John D. Sullivan

John D. Sullivan

Pitzer professor, loving husband and father

John D. “Jack” Sullivan, a longtime Claremont resident, died on December 2, 2014 after a brief battle with cancer. He was 77.

He was born on June 30, 1937 in San Francisco to John and Elsie Sullivan. He served in the US Army for two years before going on to college. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from San Francisco State College, and later completed his PhD in political science at Stanford University.

Mr. Sullivan began his academic career at Yale University, where he taught and served as director of graduate studies for international relations. He returned to California in 1972 to take a position as assistant professor in the international relations program at what was then Claremont Graduate School. He joined the Pitzer College faculty in 1975, where he taught until his retirement in 2007.

He held a variety of leadership positions during his long career at Pitzer, including director of administrative computing, acting dean of students, associate dean of faculty and acting dean of faculty. As a scholar, Jack was known for his work in conflict and negotiating processes, policy analysis, environmental policy and water policy. He was the author or co-author of a number of academic journal articles as well as several political science books, including California Water: A New Political Economy and Case Studies in Mergers & Acquisitions.

Long interested in environmental policy issues, Jack served as natural resources chair of the League of Women Voters of the Claremont Area and the natural resources chair of the LA County League of Women Voters. He wrote many articles for the LWV/LAC voter newsletter on such issues as water shortages in southern California and water recycling in Los Angeles County. He was the natural resources director at the state level of the League from 2003-2005 before moving into the role of legislation director.

With his white hair and signature white beard, he was a recognizable presence on the Pitzer campus and in Claremont for more than 40 years.

Laura Skandera Trombley—Pitzer’s president for 12 years before leaving to helm the Huntington Library—has fond memories of Mr. Sullivan.

“Jack was a giant in our community and a wonderful colleague,” Ms. Trombley said in a recent tribute. “He taught me and generations of students so much, and he will be greatly missed.”

Perhaps due to his Irish roots, Mr. Sullivan had a good sense of humor and enjoyed a good joke, not least when it was at his own expense. He had a hearty laugh that was infectious. In many respects, the last 29 years were Jack’s happiest, due in no small part to his partnership with his wife Jackie.

Mr. Sullivan was predeceased by his brother Michael. He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline L. Sullivan; by his son- and daughter-in-law, Kevin and Christine Sullivan of Albany, California, and his grandson Peter Sullivan; by his son- and daughter-in-law, Gregory Sullivan and Erin Wallace of Portland, Oregon, and grandchildren Wallace and Duff Sullivan. He also leaves his stepson Christopher Hartley and his partner Micah Buis of Boston, Massachusetts and his brother- and sister-in-law, Tom and Nancy Sullivan of Marquette, Michigan.

A celebration of his life will be held in Manor Hall at Claremont Manor, 650 Harrison Ave. on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the John D. Sullivan Annual Scholarship Fund at Pitzer College, c/o Advancement Office, 1050 N. Mills Ave., Claremont, CA 91711, or an environmental organization of your choice.


Submit a Comment

Share This