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Northampton Dollars for Scholars

  • Don Sullivan. SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • Joan Sulivan SUBMITTED PHOTO

Published: 5/15/2019 9:58:43 AM

As Northampton Dollars for Scholars enters its 45th year, The Daily Hampshire Gazette will profile some of the scholars and scholarships that epitomize this “Community Behind the Students.”

In 1958, the founder of Dollars for Scholars, Fall River, Massachusetts optometrist Irving Fradkin had a very simple and quintessentially democratic notion – to challenge every person in his community to donate one dollar to establish a scholarship fund that would enable local students to attend college. He arranged for Eleanor Roosevelt to donate the first dollar. This Fall River chapter would become the template for a nationwide movement that today comprises more than 1,100 local Dollars for Scholars chapters. More than 1 million students have been assisted over the past 60 years.

The Northampton chapter of Dollars for Scholars held its first awards ceremony on June 30, 1975. Over the past 44 years, many families, organizations and business have established scholarships to assist Northampton students with college expenses.

The Don and Joan Sullivan Memorial Scholarships

Don and Joan Sullivan were both Northampton natives. Don graduated from Northampton High School in 1948, earned a degree in business from the University of Notre Dame in 1952, served in the United States Army from 1953-1955, and then worked for the family business, D. A. Sullivan & Sons, Inc. until his passing. Joan graduated from St. Michael’s High School in 1950 and earned a nursing degree from Springfield Mercy Hospital School of Nursing and a bachelor’s in science and nursing from Boston College.

Don was proud to serve as president of D. A. Sullivan & Sons, which remains the oldest family business in Northampton.

Joan worked at Cooley Dickinson Hospital for most of her life. After starting a family, she taught nursing part-time at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in 1958, when it offered a licensed practical nursing program.

Don was deeply passionate about sports. He played football, baseball, and basketball during high school and played intramural sports in college. He also played in the youth and adult city leagues. He enjoyed attending athletic events that his children and grandchildren were involved in, and he loved to golf.

Both Don and Joan were very active in the community. Don was a lifelong member of the Elks Club and Rotary Club and was a past president of the Three County Fair Association and an incorporator on several different banking boards. Joan volunteered for the American Cancer Society and in her church and neighborhood.

The Don Sullivan Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a student who participated in Northampton High School athletics, is active in the community, and has plans to pursue a career in business.

The Joan Sullivan Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a student intending to study to become a nurse

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