Dr. Eric R. Sullivan, age 47, passed away peacefully on January 13, 2023, at his home in Helena, MT after a courageous 21-month battle with Glioblastoma.
Eric’s family knew him as an energetic, and mentally tough math professor, an outdoor enthusiast, and a connoisseur of craft beers who always had the right shoes for every occasion (Chacos or running shoes because what more do you need).
His resilience and unwavering dedication to his goals led Eric on innumerable adventures, including summitting multiple Colorado 14ers, visiting all of the national parks in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana (among many others), trekking Mt. Artesoniaju and Ishinca in Peru, walking on the Great Wall of China, and solo section hiking both the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
Eric graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in math education and taught high school math in Iowa, where he met, and married Johnanna. After settling in Colorado, Eric continued his life-long learning quest by earning his M.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and later his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado, Denver in 2013.
Eric joined the faculty at Carroll College in Helena, Montana in 2013 where he taught many courses, mentored students and faculty members, produced countless publications, helped re-write curriculum, developed courses, promoted SURF, championed starting the Data Science Program, and wrote a textbook on Numerical Methods.
Eric also fully embraced the outdoor lifestyle he found in Montana and immersed himself in all of it – fly fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, backpacking, camping, rock climbing, snowshoeing, skiing, biking – you name it, he likely tried it.
Eric is survived by his wife, Johnanna; his faithful Labrador puppy Aspen; his parents, Donna and Drew of La Crosse, Wisconsin; brother Douglas (Wendy) of La Crosse, sister Emily (Jimmy) of Bend, Oregon; sister Julie (Brian) of Kansas City, Missouri; in-laws Clara and Dennis Day of Helena, Montana; brother-in-law Paul Day of Des Moines, Iowa; and many nieces and nephews who he loved dearly. He was preceded in death by his beloved dogs Moab, Jackson, and Shelby and by his grandparents.
Everyone who remembers him is asked to celebrate Eric’s life in their own way. Raising a glass of your favorite IPA in his memory or getting outside to play would be quite appropriate. He would love nothing more than for everyone to embrace nature, marvel at sunrises, sleep under the stars, play in the snow, and howl at the moon. As Eric said often throughout his glioblastoma battle, "Movement is Medicine".
A public remembrance service will be held at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, on Sunday January 22 at 3 p.m.
To honor Eric’s legacy, his family, and Carroll College, have established the Dr. Eric Sullivan Data Science Fund to help extend Eric’s legacy by providing financial support directly to a Data Science student at Carroll College while also helping to keep Eric’s vision for educating future data scientists, statisticians or researchers in the real-world application of math.
Contributions to this fund can be mailed directly to Carroll College, noting in the memo Dr. Eric Sullivan Data Science Fund. Carroll College, 1601 N. Benton Ave., Helena, MT 59625; or online at carroll.edu/give. Select ‘Memorials’ gift designation and enter Dr. Eric Sullivan Data Science fund in the ‘Give in Honor of’ box.
We appreciate everyone that has contributed to Eric's legacy and we hope that providing educational opportunities in a field that Eric loved will carry on his vision and life's mission for years to come. If you would like to learn more about the Carroll College Data Science Program, check out their academic program page. Or you can read more about Eric's time at Carroll College: https://www.carroll.edu/faculty/sullivan-eric.