Jim Sheehan has been known as Lt. Col., even Santa, and as of the Flagler Beach City Commission meeting on Thursday, June 23, you can call him Dr. Sheehan.
President Barry Maloney and Vice President of University Advancement Tom McNamara, at Worcester State University in Massachusetts, flew into Orlando to attend a reception for Sheehan at the Flagler Beach Woman's Club on Thursday. The reception was followed by an official ceremony at the Flagler Beach City Commission meeting to present him with his honorary doctorate.
“The board of trustees approved it, and It's been official since May, but he wasn't able to come up to Worcester for the ceremony,” Maloney said. “This is the highest honor we can give from the university to any individual – and for Jim, it's his service.”
Sheehan was the recipient of a scholarship while he was in college, something unusual in the 1950s.
“He never forgot that help,” Maloney said. “Since he has become successful in his own right, he wanted to give back.”
McNamera said that 96% of the students at Worcester State University are from Massachusetts, and receiving even one scholarship can make a difference.
“My job, and Tom's job, is to open doors, dreams and pathways for students, and the best way to do that is to provide financial assistance. The cost of education is a really national issue, an issue we are all facing trying to figure out how to solve,” Maloney said. “We know at Worcester State, that if a student receives one scholarship during the four years, the chances of graduation jump by 30%. People like Jim open doors.”
The reception highlighted Sheehan's life, his military career, and his generosity in the form of scholarships and support of his alma mater. His late wife, Dorothy, organized the Woman's Club Scholarship fund, which Sheehan continues to support, and for the past several years he has generously provided scholarship monies for the AAUW.
“I found out this morning about this,” Sheehan said. “It seems kind of funny for me to be a doctor – but I'm taking it all!”