Investing in the future | Janet Suthers

“I’m here to tell you you’re not alone, that it can be done, and we’re here to help.”

These are the words of Janet Suthers, First Lady of Colorado Springs, UCCS alumna and generous philanthropist. Janet has been a pillar of the Colorado Springs community for many years and knows the determination it takes to complete a degree, having completed her bachelor’s at CU Boulder and then an MBA at UCCS, the latter of which she accomplished while also working full time and raising her two daughters with her husband, John Suthers. Now, she’s committed to helping the students of today earn theirs.

“About halfway through my career, it became evident to me that the world was changing, particularly the high-tech world, and to remain competitive in the workforce, I would need to get an MBA,” Janet explained. “I needed a good MBA and I needed it to be close by. UCCS was clearly the favorite choice of my employer, Hewlett Packard (HP), and it was wonderful for me because they had a robust educational assistance program. It was four very challenging years managing family, work and school but my family was very supportive and I believe I did a pretty good job of balancing all the needs.”

About a decade after earning her MBA, Janet reconnected with the university at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon. There, she met Chancellor Venkat Reddy, who was the College of Business (COB) Dean at the time. Reddy asked Janet to join a COB Alumni Board, which she accepted. Janet then started helping with various endeavours and connecting with members of other university boards.

“I had been recruited by a friend who was on the board of the Karen Possehl Women’s Endowment (KPWE) that had just gotten started, and she invited me to the luncheon one year and I was really impressed with the program,” Janet recalled. “What I liked about it was the mentoring and childcare aspects that went with the scholarships. It’s one thing to give somebody $5,000, but the women involved needed more support than that. There was a real need for childcare to make this degree manageable and a real need for emotional support.”

After that, Janet became heavily involved with UCCS, including establishing the Janet Suthers Second Chance Scholarship, which is a subset of KPWE. The Second Chance Scholarship supports women pursuing a degree in business, nursing or engineering.

“These are all jobs where you can get immediate employment,” Janet said. “It was very important to me that women achieve economic self-sufficiency as quickly as possible. Life is tough under the best of circumstances, and economic self-sufficiency goes a long way towards solving a lot of problems.”

Janet has many reasons for giving back, one of which stems from childhood. At a young age, her parents showed the importance of giving back and supporting your community.

“Part of my childhood values and education were that you should volunteer and give back to your community and the organizations that you care about,” Janet said. “It was role modeled for me by both my parents and became a big interest of mine as an adult.”

Another reason Janet is passionate about philanthropy is her own gratitude.

“Part of my interest in supporting UCCS was to show my gratitude to the college that offered me a skill set that I needed,” said Janet.

Janet also wants to ensure the campus remains a strong member of the community.

“It’s my hope that UCCS continues to be a leader in the community’s economic development,” she said. “I strongly feel that UCCS is a valuable partner in terms of innovation and leading technologies that will help the business community in Colorado Springs.”

Janet has been a visible and celebrated community member and keeps her focus on making sure students have the support they need through scholarships.

“I am happy to be part of the solution to removing the financial barriers that students face.”

Interested in contributing to the Karen Possehl Women’s Endowment? Donate here.

About the KPWE Scholarship

The KPWE scholarship established in 1998 by Karen and Jim Possehl, provides financial assistance and mentor support for nontraditional UCCS students who are starting or returning to college after having overcome significant personal adversity. In addition to providing tuition assistance, KPWE matches scholars with community mentors who offer encouragement and professional contacts. The program provides career-focused workshops giving students the chance to gain skills outside of the classroom. Since the program’s inception, more than 200 KPWE scholars have graduated from UCCS. For more information on the KPWE Scholarship program, visit

About the UCCS College of Business

The College of Business was established in 1965 and has more than 1,300 undergraduates and 350 MBA students. The College of Business and Administration awards the Bachelor of Science in Business and Bachelor of Innovation degrees. The Graduate School of Business Administration awards the Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Accounting and Executive Doctor of Business Administration degrees. More than 10,000 alumni of the College of Business live and work around the world. Learn more about the College of Business at UCCS.