John E. Sullivan

  • John SullivanProfessor Emeritus
    John E. Sullivan, H’87
    Acting Dean 1959-60
    Academic Dean, 1965-66



    For 35 years Professor Emeritus John Edward Sullivan was a dedicated teacher and scholar who joined the Law School faculty in 1953, teaching criminal law, tort and consumer law. At the time he received professor emeritus status in 1988, he had taught nearly 90 percent of all living graduates of the Franklin University and Capital University law schools. He served as acting dean from 1959-60 and as academic dean from 1965-66, when the Law School moved from Franklin’s YMCA location to Capital University in Bexley.

    Sullivan passed away Aug. 31, 2011, at age 89.

    Sullivan was described as energetic, determined and a steady force who greatly impacted the growth of the Law School. Deeply respected by his students, he was selected by the student body as Professor of the Year three times. He took a sabbatical in 1973-74 to serve as Franklin County assistant county prosecutor.

    Sullivan remained a beloved and relevant figure in the Law School up to the time of his death. He also is the namesake of the annual Sullivan Lecture, presented each academic year by a distinguished legal scholar who addresses a matter of significance to the Law School and to the greater legal community.

    Sullivan also was honored in 2008 with a named professorship, the John E. Sullivan Professor of Law.

    After Sullivan’s death earlier this year, his former students and colleagues lauded him for his contributions to the Law School and to their lives.

    “He changed my life and I owe my legal career to him,” said David Tannenbaum, L’66. “His life is a blessed memory for all of us. He truly was a great man.”

    Fellow alumna Hon. Teresa L. Liston, L’81, said, “I am so sorry he will not be there to receive this honor. However, I’m happy he was aware of how highly esteemed he was by his former students and professional colleagues. What a treasure to the Law School and what contributions to the legal community! RIP, our dear professor.”

    “John Sullivan was one of many individuals who made Capital University Law School the great place it is for imparting legal knowledge, skills and values to students,” said Athornia Steele, former associate dean and professor of law. “It has been to my benefit to have had John as a teacher, as a colleague when I joined the Capital faculty, and as a friend.”

    Sullivan was a World War II Army veteran. He earned his bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University in 1950 and his law degree from Western Reserve University in 1952.