OTEGO – Roger B. Sullivan, 68, SUNY Oneonta associate vice president/enrollment management, passed away on Jan. 4, 2019, at his home in Otego. He also had a home in Sunset Beach, N.C.
Roger was born on Dec. 28, 1950, in Ogdensburg, the son of Roger P. and Velma I. (O’Shaughnessy) Sullivan.
He graduated from Lisbon Central High School and later earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from SUNY Potsdam and Bowling Green (Ohio) State University, respectively, before beginning a 40-year career in the SUNY system.
In 1996, SUNY Oneonta then-President Alan Donovan hired him to improve the college’s enrollment, an assignment that would both enrich and define his career. During the next 13 years, working closely with faculty and staff, Roger oversaw enrollment growth, attracting a more diverse and academically talented student body. That helped SUNY Oneonta gain national recognition, most notably in its rise in the U.S. News rankings to a Tier One Public Masters College as well as its recognition as a Top 10 Best Public College in the North.
After retiring from SUNY Oneonta in 2014, Roger was employed as an enrollment consultant by the national Registry of College & University Presidents.
During his career, Roger received SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service, was a founding member and a president of the New York State Transfer and Articulation Association, was an invited faculty member at several international Strategic Enrollment Management Conferences, and participated in many SUNY-wide task forces, a recognition of his expertise.
Roger was always involved in the communities in which he lived.
Roger served on the Clinton Central School Board of Education, served on and was president of the Otego Zoning Board of Appeals, co-chaired SUNY Oneonta’s annual United Way Campaign and was a member of the Catskill Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors, to name but a few of his many civic contributions. Roger was also a member of the First United Presbyterian Church of Oneonta, where he was ordained as an elder and where he served on multiple church sessions.
For those who knew him well, Roger played as hard as he worked. He was an enthusiastic golfer, he fly-fished often and poorly with his best friend, Gary Scherzer, and he and his wife hosted numerous social gatherings at “The Hulk” for his many friends and acquaintances where his college roommate and friend, Tim Rybinski, would often play the banjo.
In addition, Roger enjoyed gardening and was particularly adept at growing a vast array of weeds in both the perennial and vegetable gardens that surrounded his Otego home. Most of all, he enjoyed a good laugh, even when at his own expense.
Roger is survived by his college sweetheart, the love of his life and devoted wife of 45 years, Jane “Henry” Sullivan, to whom he was married on Aug. 18, 1973; daughter, Sarah Dubowsky (Eric Dubowsky) of Ridgewood, N.J.; son, Shaun Sullivan (Tiffany Hurd) of Hampton, N.H., his cherished grandchildren, Alexis, Magnus, Aoife, Kahlen and Isabella; and numerous aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
In addition to his parents, Roger was predeceased by his younger brother, Todd of Rochester.
A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life for Roger will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, at the First United Presbyterian Church (“Red Door” Church) in Oneonta.
Contributions in Roger’s memory may be given to the Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, 297 River Street Service Road, Oneonta, NY 13820, or the United Way of Otsego County, c/o 31 Maple St., Oneonta, NY 13820, or to the philanthropy of one’s choosing.