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Jennifer and Nathaniel Sullivan
Mother and son Jennifer and Nathaniel Sullivan are among the members of Salisbury University's spring Class of 2023.

Mother, Son Among Graduates at SU's 2023 Spring Commencement

SALISBURY, MD---Most people who know Salisbury mother and son Jennifer and Nathaniel Sullivan know they share at least one trait: They both want to make a difference in their community.

Soon, they will have at least one more thing in common: Both will graduate as members of Salisbury University’s spring Class of 2023.

They are among 1,368 students who will receive their graduate and undergraduate degrees during three ceremonies at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

Jennifer, who earns her B.S.W., hopes to use the skills she learned at SU to better the Salisbury area by opening a series of halfway houses for women recovering from addiction.

Many return to substance abuse after having their children taken away from them while in recovery, or their children begin abusing substances while in foster care, she said, noting that designated halfway houses would allow families to stay together during the process.

“I like to help people,” she said. “At the macro level, I want to make changes to policy that will give these women a better chance.”

This will be her second bachelor’s degree, after earning her B.S. in business from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She plans to continue her education by pursuing an accelerated M.S.W. at SU next year, followed by a possible doctorate.

This also will be Nathaniel’s second bachelor’s degree, in accounting, after earning his B.S. in political science from SU in 2018. Eventually, he hopes to assist with his mother’s halfway house project. For now, he has accepted a position with accounting professional services firm CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, in Timonium, MD.

While at SU this time around, he has worked for campus offices including Career Services and University Catering. He also has been active with several student organizations, including the Student Government Association, which he most recently served as treasurer, and Saferide, a student-run organization providing free transportation for students needing a safe ride to their homes on or near campus.

“I always like giving back to the community” whether that’s Salisbury as a whole or SU specifically, he said. “It’s come full-circle for me.”

As a first-generation college graduate and single mother, Jennifer said Nathaniel’s experiences at SU have been gratifying for her, as well.

“It’s great to see the things I did empower him and make him want to further his education,” she said. “It’s very special to me that we get to share our graduation day.”

A ceremony for graduate students in SU’s spring Class of 2023 is Wednesday, May 24. Undergraduates from the College of Health and Human Services, Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology, and Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education graduate during a morning ceremony Thursday, May 25. Students in the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts and Franklin P. Perdue School of Business graduate that afternoon.

Student speakers include Madison Brunett (M.S.W.) of Salisbury on May 24, and Zach Koehler (B.S. physics) of Princess Anne, MD (morning), and Carly Nascimbeni (B.A. philosophy) of Salisbury (afternoon) on May 25.

Among undergraduates, 1,140 students receive the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts. Some 221 receive master’s degrees. Seven receive doctoral degrees. Admission to Commencement is by ticket only.

Learn more about SU and opportunities to Make Tomorrow Yours at the SU website.