M. Michelle Coady Ph.D. and Susan E. Sullivan Ph.D. We wanted to contribute to the Carrie Chapman Catt Building and the Plaza of Heroines as a lasting tribute to a great visionary and advocate for human rights. We hope that this memorial is a constant reminder that strong women leaders have played important and vital roles in shaping our history and that we need to encourage today's girls and women to be strong and compassionate leaders for our future.
We also are using the placement of a stone bearing both of our names as a symbol of our lifetime partnership. We have been together since we met in graduate school at the University of Minnesota in October, 1984. We spent several years on a personal journey to reach a point of self-acceptance, and now we are very comfortable and happy in our committed relationship. Our fist child, Samuel Sullivan Coady, was born on August 22nd, 1995; becoming mothers has become our greatest joy! History suggests that this is the most favorable social climate ever, yet we still see signs of prejudice, hate, and ignorance every day. It is our hope that the future will be more kind and accepting of diversity, and that others will have a shorter personal journey toward happiness and self-acceptance.
Mary Michelle Coady was born in Ames, Iowa on July 25, 1958 to Mary Anne (also in Plaza listing) and Larry B. Coady. Michelle is the second oldest of the ten Coady Children (Suzanne, Dan, Kayleen, Linda, Sheila, Sam, Ellen, Amy, and Anne). From an early age, Michelle remembers running everywhere. Michelle and her sisters and brothers used to race home from church on Sundays, and rousing games of hot box were the standard fare for evening fun.
In school, Michelle was involved in leadership activities such as student council. She was elected to serve as co-president of Welch Junior High and was also elected to be the first pep club president. By the end of junior high, schools were beginning to allow girls to play sports. Michelle focused her energy in this direction, and became a letter winner and set records in all of her many sports, including cross country, basketball, track and softball.
Michelle graduated from Ames High School in 1976, and attended Iowa State University, majoring in Industrial Technology and Education. She joined a sorority to extend her circle of friends. Michelle also continued her involvement in sports by earning letters in intercollegiate Basketball (1976-1980) and Softball (1977). After graduating in 1980, she went at work at John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline, Illinois. She earned her Master’s of Business Administration from St. Ambrose University in 1984. Later that year, she moved to Minneapolis to begin her doctoral program at the University of Minnesota in the College of Education, Department of Vocational Education. She met Susan within months of moving to Minneapolis. Michelle completed her Ph.D. in Organizational Development and Business in 1987.
Michelle’s career has focused on the management techniques of quality improvement. She has applied her expertise in the health care and insurance industries, and currently owns a quality management consulting business called Improvement Solutions. Michelle’s expertise has been recognized nationally by her selection as a member of the board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Michelle’s interests included spending time with family and friends, waterskiing, running, rollerblading and home remodeling.
Susan Ellen Sullivan was born in Champaign, Illinois, April 7, 1957 to Rachel and James Sullivan. She is the third of five children: Michael, Kevin, Daniel, and Stephen. Sudan and her brothers grew up in Champaign with a very large extended family, and they continue to be a close family. Susan loved to play sports from early childhood; it was not generally acceptable for females to participate in sports in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but Susan sought out opportunities and friends that made it possible.
Sudan always loved school and excelled in it. the strong foundation was set in a Catholic grade school where she learned to love reading and always won the spelling bees. Susan w=graduated with honors from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana campus where she majored in community health education. She belonged to the Tri-Delta Sorority, won the all-university championships in women’s intramural football and basketball, and was a regular selection to the all-star teams. Susan earned her master’s of Public Health in Community Health Education (with honors) from the University of Minnesota in 1985. She met Michelle during her last year of graduate school—we were each other’s greatest fans for our academic pursuits. Then Susan decided to go on for a doctorate in health behavior and health education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This meant moving 1,000 miles from Michelle and Minneapolis. After graduating with honors in1990, Susan accepted a post doctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute in Washington D.C. where she conducted research In the area of prenatal smoking cessation and tobacco control. Eighteen months later, Susan moved back to Chapel Hill to help start the new Cancer prevention and control a=program at the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center. It was during this time that Sudan began to accept herself for who she was, and realized that she really wanted to be with Michelle. After thousands of long distance phone calls and many, many visits over the course of six years, Susan moved back to Minneapolis to start a new life with Michelle.
Susan has continued her career in health education and health research in Minneapolis. Susan’s interests include spending time with family and friends, travel, reading and walking.
Honored by: M. Michelle Caody & Susan Sullivan
Section: F Row: 23