quote, ‘Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.’”

Currently, the Therapeutic Arts Program is raising money in order to sustain the program. Many of the inmates have donated their work for a benefit auction. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the purchase of supplies for the program. The rest will support the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network. The SCVAN provides funds to victims of crime so that they can have access to advocates and other necessities.

“The most important thing I’ve taken away is that everyone is human, and even though you’re incarcerated or have done something wrong, you’re still a person,” says Harmon. “So many people commit crimes because of other circumstances. They aren’t inherently bad, they’re just trying to get by and don’t know how to do it in the right way.”