Getting ahead

Sue Lee

A UWL pre-college program that helps single parents from the community discover their academic and career potential will look back at its history on the eve of its 30th year. The Self-Sufficiency Program’s annual Locally Grown Scholarship Breakfast runs from 7:30-9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in The Bluffs, UWL Student Union. The program is free, but reservations are requested by Thursday, Oct. 12, at or 608.785.8733.

This year’s speaker at the event is Sue Lee who was a single-parent at UWL, both as an undergraduate and master’s degree student. Lee will be joined by her son, Adrian Sullivan, who will share his thoughts on the two-generational gifts of education.

Lee’s 1987 thesis research focused on student-parents at UWL and the planning for SSP was in full swing. Sandy Krajewski, professor emeritus in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, was one of Lee’s thesis advisers. Lee’s research built on a 1986 needs assessment of single-parent students by Sandra (Barrett) Castek, another graduate student-parent on campus. Their combined research contributed to the forming of the program’s goals and activities. With community partnerships and support, the Women’s Studies Program launched SSP in 1988.

About Sue (Sullivan) Lee ’82 & ’87

 “Going to college was always in my life plan. Being a single parent was not.”

In 1978, after serving in the U.S. Army, Lee enrolled at UWL as a single parent of a two-year-old son, Adrian Sullivan. In 1985, she returned to pursue a master’s degree and explore how colleges could best support single-parent students. Through focus group research, Lee learned from those directly impacted: UWL student parents.

“The parents were balancing overwhelming responsibilities,” Lee recalls. “They wanted support from other student parents, help in obtaining information, and a safe place to talk.” In 1987, 11-year-old Adrian accompanied his mother as she presented her thesis.

“Their theses did not stay on a bookshelf, but provided scholarly support and awareness for this town-and-gown project,” says Andrea Hansen, SSP director.


13th Annual SSP Locally-Grown Scholarship Breakfast

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017

7:30 –9 a.m.

Grandad Ballroom, Student Union

2017 Speakers: Sue (Sullivan) Lee & Adrian Sullivan

‘Growing Dreams & Degrees Together’

RSVP by Oct.12 to

or 608.785.8733

No cost to attend the breakfast; Free parking only in Level 3 of Parking Ramp or use pay stations at other lots