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About Sullivan

Sullivan History and Mission

Sullivan University offers career-focused higher education for people with higher goals. We’ll help you choose a degree program, on-campus or online. When you graduate, we’ll assist you in finding career opportunities.

Our Mission

Sullivan University is a private institution of higher learning dedicated to providing educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social, and professional development of its students. The institution offers career-focused curricula with increasing rigor from the certificate through diploma, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree levels. Throughout those curricula, the University seeks to promote the development of critical thinking, effective verbal and written communication, computer literacy, and teamwork as well as an appreciation for life-long learning, cultural diversity, and the expression of professionalism in all activities. At the graduate level, the University also seeks to promote a culture of research.

The Sullivan University faculty, staff, and administration believe that qualified individuals should have the opportunity to pursue formal academic training at the institution of their choice. We welcome those students who seek such educational challenges. The University provides a student-centered learning environment that facilitates students’ identification of their life goals and the means to achieve those goals. The University promotes a culture of teaching excellence throughout the institution which is augmented by a culture of research at the graduate level, and it also encourages faculty, students, administration, and staff to participate in service activities and projects which enhance the quality of life in the local and surrounding communities. Upon completion of a program, the University provides employment assistance to graduates.

This mission is achieved by providing:

stair-step curricular progression for students from certificate through diploma, to associate, to bachelor’s, to master’s, to doctoral degrees with credentials earned at each level.

Face-to-face, hybrid, and online learning experiences in an environment enhanced by student services and activities outside the classroom that enable students to take advantage of their interests and abilities to develop teamwork and leadership capabilities.

Faculty members who possess educational, experiential, and distance learning qualifications for the classes they teach and who emphasize the process of learning as well as the assimilation of knowledge and skills.

The use of equipment similar to that used in the professions for which the students are educated.

A university library whose books, periodicals, professional journals, electronic databases, and e-journals adequately support the programs offered.

Undergraduate faculty who understand and use active, collaborative, experiential, and problem-based learning strategies while practicing in live, virtual, and blended environments; and graduate faculty who understand and use these learning strategies while also practicing in a scholarly research environment.

Professional and research-oriented doctoral programs which especially express the university’s commitment to teaching excellence, scholarly research, distance learning, the application of knowledge, civic engagement, and focused service to its various publics.

Graduates earn the privilege to review, audit, or retake any course they completed without additional tuition.

Career Services specialists to assist graduates with their job search at graduation and thereafter as requested.



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A. O. Sullivan and his son, A. R. Sullivan, recognize the need for an institution of higher education devoted to the highest ideals and standards in preparing people for successful careers. They found Sullivan Business College, a one-year school of business, to meet that need.

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Sullivan receives the authority to award the Associate degree and acquires Louisville Technical Institute which later turns into Sullivan College of Technology and Design.

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Bryant and Stratton Business College, whose history dated back to 1864, merges with Sullivan, giving the school a history of over a century of service to the people in the region.

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Sullivan makes a major move to its current main campus at the corner of the Watterson Expressway and Bardstown Road. It also changes its name to Sullivan Junior College of Business to better reflect its status as an accredited junior college.

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In 1979, Sullivan became the first private career college in the South to receive collegiate accreditation from the prestigious Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) at the Associate degree level.

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Sullivan opens its first extension campus on the military post at Ft. Knox, KY, serving the military and civilian population in the area.

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Sullivan continues its expansion with the opening of a branch campus in Lexington, KY

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The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) grants accreditation to Sullivan’s baccalaureate program, giving it the same baccalaureate accreditation as enjoyed by major colleges and universities in the 11-state southern region.

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The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) extends Sullivan’s accreditation through the year 2006. 

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In 1997, the University initiated a graduate school offering the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree at its main campus in Louisville.

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The multi-million dollar Sullivan University Library and Learning Resource Center opens. Sullivan acquires a new suburban campus in Lexington for the 1,000+ students attending the college there, and begins offering graduate degree classes at its Lexington campus. In 1999, Sullivan University established an international presence through online education that provides students the opportunity to attend across the globe.

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In the Spring of 2000, the institution’s board approved the change of designation from Sullivan College to Sullivan University which officially took place at formal ceremonies on August 2, 2000.

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The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) extends Sullivan’s accreditation through 2016. 

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Sullivan University accepts its inaugural class of Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students to provide career opportunities to students and to meet the growing need for pharmacists in the region. To accommodate this new program, an 80,000-square-foot building was purchased, with an addition of a 20,000-square-foot, three-story wing on six acres, adjacent to the Main campus. The University also sends its Culinary students to cook for the United States Olympic athletes at the Olympics in Beijing, China. 

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Sullivan University welcomes an inaugural class of 11 students to its first Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Management. The degree allows students to concentrate some of their studies in Strategic Management, Information Technology (IT) Management, Conflict Management or Human Resource Leadership. 

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In the summer of 2014, Sullivan University welcomes its inaugural class into the Master of Science Physician Assistant program.

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The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) extends Sullivan’s accreditation through 2025.

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Sullivan expands to Eastern Kentucky and opens the Sullivan University Center for Learning in Louisa, KY, in an effort to provide educational opportunities and promote economic development in the region. 

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Sullivan University merges with Spencerian College and Sullivan College of Technology and Design, creating a single, stronger university with an expanded course selection and lowered tuition for undergraduate programs. 

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In 2019, the university opened a Learning Center in Mayfield, KY.

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Sullivan University partners with NASA to complete the NASA HUNCH competition; the winning team receives scholarships to the University and their dish is sent to the International Space Station to be eaten by the astronauts.