For the better part of four decades, Professor Emeritus John "Jack" Sutton has given back to the University of Southern Maine. His primary goal is to give with the express purpose of benefiting students. "I really think that giving of yourself; being there for others, defines who we are," he says.
A professor of counselor education for 26 years before his retirement from the School of Education and Human Development, Jack, along with his late wife, Annie, established the John M. and Annie T. Sutton Scholarship. Given annually to a graduate student enrolled in the counselor education program, the scholarship is awarded to a student who demonstrates promise as a leader in the profession of counseling as well as proven academic achievement.
"I delight in having a relationship with students that have received the scholarship; they're extremely grateful and it's extraordinarily rewarding for me to observe their achievement," he says. "Beyond these tangible feelings, I think one aspect of giving that we don't often think about is the intangible reward inherent in the very process of giving. In the words of Winston Churchill, ‘we make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.'"
Most often it is "giving in other ways" that John says can have an immeasurable impact. "Giving is not just financial. Giving may be creative, social, personal as well as financial. Giving to your family, your friends and your community; truly giving of yourself, in other ways, becomes more important."
For the Love of Students
Jack not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. He continues to impact the lives of USM students and contributes in many ways to the School of Education and Human Development. Each summer Sutton rolls up his sleeves to teach one of the more demanding counseling courses that the department offers: Psychological Measurement and Evaluation.
"Since retiring in 2004 from full time teaching, I have found teaching one course a year to be a different experience than when I was involved in full-time, day-to-day activity," Jack says. "Without the myriad of responsibilities of a full-time faculty member, I find I have more time to focus on the course itself, and more importantly, I can be more attentive to the students I am teaching. Teaching has become less complicated, and more enjoyable."
It's the students that are most important to Jack. He says they are the future of the academic program and the future of the profession. "Many of our former students are now leaders in the counseling profession," he says. "Some have gone on to attain a Ph.D. and have become leaders at other universities, and others have distinguished themselves as national and state leaders. In teaching, there is learning and we never know the influence that process has on any individual, including the teacher. That's what I love about teaching."
Known for his generosity in giving back to the students and supporting fellow faculty, Jack works for the greater good of the USM community. He volunteers his time serving on the School of Education and Human Development advisory council; working diligently to serve the needs of the school. He serves on the scholarship subcommittee tasked with raising money for much-needed scholarships and he was on the search committee for the College of Management and Human Service; a new college created in 2010-2011.
Extending His Support
As a member of the USM Benefactor Society, Jack has also assured his long-term commitment to students with a bequest in his estate plans.
By giving back to students and to USM, Jack says he gets so much more in return. "I enjoy assisting students in the process of understanding themselves-their goals and aspirations-and in helping them to become more giving in their own communities. And I want to see USM flourish. It's an essential part of the southern Maine community and the university deserves the strong support of that community.
"I think the most important message is that giving is not necessarily financial; it's about giving of yourself. How many ways can we give of self to others? It's what I'd like to continue to enhance in my life; helping people see the different ways in which they give to others, as giving is a privilege."
Learn How You Can Help
If you would like to help more students receive a USM education, consider making a planned gift through your estate. There are many ways to give and many gifts can benefit you as well. Contact Erin Macey at (207) 780-4408 or firstname.lastname@example.org today, to learn more.
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