Although current students might not recognize the name except from Lander University archives, George Washington Sullivan was one of the school's earliest influences. Now, with the support of his family, Sullivan and his guiding efforts are being remembered through the donation of a campus bench and plaque in his honor.
His great-granddaughter, Pam Lytch '81, led the effort in placing the new bench on the gazebo lawn in front of the Laura Lander Hall tower, with a plaque inscription that reads: Geo W. Sullivan, Lander Trustee 1888 to 1929, Chair 1901-1926.
"Placing a bench in his honor was something I felt compelled to do because of his historical significance to Lander," Lytch said. "I have been researching our genealogy and have found numerous documents that mention my great-grandfather in connection to Lander's early development."
Sullivan took on a managing role at Lander when he was only 40, at a time when the school was still known as Williamston Female College. He helped secure early funding through the South Carolina Methodist Conference in 1898, witnessed the change in name to Lander College in 1903, and was instrumental in moving the campus from Williamston to Greenwood.
"I felt it fitting to honor my great-grandfather, who laid the foundation for family members that attended and graduated from both schools," Lytch said.
The Sullivan bench is the eighth to be placed on the gazebo lawn. Others commemorate past administrators, alumni donors and special friends whose support has helped further the efforts of the university.
"The alumni gazebo perimeter benches can be donated in honor or memory of someone, or as an alumni gift," said Myra Greene '78, director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving. "We always appreciate donations made to enhance the historical side of our campus."
For information on making a donation, please contact the Lander Foundation at 864-388-8350.