Clemson University mourns the loss of devoted businessman and philanthropist Joseph F. Sullivan, namesake of the University’s Joseph F. Sullivan Center, who died January 20. He was 90.
Sullivan had a distinguished career at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, serving more than 20 years as CEO and retiring in 1992 as chairman emeritus. During his tenure, he led a period of substantial growth and founded the Companion Group of Companies that laid the groundwork for the organization’s ongoing success.
Sullivan was also instrumental in the evolution of the Sullivan Center, Clemson’s interdisciplinary health center for University employees and community members. During his time as CEO at BlueCross, he helped direct significant funding to Clemson, and the company also provided a gift to name the center in his honor to mark his retirement. Sullivan remained a great friend to the center during his retirement years.
With his foundational support, the Sullivan Center’s service to the University and surrounding areas continues today. As one of three operational units of Clemson Rural Health – which provides health service delivery and prevention efforts across the state – the center provides acute care, chronic disease management, preventive care, travel medicine and telehealth. Its work is key to Clemson Rural Health’s mission to improve health outcomes in underserved and rural communities while engaging research and providing student learning opportunities. Clemson Rural Health is part of the Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences.
Sullivan attended the University of Rhode Island and was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army upon graduation, serving in the Korean Demilitarized Zone. He lived in Camden, South Carolina, and worked on behalf of countless organizations and community efforts throughout his life.
The University extends its heartfelt sympathy to his wife, Brenda LaMond Sullivan; his children, Lesley Faria (Dan), Stephen Sullivan ’84 (Michelle ’82) and Gregory Sullivan (Sandy); his grandchildren, Ansley Lee ’10 (Alex), Brendan Faria, Joseph Sullivan, Lauren Sullivan, Sarah Sullivan ’21 and Smith Sullivan; and his great-granddaughters, Carlson Lee and Bennett Lee.
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