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News
Estate benefits anthropology


By Alexandria Blute
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday September 30, 2003

Anthropology students at the UA will reap the benefits of a gift given to the department by an alumna who attended the university over 40 years ago.

Nancy Sullivan, a member of the class of 1962, passed away in 2001 from heart complications. In her will, Sullivan insisted that her entire estate, worth approximately $650,000, be given to the anthropology department.

Sullivan did not specify exactly how she wanted the anthropology department to use the funds, except to say that it must be used to directly benefit students.

John Olsen, head of the anthropology department, said the money will be used solely for student support. Benefits from the gift should last for years to come, he said.

"It gives us a great deal of flexibility to address student financial needs," said Olsen.

Because the money is not restricted, benefits will flow to undergraduates, graduates, and potentially doctoral candidates, Olsen said.

"This will become yet another resource available for the support of students," he said.

The anthropology department's scholarship and awards committee will decide how the gift will be dispensed to students, Olsen said.

Friends described Sullivan as an animal lover who was typically quiet, reserved, and frugal. The anthropology community at the UA was important to her.

Peter Hubble, who was close to Sullivan, said Sullivan believed her money should be used to educate young people.

"She saw education as a tool," Hubble said. "She didn't want to be the richest woman in the graveyard. She thought (the anthropology department) would be the best place it would be used."

Betty Harris, another friend, said that Sullivan insisted the funds not be used for building projects.

"She didn't want the money to be used for bricks and mortar," Harris said. "She was very explicit that the money was to be used for projects benefiting the students."

Olsen said that Sullivan's substantial gift reflects the positive experience she had as an anthropology student in the 60s.

"This is a good example of why that kind of experience is important to students," he said.

Ginny Healy, director of development for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said the anthropology community at the UA is tight-knit.

"Tucson has the highest number of anthropologists in the nation per capita," she said noting that many anthropology students stay in touch with their professors and peers after graduation.

"There's a lot of camaraderie there," she said.

Olsen said that the anthropology staff attempts to make every student's time at the university meaningful.

"You never know the ways in which you ultimately touch people," he said.

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