Love of fitness inspires alumna’s planned gift to support Health and Exercise Science at CSU

Jane Sullivan (right) poses for a photo with her scholarship recipient.
Jane Sullivan (right) stands with a scholarship recipient (left) at the College of Health and Human Sciences’ Scholarship Brunch.

Story by Kelsey Burket

A lifelong love of health, fitness, and science has inspired alumna Jane Sullivan’s support of the Department of Health and Exercise Science.

In 1990, Sullivan, an aerobics instructor and long-time donor to Colorado State University, received her master’s degree in exercise and sport science (now known as health and exercise science). Sullivan recently elected to make CSU a part of her legacy by establishing a $50,000 estate gift to support the Department of Health and Exercise Science.

Passionate about health and fitness

Jane Sullivan teaches an aerobics class in 1987
In a photo from 1987, Jane Sullivan smiles as she instructs her aerobics class.

In the late 1960s, Sullivan graduated from high school in Wyoming and moved to Denver to take on secretarial duties and pursue a business degree at Regis University. Although she had a demanding work and class schedule, she always prioritized nutrition and exercise, especially aerobics. While a member at a fitness club in Denver, the aerobics instructor told her, “You’re better at this than I am! You should be up here teaching this class.” With that, Sullivan became an aerobics instructor and set her sights on a master’s degree in exercise and sport science.

Sullivan’s lifelong interest in science and health eventually inspired her to relocate to Fort Collins to pursue her master’s degree. In 1987, Sullivan and her husband moved up to Fort Collins so she could study at CSU. While a graduate student, she landed a graduate teaching assistantship where she taught physical education to undergraduate students. Her classes ranged from aerobics to racquetball to golf. She also helped launch RAM Aerobics, a fitness program at Moby that included over 100 students. In 1990, she completed her master’s, and since then, she has dedicated her career to helping others become physically fit and healthy. In fact, she has over 40 years of aerobics instruction under her belt. She still teaches aerobics classes at the Raintree Athletic Club!

A dedicated donor

Sullivan has several reasons for deciding to give to CSU. “My degree from CSU has helped me live a healthy life and has allowed me to share aerobics with my community,” she said. “I have also been a donor to CSU for many years, and CSU has proven to me that they use my money well. With my planned gift, I hope I can continue to inspire health and exercise students to follow in my footsteps and make fitness a priority.”

Sullivan’s planned gift will support two areas — her existing scholarship in the department, the Jane K. Sullivan Scholarship, which is awarded annually to students studying Health and Exercise Science, and the Health and Exercise Science Department fund, which funds the greatest needs in the department.

Jane Sullivan stands with HES Department Head Dr. Barry Braun next to microscope room.
Jane Sullivan with Health and Exercise Science Department Head Barry Braun in front of the Microscope Room that she named in memory of her late husband.

In addition to the Jane K. Sullivan Scholarship in Health and Exercise Science, Sullivan also created a scholarship in the College of Liberal Arts to support dance education. Sullivan has always been a huge fan of the ballet and loves to infuse dance into her aerobics classes. Additionally, she has been a very generous supporter of the Human Performance and Clinical Research Lab (HPCRL).

The lab conducts innovative research in human health and function with a focus on expanding and preserving quality of life while preventing disease. Within the HPCRL, Sullivan named the Microscope Room in memory of her late husband, Doug Sullivan. Her interest in supporting the Microscope Room was fitting, in that as a child, she always loved to play with her microscope.

To this day, Sullivan remains very involved in the Fort Collins community. She supports many causes related to exercise, dance, the arts, and helping women achieve self-sufficiency. And, she remains a stalwart supporter of CSU, inspiring the next generation of students committed to health and fitness.

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.