Oregon Man Creates History As He Graduates Four Year College

Ann Donaca-Sullivan and Cody Sullivan

Portland, Oregon- Cody Sullivan is the first known college student with down syndrome to complete four years of higher education in Oregon. He graduated this year with a Certificate of Acheivment in the College of Education and he already has a job as a Kindergarten Teacher’s Assistant at Kairos PDX!

Listen to the full eye opening interview:

(College Graduate, Cody Sullivan, visits the KXL studios in Portland)

He walked Saturday morning in Concordia University-Portland’s 10 a.m. Spring Commencement, celebrating at his graduation party around 3 p.m with over one hundred guests in attendence.

Ann Donaca Sullivan(Mother), Cody Sullivan, Angela Vossenkuhl(Director of Undergradtuate Studies in the College of Education)

Of 265 colleges in the U.S. only 76 offer a modified or accommodating degree for those with learning disabilities.

Cody was highly involved in his student life.  He particpated in sports such as wrestling and baseball, he took Math, Crisis Management, and Children’s Literature.  He even performed in Handel’s Messiah during his Freshman and Sophomore years, something he says was one of the biggest challenges he faced at the University.  He also has many friends, of which he is sad as some go their seperate ways after Graduation.

Working with Think College Oregon, Sullivan intends to be an advocate for those that have been perceived as disadvantaged.

He works with many organizations including but not limited to Northwest Disability Support and a program called Bike First where he assists others in learning how to ride a bike.  Specialized bikes are brought from California with the goal of the week long course, to get those with disabilities, and those without, riding a normal two wheeled bike by themselves.

His very proud Mother, Ann Donaca-Sullivan, says BOTH Cody AND his classmates have benefitted from a lifetime of inclusive schooling, when in many instances people just like Cody are kept away from normal instruction or activities with the rest of the kids.

Now that he’s made history as the first person with down syndrome to finish four years of college in Oregon, he has that new dream gig working with children at Kairos PDX Charter School.  And, he will continue working with Think College Oregon removing barriers for those once thought unable to attend a 4 year University.


#StayConnected as heard on Portland’s Morning News with Steve and Rebecca from 5am-9am on FM News 101.


Photos furnished by Ann Donaca-Sullivan



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