The importance of education | John Suthers

Mayor John Suthers knows firsthand the value of receiving a scholarship, and how they can change your life trajectory.

When John was deciding where to attend college, his top choice was Notre Dame but university costs forced him to look to less expensive schools or those he had scholarships for.

“I was a pretty good student and had some ambitions to go to very good colleges and simply couldn’t afford it,” said John.

Though it wasn’t his dream school, John was offered a scholarship to University of Santa Clara and was most likely planning to attend there, but held out hope for Notre Dame.

“A month before I had to make a decision, I had not received a scholarship at the University of Notre Dame, which is where I really wanted to go,” explained John. “Then my mother was talking to an old friend of my father from World War II who lived in Detroit and worked as a dentist. He had a patient who had a foundation giving college scholarships, including Notre Dame, so I got an application and sent it. Two days before I had to decide on a school, I got a scholarship that paid for my first year at the University of Notre Dame.”

That first-year scholarship paved the way for more, as John went on to meet with the scholarship committee at Notre Dame during his fall semester and received a full ride for the rest of his schooling, provided he stayed on the Dean’s List. After graduating with his undergraduate in Government studies, he attended CU law school, also on scholarship.

Now, John is doing his part to give back and help students by being the same type of generous donor that helped him get to where he is today.

“As a person who, as a result of the philanthropy of others, was able to get an outstanding education that led to the career that I’ve had, I feel very strongly about scholarship programs and the life-changing opportunities that they afford,” John said.

That career includes a run as the 37th Attorney General of Colorado, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, District Attorney for the 4th Judicial District of Colorado and two terms as Colorado Springs Mayor.

John’s dedication to the city is obvious not only from his terms in office, but also from his choice to support higher education within the community.

“UCCS is an institution where a lot of people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to go to college can go to college if they get some assistance, whether it be working through school or scholarships,” said John.

John’s philanthropy with UCCS started almost a decade ago, when he was a scholar in residence at UCCS teaching criminal justice courses and was approached about starting a scholarship fund.

His fund is the John Suthers Scholarship Endowment, a need-based scholarship for junior and senior undergraduate students majoring in Criminal Justice.

“I was approached with the idea of starting an endowed scholarship and was asked to help kick it off,” John said. “We quickly raised support and we’ve been working on it ever since.”

The Suthers fund was established in 2014 and has helped many students since then.

“College can be a big difference maker,” said John. “It was for me, in terms of giving yourself a tremendous benefit for the rest of your life. It leads you to a lifelong appreciation of learning. Hopefully, if my scholarship helps them earn that degree, they’ll have that kind of desire for lifelong learning and will give back to their community.”

Interested in contributing to the John Suthers scholarship fund? Donate here.

About the UCCS College of Public Service

The UCCS College of Public Service is one of the premier schools of public administration in the Rocky Mountain West. Its relevant and flexible programs prepare students for leadership in the public and nonprofit sectors, including criminal justice and social work. The College of Public Service offers both traditional and accelerated undergraduate and graduate programs, with options to earn dual degrees and graduate certificates. Learn more about the College of Public Service at UCCS.