UConn community celebrates Sean Sullivan’s life with memorial service

On Sunday afternoon, students gathered at a memorial for UConn student Sean Sullivan, who passed away in early October. (Unnar Ýmir Björnsson/Flickr Creative Commons)

The University of Connecticut community celebrated the life of Sean Sullivan at a memorial service held in his honor on Sunday afternoon.

Sullivan was a first-semester economics major from Norwalk, Connecticut, who passed away in early October.

UConn students and faculty, as well as Sullivan’s family and friends, gathered at the UConn Student Alumni Association to honor his memory. Several of his friends recounted their favorite stories about him.

“He asked me about my opinion of Quentin Tarantino, which could have been a good conversation if I had known who Tarantino was at the time, but that really marked the beginning of our friendship,” Sullivan’s friend Kasey Macedo said. “He listened to me no matter what.”

Sullivan’s friend William Hessert said their friendship began in high school band and continued because of their mutual “obsession” with ultimate frisbee.

“There’s a very specific Sean Sullivan smile, which makes you happy because you can see how happy he is,” Hessert said. “His desire, drive and passion was to apply his smarts to making the world a better place.”

Sullivan was an extremely empathetic person, his friend Julia Favazzo said.

“During our first week [at UConn], I was feeling homesick. It was like 11 p.m. on a Wednesday, and I texted him that I wanted to talk with a friend from home. Within five minutes he said,‘Sure,’” Favazzo said. “He was always there for me without judgment, question or hesitation. You didn’t feel like you owed him, because he never made you feel that way.”

According to Sullivan’s friend Priyanka Thakkar, he was the type of person who seemingly knew everyone.

“At high school graduation, he shouted and cheered the name of everyone,” Thakkar said. “That’s probably how many friends he had.”

Grange Hall resident assistants Christian Spaar and Doni Ivanov gave Sullivan’s parents a UConn blanket, as well as a UConn frisbee in remembrance of his love for ultimate frisbee. They agreed that watching Sunday football has not been the same in Grange Hall since Sullivan’s passing.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Jeremy Teitelbaum presented Sullivan’s parents with a certificate of academic accomplishment.

“He was an AP scholar in high school, and an economics major here at UConn,” Teitelbaum said. “I’m sorry I never got to meet him, and I know he’ll live on in the memories of his family and friends.”

Hessert performed an original song which he wrote specifically for Sullivan entitled “Down the Road” on a keyboard.

A slideshow included photos of Sullivan from his childhood, in addition to some of Sullivan’s school portraits and pictures of him with his friends at his high school graduation. Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On” accompanied the slideshow.

A toast to Sullivan with cans of Monster Energy, his go-to drink, concluded the memorial service.


Alexandra Retter is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.retter@uconn.edu.