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Alva R. Sullivan ’57

Alva wasn’t sure about joining fraternity when he left for college. “I had never had a family member pledge a fraternity. I female family friend was working at U of K and when she learned I was coming to Lexington she encouraged me to pledge Kappa Sigma. She asked Wendell Cherry (later co-founder of Humana and on this honoree list) and a Kappa Sig to rush me. He was in Law School at that time. He took this very uncool freshman and introduced me to a number of the brothers who also rushed me hard. I pledged — and it was the best decision I made as a 17-year-old which has helped shape my life. The brotherhood, the huge success we had as a chapter in the 1957-1960 period -which was phenomenal, and the lifelong personal friendships developed there are still strong some 50 plus years later.”

Brother Sullivan graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science and started working in the Admissions Office of Spencerian College.

In June of 1962 Sullivan Business College was launched and Sullivan started as Vice President and Director of Admissions. More than 50 years later Alva is still at Sullivan, now the Sullivan University System, serving as Chancellor. The Sullivan University System has campuses in both Louisville and Lexington, as well as an extension at Fort Knox and an online division.

While serving in academics Alva continued his own education, earning a Doctor of Business Administration from Johnson & Wales University in 1997.

Brother Sullivan has also served key positions on several professional boards, including as a Board Member for the American Council on Education, a Commission Member of the National Commission on Higher Education and the Adult Learner, as well as Chairman of the Board for the Association of Independent Colleges and Schools.

He has earned numerous accolades for his efforts, including winning the Business First – “Business Leader of the Year Award- Large Business” (2009), Junior Achievement – “Business Hall of Fame Laureate” (2009), the “Dan Mangeot” Award – to the person in Louisville who has made significant contributions to the advancement of Tourism and the Hospitality Industry (2006), the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur-of-the-Year Award” and induction into the “Entrepreneur-of-the-Year International Hall of Fame” (1999) and the “Honorable Order of the Golden Toque” Fellow Membership (2003).

Brother Sullivan has remained active with Kappa Sigma. Each month he co-hosts an Alumni Luncheon for Beta-Nu’s and alumni from other chapters who work or live in the Louisville area. “This has kept the Kappa Sigma flame strong and alive for Brothers in Louisville.” When prompted to pass some wisdom down to today’s Beta-Nu undergraduates, he responded, “My advice is simply to keep close bonds with your brothers in the decades ahead. The support, personal and professional, your brothers can give you after graduation will help mold your life and success. AEKDB.”