Relatives of founding faculty of Queen Mary’s College visit campus

The act of remembering goes well past one’s lived memory.

This is what Queen Mary’s College witnessed with the visit of the Sullivan sisters, Prof. Oriel Anna Sullivan-Alon and her sister Ms. Jocelyn Mary Smith on June 1. 

Both Oriel and Jocelyn were guests of the state, visiting in connection with the bicentenary of Ooty, as they are the fifth generation of the descendants of John Sullivan, who has gone down in history as the ‘architect of modern Ooty’. 

The connection to Sullivan, is on the paternal side. On the maternal side, they bear a connection to Queen Mary’s College, as their grandmother, Georgina McCormick, was one of the founding faculty of the college, having come over in 1915, with Dorothy Delahey, the founder principal of Queen Mary’s College. 

Georgina taught logic during her tenure in the college from 1917 to 1921. She left the college in 1921 to marry Henry Bathhurst, an officer of the Malayan Civil Services, whom she had met while she was teaching at Queen Mary’s.  

Prof. Oriel gifted the college a photograph of Georgina McCormick dressed a South Indian bride.

At that campus reception led by the college principal, Prof. Oriel read from the letter where Georgina had shared that the ‘Hindu section’ of the college had organised a farewell for her, in which they had staged a Thamizh play for her and also dressed her up as a bride as she was leaving the college to get married ( photo below). 

Prof. Oriel and Jocelyn were delighted with the small and cozy event ‘Remembering Georgina McCormick’ organised by the principal, Dr. B. Uma Maheswari. 

Oriel later texted, ‘The QMC visit was one of the great memories of our trip!’

– By Preethi Srinivasan, who is a QMC faculty member.