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Julie H. Sullivan is a leader in Catholic higher education and an internationally recognized scholar in accounting, finance, and taxation. Currently the president of the University of St. Thomas, Sullivan was named the first layperson and woman to serve as president of Santa Clara University on March 1. She will begin her presidency July 1, 2022.

For the past nine years, Sullivan has served as president of the University of St. Thomas, the largest private university in Minnesota. As the first layperson and first female president at St. Thomas, Sullivan is committed to the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching, working to improve access to education, ensure sustainability, dismantle racism, and build community. 

During her tenure, Sullivan increased student socioeconomic and racial diversity, improved student access and retention and graduation rates, and achieved a gold STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) rating for sustainability achievements. She oversaw the founding of the Dougherty Family College at St. Thomas, a two-year degree program that increased accessibility to four-year degrees for students from diverse and underserved backgrounds. She also established the Morrison Family College of Health, which prioritizes culturally responsive health practices and sustainable approaches in the fields of nursing, psychology, social work, and health and exercise science.  


"You can't do anything alone. I always tell people that my dreams are just fantasies if I can't find anyone who shares them. If we can find some shared dreams, we can do anything together."

INCOMING President Julie H. Sullivan




Sullivan shares her expertise with public and private companies, as well as nonprofit organizations. She has 19 cumulative years of public company board service and 15 years of private company board service, spanning a number of industries. She is currently the board chair for the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and serves on the boards of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Loyola University of Chicago, Minnesota Business Partnership, Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children, and Greater MSP. She also is a member of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable, Twin Cities Dunkers, and WomenCorporateDirectors.

Prior to joining St. Thomas, Sullivan served as the executive vice president and provost at the University of San Diego (2005-2013) after an extensive academic and administrative career as a professor of business and accounting at the University of California-San Diego (2003-2005) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1987-2003).

A native of Florida, Sullivan has three degrees from the University of Florida: a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a master’s degree in taxation and a Ph.D. in business. She is a (non-practicing) certified public accountant. She is a dog lover who enjoys exercise, any water activity, traveling with her husband, and family time with children and grandchildren.

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