In 2003, Duke University re-joined approximately 50 other Southern universities in presenting the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. This award program, sponsored by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation, recognizes during commencement week one graduating senior and one member of the faculty, staff, or graduate student body of Duke University or Health System for their outstanding commitment to service.
The New York Southern Society established the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards in 1925 in memory of Mr. Sullivan, a southerner who became a prominent lawyer, businessman and philanthropist in New York in the late nineteenth century. The award seeks to perpetuate the excellence of character and humanitarian service of Algernon Sydney Sullivan by recognizing and honoring such qualities in others.
Mr. Sullivan was a man who “reached out both hands in constant helpfulness to others.” The guidelines to the Award describe him as an accomplished lawyer, a mediator, a powerful orator, a noted philanthropist, a courageous citizen during perilous times, as well as a deeply spiritual and devoted family man.
Duke University is giving this award to a graduating senior and a member of the faculty, staff, or graduate student body who exhibit the qualities of Mr. Sullivan. These qualities of service, character and spirituality are recognized in their practical application to daily living. Nobility of character is a criterion that is defined by the foundation as “when one goes outside the narrow circle of self-interest and begins to spend himself for the interests of mankind.”
The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award Committee desires that this prestigious opportunity for recognition be available to student and employee alike regardless of their role at the University. This ensures that all who make significant contributions to the community and who lead lives of integrity, will be considered as candidates for this unique award.