If you asked him about, Brian Sullivan wouldn’t call himself a celebrity from Virginia Tech — at least not to the degree of Hoda Kotb, he would say, a fellow Hokie alum currently working at CNBC.
But 20 years after having left Blacksburg, Sullivan is now the co-anchor of the CNBC’s business news program “Street Signs,” — on-air Monday through Friday from 2-3 p.m. — following stints at Fox Business Network and Bloomberg Television.
Sullivan visited Tech last September per an invitation by the university to speak to a group of students, faculty and alumni at an event hosted by John Dooley, CEO of the Virginia Tech Foundation. It was his first chance to revisit his alma mater in 10 years. He found a moment in his busy schedule to talk with the Collegiate Times about his life, his time at Tech and what the life of a graduate can sometimes look like.
Not even a minute after our appointed time, Brian greets me at a cozy table near the bar at the Inn, where he’s staying for the weekend. He’s decked out in a traditional professional garb, but reassures me that I’m not too underdressed for our conversation.
“I was actually in THAT shirt about five minutes ago,” he says gesturing towards my plain black t-shirt.
As we get settled, he tells me about the scope of his return to Blacksburg.
“I’m speaking to finance folks, and I think there’s going to be some alum there, some university officials. And then tomorrow I’m going to a brunch at the President’s home at the Grove, and then going to the game that is hopefully going to be a better game than last week…a slightly different opponent, no disrespect to WCU,” he chuckles.
He’s bringing his dad with him for the game, the first that they’ll be attending together. We talk for a bit about the prospects of Tech football in the season ahead, with only the loss to Alabama under their belts at this point. He doesn’t seem fazed by the loss or daunted by recent seasons — when he was a freshman, Tech still had a losing record. Just watching Tech beat UVa. his sophomore year was a triumph all by itself, and fans now should be thankful for what they’ve been able to see.
“There was field storming — we stormed the field at home beating UVa. goal posts got ripped down,” he says. “That’s how far we’ve come.”
Brian graduated from Tech in December of 1993, and despite his tenure in business and journalism, he left with a degree in political science.
“I was political science…really I was a political science and history double major, my degree says ‘poli sci’, I had enough credits for history, and did some urban planning classes,” he says. “I loved it — I could have stayed for a lot longer because I found so many things interesting, but political science is the official degree.”