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D.C. Confidential

Mark Sullivan, class of 1977

Mark SullivanMark Sullivan was a student at St. Agnes Grammar School in the Boston suburb of Arlington in November 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in a Dallas motorcade. Like most Americans, Sullivan was glued to his television set watching the tragedy unfold.

Forty-three years later, that motorcade would look very different to the man who was previously in charge of protecting the president. As the 22nd director of the United States Secret Service, Sullivan had an inside view of and a critical role in American history. The appointment by President George W. Bush capped a 30-year Secret Service career launched in the trenches of Detroit, highlighted by several awards, and guided by a commitment to public service that took shape in early childhood.

Sullivan transferred to Saint Anselm from the University of Massachusetts, and completed an internship with the nearby Derry Police Department. His first job was with the Federal Protective Service, and soon moved on to the Inspector General's office at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. After covering California, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam, he was reassigned to the Boston office, only to learn he had been selected by the Secret Service and was being stationed in Detroit.

Protecting the President

Sullivan's call to the White House came in 1991 when he was assigned to protect George H.W. Bush. His first presidential trip was back to New Hampshire for a campaign rally in the first-in-the-nation primary state. One year later he moved to the first lady's detail, and following the 1992 election, moved to President Bill Clinton's protection detail.

Kevin Flynn '82, a law enforcement professional and former special agent, saw Sullivan's commitment, attention to detail, and leadership qualities early in his career. "I first met mark when our paths crossed in Detroit in 1984, during the presidential campaign. After we got talking and I got to know him a little, I knew that someday I'd be working for him."

On the evening of the presidential election in 2004, three Saint Anselm alumni -- Sullivan, Flynn and William Nelson '98 -- were on protection detail at Sen. John Kerry's home in Boston.

Despite retiring from the Secret Service in February of 2013, Sullivan knows that his former agents are exceptionally well trained and prepared for any situation they might encounter.