Supporting our schools: Never forget where you came from

June 26, 2015 Richard Sutherland

Giving back to the institutions that shape our future leaders is a duty and a privilege


On that sunny day in early December 1973 when I finished my last class at the University of Kentucky’s (UK) Civil Engineering Department, it didn’t cross my mind how much I would owe that institution for my professional career and quality of life. As the years passed and I matured, it became evident how much of a life-changing event getting my degree was, and just how much I appreciated the university that helped me to obtain my goal.

Ever since, I’ve been giving back to UK and encouraging my colleagues to do the same.  Stantec and UK’s Civil Engineering Department have had a long-term relationship that has been beneficial to both parties. Stantec employees have earned more than 130 degrees from the institution, 80 of them from UK’s College of Engineering.  Many of the professionals that are working for us in Lexington started out as student interns who actually apprenticed with Stantec while completing degree requirements. 

So, when Stantec was asked to participate in the recent fund-raising efforts to renovate the teaching laboratories in the Civil Engineering Department, we jumped at the chance. My colleague April Vance I joined the Capital Campaign Committee to reach out to potential donors. We also, of course, looked inward. The number of Stantec staff that offered to donate to the cause was impressive, I am so proud to part of this organization. Our final donation total of $120,000 came from both employees and corporate contributions. Stantec plans to remain a strong supporter of the university that provides us with the skilled staff to be who we are.


Dr. Reginald Souleyrette (Chair, Dept of Civil Engineering, UK), David Sigler (Stantec), Richard Sutherland (Stantec), Scott Murray (Stantec), Dr. John Walz (Dean, College of Engineering, UK), April Vance (Stantec), Dr. George Blandford (Professor and Civil Engineering Development Director, UK)


Being able to give back a little bit through the fund-raising effort was a real joy. I was proud to stand there with my fellow Stantec professionals to present UK with that check for $120,000. I kept a copy of the extra-large ceremonial check and display it in my office proudly, where I’m reminded every day of UK and its role in my life.

I can’t stress the importance of giving back to institutions that help shape the future generation of the architecture, engineering, and construction profession. These careers are setting the tone for what our cities and communities look and feel like, and A/E/C professionals are ensuring today that infrastructure and resources are protected and enhanced for tomorrow’s generations. It’s our obligation as leaders in our field to not only give back to our communities (which we do every day) but wholly support the very educational environments that shape the young minds that will protect us and our world tomorrow.

Go Cats!

About the Author

Richard Sutherland

Richard Sutherland is a senior principal in the transportation team based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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