Zachary Wilson Receives Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation Scholarship at Rust College

Freshman Zachary Wilson of Columbus, Miss., was named the newest beneficiary of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation Scholarship at Sullivan Foundation partner school Rust College.

Wilson held many leadership positions while attending high school and has been very active since arriving on the Rust campus.  He is Rust College’s newly elected Mr. Freshman and is the brother of Cameron Wilson, who has been named Mister Rust College.

Related: Eric Johnson develops Rust Innovation Lab to promote leadership and entrepreneurship at Rust College

Tianna Smith of Houston, Tex,, was awarded Rust College’s first Sullivan Scholarship in 2019. Smith is active at Rust College through basketball, the NAACP and her position as Sophomore Class Officer.

The Sullivan Scholarships recognize college students and members of the college community who put service to others before self-interest. Scholarship recipients must report their service and/or social entrepreneurship activities, engage in Sullivan Foundation marketing efforts on campus and attend one Sullivan-sponsored weekend retreat during their freshman and sophomore years.

The Sullivan Scholarship provides $10,000 for attending a Sullivan Foundation partner school and is renewable for four years.

Rust College receives Sullivan Scholarship funding in the form of an endowment from the Sullivan Foundation. In 2018, the foundation began a strategic planning process to redesign its existing scholarship program in order to deepen its relationship with students, faculty, and schools. The foundation ultimately determined to collaborate with its partner schools in the creation of a redesigned scholarship program that not only supports service-minded students, but also engages students, faculty and staff in the foundation’s programming, including twice-yearly Ignite Retreats for student changemakers and faculty, study-abroad opportunities and entrepreneurship support.

The Sullivan Foundation also offers opportunities to become Sullivan Ambassadors on its partner school campuses. Eric Johnson, who currently serves as Rust’s Student Government Association president, is also a Sullivan Ambassador. Eric is the founder of the new Rust Innovation Lab on the Rust College campus.

Related: Special education major Morgan Crowe receives Sullivan Scholarship at Lees-McRae College

Dr. Vida Mays, the Sullivan Foundation campus liaison and Rust College’s director of grants and contracts, will work with Wilson and fellow scholarship recipients over the coming years to attend retreats and field trips to further develop their community leadership skills.

Located in Holly Springs, Miss., Rust College is a historically black, co-educational, senior liberal arts college founded in 1866 by the Freedmen’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Rust College was founded to offer quality programs in business, education, humanities, science and math, and social science to prepare students for leadership and service in the global society.

Two Social Change Pioneers Lead Sullivan’s Ignite Masterclasses in November

The Sullivan Foundation will wrap up its Fall 2020 Ignite Masterclass program with a pair of sessions in November about groundbreaking companies that are inventing new paradigms aimed at disrupting the status quo, leading up to the Foundation’s semester-closing Social Entrepreneurship Opportunity Fair on Monday, Nov. 16.

November’s first Masterclass introduces Erin Boyd, head of business operations for Culdesac, a company that is building a car-free community in Tempe, Ariz. The class, titled “Placemaking as a Tool for Community + Network Building,” takes place from 4:15-5:30 p.m. (ET), on Thursday, Nov. 5.

Click here to register for the free session.

In her Ignite Masterclass session, Boyd will talk about a new approach to urban design that re-envisions our public spaces for the enjoyment of people rather than the movement and storage of automobiles. Her session will also focus on how to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Boyd, who also cofounded Ashoka U, a global network for social entrepreneurship in higher education, will draw on her experience at Culdesac to explore the role of physical, cultural and social identities that define a space and support its ongoing evolution.

Erin Boyd of Culdesac

Related: Read more about the session and the car-free community called Tempe Culdesac.

Abhinav Khanal, cofounder of Bean Voyage (pictured at top), will lead the second November masterclass, titled, “How to Disrupt a Broken Global Supply Chain,” on Tuesday, Nov. 10. The class will be held in two sessions from 2-3:15 p.m. (ET) and from 6-7:15 p.m. (ET).

Click here to register for the first session and click here for the second session.

Khanal will share the story of how he cofounded a social enterprise—while he was still in college—aimed at helping smallholder womxn coffee producers lead their families and communities toward a sustainable future. Smallholder womxn coffee producers make 40 percent less than their male counterparts, although they comprise 70 percent of the coffee farmer workforce. Khanal’s nonprofit, Bean Voyage, provides training and direct-market access to these smallholder womxn coffee producers in Costa Rica.

The Fall 2020 Ignite Masterclass program culminates in the first Social Entrepreneurship Opportunity Fair, to be held from 6-8 p.m. (ET), Monday, Nov. 16. Participants will learn about internships, jobs, education and service positions that can help launch their careers as changemakers. From Benefit Corporations to global service organizations and from large foundations to small rural startups, the Social Entrepreneurship Opportunity Fair offers a multitude of ways to take concrete steps on your career path.

Space for the Social Entrepreneurship Opportunity Fair is limited, so click here to register and claim your spot today!

Sullivan Foundation to Host Social Entrepreneurship Opportunity Fair Nov. 16

Job opportunities are hard to come by for young college graduates pursuing careers as changemakers, especially during a pandemic. The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation plans to give them a head start with the upcoming Social Entrepreneurship Opportunity Fair, to be held online from 6-8 p.m. (ET), Monday, Nov. 16.

Click here to learn more and register for the free event.

The event, which is free and open to all recent college graduates or current students, takes place in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week, scheduled for Nov. 16-22, 2020.

The Social Entrepreneurship Opportunity Fair will feature virtual “booths” manned by social-impact organization leaders around the nation. Some of the groups partnering on the event, to both share opportunities and promote it, include:

Attendees of the Social Entrepreneurship Opportunity Fair will have the chance to connect with social-impact organizations offering internships and jobs and meet representatives from socially minded companies looking to hire. They will also network and interact with social entrepreneurs to receive guidance and feedback.

“We’ve heard from lots of students who are struggling to find opportunities to get started in their changemaking careers,” said Spud Marshall, the Sullivan Foundation’s director of student engagement and organizer of the event. “We’re going to lean on the collective resources across our Sullivan network to help students connect with internships, jobs, education and service opportunities.”

The event will also serve as the culmination to the Sullivan Foundation’s Ignite Masterclass program, which launched this fall. Ignite Masterclasses offer weekly workshops and networking sessions taught by social innovation leaders from around the country.

Social innovators and business leaders who want to participate in the event can fill out a survey here with details on the opportunity they’re offering. If your organization would like to help promote the event, email Marshall at to learn more and to receive resources for sharing to your network.


Reagan Pugh Leads Oct. 6 Ignite Masterclass on Empathy as a Tool for Social Justice

Most of us believe in justice, but if we’re challenged to change our attitudes and beliefs about right and wrong, that’s a different story. In the Sullivan Foundation’s next Ignite Masterclass, Reagan Pugh of Assemble discusses the topic of “Developing Empathy as a Tool for Social Justice.”

The online class will be held in two sessions on Tuesday, Oct. 6. The first session takes place from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. (ET). The second session will be held from 3 p.m.-4:15 p.m. (ET). The sessions are free and open to the public.

Click here to register for the first session and here to register for the second session.

Related: Reagan Pugh builds connections through storytelling

Most people have no desire to change, Pugh says, and outdating hardwiring in our brains causes us to avoid the discomfort of growth. This instinctual desire to maintain the status quo is a direct threat to justice and excuses individuals and communities from doing the hard work of including, respecting and empowering everyone.

But Pugh says we can shift our perspectives, evolve and mature as human beings when we practice empathy and pay attention to the experiences of others.

This Ignite Masterclass session will guide participants through a dialogue on default mindsets, examine how fear prevents us from growth and provide strategies for developing empathy as a tool for justice.

As co-founder of Assemble, Pugh delivers workshops and keynote speeches on personal effectiveness and leadership development around the country. Prior to the launch of Assemble, he was Chief Storyteller for the innovation consulting firm, Kalypso, and guided initiatives on storytelling, culture and leadership development at companies like Nike, Pepsico and Kimberly Clark. Pugh is a past workshop facilitator at the Sullivan Foundation’s Ignite Retreats and has designed leadership courses for Texas State University, Trinity University and Angelo State University.

With its popular Ignite Retreats, usually held twice a year in North Carolina, currently on hold, the Sullivan Foundation is bringing social-change leaders, college students and faculty/staff together through the weekly Ignite Masterclass sessions—and all classes are free. Even better, many participants say it’s the best online event they have ever attended.

Spud Marshall, the Sullivan Foundation’s director of student engagement, leads the sessions. Each one features a mini-lecture from a social innovator about a specific initiative, followed by a chance to network with peers, Sullivan coaches and other leaders in the field.

Additionally, classes taught by professors from across the Sullivan network—as well as some non-Sullivan schools—attend and participate in the sessions. Participating in the Oct. 6 session will be Dr. Anne Stone of Rollins College and her Communications Studies class; Alyson Francisco of Salem College and her Principles of Management class; Dr. Bruce Dorries of Mary Baldwin University and his Civic Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship class; Melanie Bullock Harris of Elon University and her Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows; Liz Bailey of Elon University and her Exercise and Intervention class; and Valeri Werpetinski of the University of Illinois and her Illinois Impact Incubator participants.

“The Ignite Masterclass introduces you to leaders around the world engaged in social change and helps open doors so you can take the next step on your changemaking journey,” Marshall said. “With more than 50 coaches and speakers joining the sessions every week throughout the fall, bring your curiosity, because you never know who you might meet each week!”

Letter From the President – Fall 2020

Spring is always a season of change, but the pandemic of Spring 2020 brought more changes than anyone could have anticipated. Here at the Sullivan Foundation, we were forced to make some difficult choices, reluctantly canceling our Ignite Retreat, Social Entrepreneurship Field Trip and Scotland Study Abroad adventure, among others, to protect the health and safety of our participants and staff. Like many others, we pivoted to virtual programming, including our well-received webinar series, “Navigating the Unknown,” hosted by Spud Marshall and featuring leading social innovators from around the country.

The pandemic will continue to affect our partner schools in the coming months. Each school will adapt to the challenges and arrive at its own solutions. The Sullivan Foundation will unveil a number of online offerings for students, educators and social innovators as well as new opportunities for Sullivan alumni to become more involved in the foundation. One exciting development is the creation of the VentureSouth Sullivan angel investment group, designed to benefit students in the Sullivan network while allowing partner school faculty, staff and alumni to become members of the South’s largest and most successful angel investment network.

Additionally, we will introduce our weekly Ignite Masterclass series of online workshops and networking sessions. Taught by social innovation leaders from around the country, each class features an expert mini-lecture on a specific social initiative and an opportunity for students to network with their peers at our partner schools, Sullivan coaches and other changemakers. We’ll also introduce the Coaching Cohort series designed to enrich participants’ personal growth, provide a deeper understanding of social problems they want to address and guide them along in developing their own social change projects.

Meanwhile, our website will feature new rich-media content with a strong educational and changemaking focus. And there’s more new Sullivan programming to come—too much to cover in this limited space. The upcoming school year will be an unusual period of adjustment, but the past six months have demonstrated that unprecedented challenges create unprecedented opportunities for innovation, positive change and creativity. This issue of Engage focuses on some of those innovations and changemakers who have been making a difference in their own remarkable ways. I hope you will enjoy it and look forward to hearing from you as we keep moving boldly forward into the future.

Steve McDavid
President, Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation

Steffi Kong, Winner of the Sullivan Award at Converse College, “Excels at Everything She Does”

Shi Qing “Steffi” Kong, a senior at Sullivan Foundation partner school Converse College, is no stranger to deadly viruses. As a child in Singapore, she survived SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) at the age of 7 and the H1N1 virus (better known as the swine flu) when she was 10.

“Of course, I am worried about getting [COVID-19],” she told in early May. “But I joke with my friends: Third time is a charm. Either I become a victim or maybe I potentially become superhuman.”

Related: Honors student who fed thousands and rape survivor advocate earn Sullivan Awards at The Citadel

We’re betting the latter. But whatever happens with the coronavirus – and here’s hoping she doesn’t get it – Kong will likely become a big success. Now a standout student-athlete and the Converse tennis team’s No. 1 singles player since 2016, Kong is also the recipient of the Sullivan Foundation’s prestigious Mary Mildred Sullivan Award for 2020. With her degrees in biochemistry and psychology in hand, Kong plans to attend medical school and ultimately practice psychiatry in the U.S.

“She’s a gem,” Katie Mancebo, Kong’s tennis coach at Converse, told “I’ve never met someone who is harder-working or more disciplined. She just excels at everything she does. She’s probably every coach’s dream as a student-athlete.”

In April, Kong became the first student in Converse history to win the Murphy Osborne Scholar-Athlete Award, the highest academic award for a student-athlete in the Conference Carolinas.

“I am grateful to be given the opportunity to study in the United States and be able to have a different experience outside of continuing my education in Singapore,” Kong said. “It’s because of generous scholarships that I am able to attend Converse and accomplish great milestones.”

Related: Imani Belton, Gabriel Dias receive Sullivan Awards at Winthrop University

Sullivan Award winner Steffi Kong has presented her research at two national conferences and one international conference.

Kong has presented her research and publications at two national conferences and one international conference—a rare privilege for an undergraduate student. She made biophysics presentations at the Materials Research Society Fall Meeting & Exhibit in Boston in 2019 and the South Carolina IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence Science Symposium in Columbia, S.C. in 2020.

She also presented her psychology research at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Annual Convention in Atlanta in 2019. Dr. Marie LePage, one of Kong’s psychology professors at Converse, collaborated with her on the presentation. “On our way driving home from the Atlanta conference, she just lit up like a Christmas tree,” LePage told Conference Carolinas in a profile on Kong. “That’s special for a student to get that jazzed about therapy. She’s just genuinely passionate about it. She wants to be the best she can be. I’ve taught thousands of students, and she ranks among my top five in terms of being an advanced scholar. But when it comes to passion, she absolutely ranks No. 1.”

Related: UA Sullivan Award winner Malik Seals on a quest to cure multiple sclerosis

After her freshman year at Converse, Kong returned home for the summer and volunteered at a mental health institute. After her sophomore year, she interned at the Kidney Foundation in Singapore. Her senior honors thesis was titled, “Stress, Depression and Anxiety: The College Student Dilemma,” with a strong focus on the differences between student-athletes and non-student-athletes.

“I know she is very interested in medicine,” LePage said in the Conference Carolinas interview. “Whether she goes into psychiatry or general medicine … she will be exceptional.”


Davidson College Bestows Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award on Student With a Heart for the Homeless

A Davidson College graduating senior with a heart for helping the homeless and people in crisis received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for 2020.

Emily Duval earned her degree in Literacy and Multilingual Education at Davidson College, a Sullivan Foundation partner school. During her time at Davidson, Duval helped homeless women and children at the Crisis Assistance Ministries and the Salvation Army Center of Hope in Charlotte, N.C.

Related: Paxton Peacock, Natalie Conboy and Chris Nunn receive Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards at Auburn

She also befriended and treated people in financial crisis “with dignity, listening to their struggles with compassion,” the nomination letter read.

Duval was a Bonner Scholar, a Davidson College honor based on a student’s commitment to enriching the community through volunteering. She was also a QuestBridge Scholar and helped raise awareness on campus about socioeconomic diversity while providing support for high-achieving low-income students.

Additionally, Duval taught children in the LEARN Works after-school program at the Ada Jenkins Center and as a summer servant leader intern with Freedom Schools. She has volunteered at the Lula Bell Houston resource center and was co-coordinator for Be the Match/Project Life and for Room in the Inn.

Related: Sullivan Scholar Sara Busaleh: Serving others “gave me hope when I was hopeless”

She also served on the leadership team of the Davidson ecumenical weekly college worship service, leading prayers and reflections and using “her amazing voice to lead music and to build a spiritual community of inclusion, kindness and grace,” a nominator wrote.

Among her many accolades, Duval received the George Gladstone Memorial Award in 2019. This award recognizes rising seniors “exhibiting high potential for service to mankind as indicated by leadership, service and academic record.”

“Navigating the Unknown” Moves to Instagram Live With Alexis J. Taylor and Arshiya Kherani

The next installment of the Sullivan Foundation’s webinar series, “Navigating the Unknown,” features a pioneer in activewear for Muslim women and a passionate advocate for entrepreneurship who has been recognized by the U.S. State Department and the World Economic Forum.

In a change of venue, this webinar, which takes place at 12 p.m. (ET), Wednesday, April 8, will be streamed exclusively on Instagram Live. Arshiya Kherani of Sukoon Active and Alexis J. Taylor of the Global Entrepreneurship Network will join Spud Marshall, the Sullivan Foundation’s director of student engagement, for a discussion on the power of social entrepreneurship.

All webinars are recorded and can be viewed at any time at

Here’s more information about Wednesday’s guests:

Arshiya Kherani

Arshiya Kherani: The founder and CEO of Sukoon Active and a past facilitator and mentor at the Sullivan Foundation’s Ignite Retreat, Kherani designs activewear “for real women whose activewear needs aren’t being met by the current market.” Specifically, Sukoon Active offers activewear, including hijabs, for Muslim women who care about fitness and exercise. Although other brands offer hijabs designed for exercise, Sukoon is the only one founded by a Muslim woman. Launched with a Kickstarter campaign that raised $10,000 in its first nine days, Sukoon offers garments featuring sustainable, odor-blocking merino wool with eco-friendly mesh accents for maximum comfort and ventilation. As a social enterprise, Sukoon donates a percentage of its proceeds to the Zaatari Taekwondo Academy, a nonprofit in Jordan that teaches martial arts to Syrian refugee children. Kherani and her brand have been featured in Forbes, the Huffington Post and Allure, to name a few media outlets.

Alexis J. Taylor

Alexis J. Taylor: Taylor is director for global engagement at the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and a past Ignite Retreat facilitator and mentor. In her role with GEN, she advocates for ecosystem builders and “all those who empower the world’s doers, makers and dreamers,” according to the GEN website. The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of projects and programs in 170 countries aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere, to start and scale a business. Taylor is the former CEO of Austin, Texas-based 3 Day Startup, a global entrepreneurship education program, which she helped scale to more than 500 programs and expanded to Australia, Southern Africa and the Middle East. Taylor has been recognized by the U.S. State Department and the World Economic Forum as a leader in empowering people and communities through entrepreneurship.

Study Abroad in Scotland: A “Game of Thrones” Adventure

If you were a character on Game of Thrones, which one would you be? Jon Snow, the noble, dutiful hero? Daenerys, the fierce, fearless and charismatic breaker of chains? Or are you more like Tyrion, the wily, witty, warm-hearted underdog with a penchant for peacemaking and a taste for the good life?

Students who take part in the Sullivan Foundation’s Study Abroad in Scotland adventure this summer will discover their personal leadership styles in the context of the beloved HBO show, according to Dr. Jody Holland, a University of Mississippi professor who will lead one of the two courses offered in the program.

Doune Castle near Scotland was used to depict Winterfell, the Stark family’s ancestral home, in the early episodes of Game of Thrones. HBO is reportedly planning to shoot scenes for the hit show’s prequel, House of the Dragon, in the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands.

“We’re going to have some fun with it,” said Holland, an assistant professor in Ole Miss’ Department of Public Policy Leadership. “This is a Game of Thrones-oriented program. We’re going to look at some characters from Game of Thrones and identify their leadership traits and apply those [to the coursework]. We’re expecting this program to be a highly engaging, active learning process that individuals will glean a lot of information from.”

this photo shows edinburgh, home base for the Sullivan Study Abroad in Scotland program

Edinburgh will be the home base for this summer’s Study Abroad in Scotland program. (Image by Ellen26 from Pixabay)

Titled “Leading for Innovation: Study Abroad in Scotland,” the program, offered in partnership with Arcadia University, takes place June 4-July 4. Applications must be submitted by Feb. 1, and candidates who are selected to participate will be notified by Feb. 7.

Click here to learn more about the Study Abroad in Scotland program and fill out the application here.

The program is designed for students interested in social entrepreneurship and innovation. Scotland is one of the world’s leaders in the social-enterprise sector. A 2017 census conducted by the Scottish government found there were 5,600 social enterprises operating in Scotland, an increase of 8 percent over 2015. These social ventures employed more than 81,000 people and generated £3.8 billion (about $5.45 billion) in annual revenues.

Related: This Scottish social entrepreneur is the landlord every tenant deserves

But launching a social enterprise requires unique leadership skills that you can’t learn in a typical college-level business course. Holland will teach the study-abroad program’s “Leadership by Design” class, which focuses on the practice of leadership. The course examines topics such as the nature of leadership, recognizing leadership traits, developing leadership skills, creating a vision, handling conflict and overcoming obstacles, among others.

“We want students to take a self-reflective look so they can identify their own leadership philosophy, strengths and skills and really dive into that ability to self-design their leadership approach and serve as an agent of change on their campus and in their community, region and the world,” Holland said.

this photo depicts characters who inspired the Sullivan Study Abroad in Scotland program

By the end of the Study Abroad in Scotland program, you’ll know something (about social entrepeneurship), Jon Snow. (Photo by HBO)

At the same time, students will venture out of the classroom, exploring the thriving social enterprise scene in Edinburgh and other Scottish cities. “We want the students to immerse themselves in the culture and environment,” Holland said. “We’re going to have a lot of engagement with the community and with community leaders.”

Spud Marshall, the Sullivan Foundation’s Student Engagement Coordinator, said the second course, “Social Change in Action,” offers a “spiral learning dynamic.”

“We’ll start with a clear framework for creative ways to innovate around social and environmental problems,” he said. “Spiraling up from there, the students will create a case study analysis of local groups in the community that are tackling some of these social problems. They’ll be able to apply those frameworks to practical case studies and then scale up to a blueprint for social change. Students will work in teams to create unique social innovation interventions based on local groups they connect with and insights from the community.”

“We’ll bounce a lot back and forth between what social change in action looks like and the inner dimension of leading social change, making sure these students have the inner qualities they need to effect change,” Marshall added.

The first week of the program will focus on leadership, while the second week takes students out into the community to learn from social-enterprise leaders and changemakers. “During the third week, we’ll really start to dive into the principles of social entrepreneurship, and the students will start to develop their own blueprints for effective change,” Marshall said. “And in the fourth week, we’ll package it all together with a focus on effective storytelling and communication techniques students can use to properly convey their ideas and pitch the projects they want to bring into the world.”

Related: Scottish government commits millions to funding social enterprises in 2020

Throughout the month-long program, co-curricular events will immerse students in Scottish culture and provide day-trip opportunities. Past excursions have ranged from a Highlands Games day to a Scottish dancing experience and visits to Rosslyn Chapel and the Scottish Borders. Students will be housed in flats at the University of Edinburgh.

The fee for the program is $4,740, which covers six hours of academic credit, housing, site visits and tours, health and accident insurance, 24-hour emergency support and local transportation in Edinburgh. A limited number of Scotland study-abroad scholarships, ranging between $500 and $1,000, are available for students who attend the Sullivan Foundation’s partner schools. For more information on the scholarships, contact Merry Huddleston at


Hailey McMahon: Meet Berry College’s First Sullivan Scholar

By Faythe Choate, Berry College Public Relations Student Assistant 

Berry College has awarded its first-ever Sullivan Scholarship to a freshman with a passion for animal welfare – animal science major Hailey McMahon. She has been awarded $10,000 annually for her four years of study at Berry, the Sullivan Foundation partner school recently announced.

Sullivan Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate model character and a commitment to service above self, aligning with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation’s ideal traits of character, including honesty, morality, ethics, responsibility, determination, courage and compassion.

Before coming to Berry, McMahon was involved in youth leadership and volunteered in her school’s Biology Club, cleaning animal cages and coordinating events for elementary school students. She also worked with a Marine Science Station to replant eel-grass and assisted with hurricane clean-up in Florida. McMahon cares deeply about animals, specifically felines. She hopes to use her time at Berry as a Sullivan Scholar to explore and promote animal welfare in the community.

“I’m researching organizations in Rome (Ga.) that have trap, neuter and return programs,” McMahon said. “Every cat deserves a chance to thrive. Just because they may not live in your home doesn’t mean they’re not worthy.”

this photo depicts Hailey McMahon, winner of the Sullivan Scholarship at Berry College

Hailey McMahon, who earned the first-ever Sullivan Scholarship at Berry College, majors in animal science. (Photo by Bryan Chamberlain/Berry College)

Students apply for the Sullivan Scholarship with an essay detailing their careers of service, leadership and community outreach. Recipients are asked to remain in good academic standing. Recipients are also expected to actively participate in community engagement such as service, community-based research, or social entrepreneurship.

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation’s roots date back to the 1880s when U.S. President Grover Cleveland and a group of other influential persons created the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award to honor those that inspire a life of integrity and service. Recipients include First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, Fred Rogers of “Mister Rogers” fame, and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, to name a few. In addition to the award, the Foundation has been funding service-based Sullivan Scholarships at colleges across the American South since 1925.

The Sullivan Foundation remains dedicated to alleviating socio-economic issues. Today, the Foundation remains as strong as ever and is expanding the reach of the Sullivan spirit by focusing on social entrepreneurship education, which equips universities, students and community members with the tools necessary to apply business models to social issues.

“I have a strong belief that this program will help me achieve so many wonderful things throughout my years here at Berry and those that follow,” McMahon wrote. “I can’t wait to further develop my leadership skills and social skills and to really dive into how I can help my community.”

Nationally recognized for academic excellence and as an outstanding educational value, Berry College is an independent, coeducational, comprehensive liberal arts college of approximately 2,100 students. For more than a century, the college has offered an exceptional education that balances intellectual exploration, practical learning, and character development. Its 27,000-acre campus is the world’s largest. Visit