Board of Trustees

Mr. Martin Sullivan

Photo of Mr. Martin Sullivan

Why I am a trustee:
I am a staunch admirer of the liberal arts philosophy of SMCM and I believe that its distinctive setting, warm faculty-student connections, and commitment to socially responsible initiatives make it a model for 21st-century higher education.

Graduated from (and year):
Siena College (BA) 1965; Notre Dame (PhD) 1974; St. Mary’s College of Maryland (Doctor of Education honoris causa) 2010

museum director

When I was in college I studied:
American history and general liberal arts

Today I wish I had studied:
cultural anthropology and ecology

Favorite book:
all fiction and essays by Barbara Kingsolver

Favorite film:
A Man for All Seasons (1966)e

Favorite cuisine:
All Mediterranean cuisines

Role model:
General of the Army George C. Marshall (World War II)

Education/Career Advice for Students:
Few people will experience a straight-line career in the same job field or same organization. I changed jobs roughly every 8-9 years in a mix of public and private organizations, and I grew so much by taking risks and stretching into unfamiliar territory each time.


Martin Sullivan is currently the director of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Martin Sullivan served as CEO and executive director of the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission, since 1999. Earlier, he had been director of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona; director of the New York State Museum in Albany; and director of public programs for the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C.

Sullivan earned a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Notre Dame and is an adjunct professor of history at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. During the 2003-2004 academic year he was a senior fellow in residence at Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religions.

From 1992 to 2000 he served as a member and chairman of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation (NAGPRA) Review Committee established by Congress. From 1995 to 2003 he chaired the President’s Advisory Committee on Cultural Property, which advises the U.S. government on actions to deter worldwide theft and looting of antiquities.

He is currently chairman of the American Association of Museums Accreditation Commission and serves on the boards of the Maryland Humanities Council, the United Way of St. Mary’s County, and the St. Mary’s County Historical Society.