Donna (Underwood) Sullivan
Donna (Underwood) Sullivan
Title: Class of 2015
Organization: Field Hockey and Softball

A two-sport standout, Donna (Underwood) Sullivan left her mark on both the WPI field hockey and softball programs.

She was a starter for a quartet of NCAA tournament teams and went on to help a softball team finish in the top half of the conference three of four years, including a NEW 8 tournament crown in 1991 and regular season title in 1993.

Leading up to the NCAA tournaments each fall, the field hockey team, with Donna in the midfield, went 23-1 in NEW 8 regular season games and posted a pair of undefeated seasons heading into NCAA action. That era also saw the Engineers capture three regular season crowns and three NEW 8 tournament trophies. The 1989 NEW 8 champions defeated Southern Maine 4-0 on Alumni Field before bowing out to eventual third-place finisher SUNY Cortland. Three years later, the Engineers drew the eventual national champion William Smith in the opening round.

“Donna was the nucleus of the team at the link position, playing both offense and defense,” recalls Hall of Fame teammate Sue Tarallo.  “Her infinite energy and sure-stick, on many occasion, prevented opponents from scoring and gave us opportunities to capitalize on some big defensive plays.” 

After finishing last in the NEW 8 in 1990, the Crimson and Gray softball team won the conference tournament a year later as the No. 2 seed. The Engineers remained in the top half of the league in 1992 before securing the regular season title in 1993. The 1993 season saw the program’s first wins over Wheaton and city-foe Worcester State.

“Donna helped turn around the softball program,” remembers former field hockey and softball coach Judy Soderlund. “She worked just as hard at it as she did at field hockey and academics.  She was a great outfielder, and fantastic baserunner, and, was versatile enough to play any position in the infield.  Donna's never-give-up attitude helped turn around a losing program in two years to winning the conference title her junior year and continued the winning program into her senior year.” 

Individually, the 1992 field hockey captain was a NEW 8 All-Conference honoree, a Collegiate Field Hockey Coaches Association All-Region and a CFHCA Senior All-Star Game selection. She was also lauded for her work inside the classroom by the coaches’ organization in 1990, 1991 and 1992. Within the department, she claimed the Coaches Award, presented to the outstanding female athlete in the freshman class.

Originally from Uxbridge, Donna currently works as a lead mechanical design engineer in the Consumer Electronics Division of Bose Corporation in Framingham.  She resides in Brimfield with husband Steven Sullivan, WPI Class of 1992.

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