Professor Michael Sullivan, 1916 – 2013

Professor Michael Sullivan, 1916 – 2013

The College is deeply saddened to announce that Emeritus Fellow, Professor Michael Sullivan, passed away in Oxford on 28 September 2013 at the age of 96. Michael first joined the College in 1980 as a Fellow by Special Election, teaching Fine Art at the College.

Professor Sullivan was born in 1916, and read architecture at the University of Cambridge. A prominent art historian, known internationally for specialising in modern Chinese art history, he spent time with the International and Chinese Red Cross in China during the 1940s. He then went on to stay in the country to complete teaching and museum work.

He taught at the University of Singapore and at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and was appointed Head of the Department of Oriental Art at Stanford University before joining St Catherine’s College.

The Master, Professor Roger Ainsworth, said "Michael Sullivan was a much-loved figure in college, and, right up to his death was seen here on almost a daily basis.  He came to St Catherine’s with his wife Khoan from Stanford University where he had been Professor of Oriental Art, in October 1979, bringing his great knowledge of Chinese Art with him. During his time as a Fellow his profile as a leading international expert in this field became very widely recognised, with many honours coming his way. He had only recently returned from a major three-week lecture tour in China, which in itself was a major feat for a ninety-six year old.  He relished interacting with a wide variety of people of differing interests, and he particularly enjoyed imparting his great knowledge to our students and young research assistants, who were enormously grateful for his time. His death leaves a very large void in our community.”

Photo © Ashmolean Museum.