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Oral History

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Maurice J. O'Sullivan, or Socky (short for Socrates), as he prefers to be called, came to Rollins College in 1975 as a professor of English specializing in eighteenth century literature. He is also an editor, mentor, and College Marshal.

O'Sullivan grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey, in the St. Aloysius area. He earned his bachelor's degree at Fairfield University and went on to receive his master's degree and Ph.D. from Western Reserve University. Afterward, he taught for several years at Ohio State University before joining the faculty at Rollins.

Eventually, O'Sullivan became the chair of the English Department and chair of the Humanities Division at Rollins. In addition to teaching courses ranging from Irish Studies to Jane Austen: Fiction and Film, he was an advisor for students. O'Sullivan also co-hosted a Summer Teachers Institute for middle and high school teachers. Noted for his cross-disciplinary style of teaching, O'Sullivan was named Kenneth Curry Professor of Literature in 1999. Some of his other distinctions include a silver medal from the 1987 National Professor of the Year Competition, seven years on the Executive Board for the Florida College English Association (which culminated in his position as president of that body in 2001-2002), and the Bornstein Award for Faculty Scholarship in 2004-2005.

O'Sullivan's academic interests include Shakespeare, Irish culture, religion, education, Florida, and popular culture. He has contributed to numerous publications in either the role of author or editor. A few of these works include The Florida Reader (with Jack Lane), Crime Fiction & Film in the Sunshine State: Florida Noir; Florida in Poetry: A History of the Imagination; The Books of Job; FIAT LUX: Teaching in Paradise; Shakespeare Plays the Classroom; Shakespeare's Other Lives: An Anthology of Fictional Depictions of the Bard; Orange Pulp; and the rediscovered 1855 novel A Trip to Florida for Health and Sport. He also wrote numerous articles for The Orlando Sentinel, several of which celebrated Irish heritage.

O'Sullivan1.mp3 (1544 kB)
O’Sullivan discusses his family background and what it was like growing up in New Jersey

O'Sullivan2.mp3 (1528 kB)
O’Sullivan discusses his Irish Studies Class

O'Sullivan3.mp3 (1417 kB)
O’Sullivan discusses inviting the Grand Dragon John Paul Rogers toc speak to his class

O'Sullivan4.mp3 (1119 kB)
O’Sullivan discusses the Tar Pit that used to be in the basement of the bookstore

O'Sullivan5.mp3 (2513 kB)
O’Sullivan discusses his nickname