Papers of Thomas M. Sutherland
Scope and Contents
Papers of Thomas M. Sutherland consists of documents dated 1962 to 2001. Topics concern Sutherland's research on and course materials for animal breeding and genetics, his time as a hostage in Lebanon and his return, speaking engagements, his book with his wife Jean, At Your Own Risk, and Sutherland family activities. Materials include cards, letters, and other ephemera sent by well-wishers, teaching materials, course notes, speeches, correspondence, awards, home movie films, reel-to-reel audio tapes, photographs, a slide projector, and a film projector. Many boxes of Sutherland's professional activities are labeled with date ranges but otherwise undescribed.
- Thomas M. Sutherland (Person)
Restrictions on Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, the collection is stored off-site so advance notice is required.
Restrictions on Use
Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.
Thomas McNee Sutherland (1931-2016) was a philanthropist and Emeritus Professor of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University (CSU). His 1985 capture and imprisonment in Lebanon and 1991 release resulted in international prominence.
Born on May 3, 1931, in Falkirk, Scotland, Sutherland earned a B.Sc. in Agriculture from Glasgow University in 1953. He moved to the U.S. and attended graduate school at Iowa State University, earning M.S (1956) and Ph.D. (1958) degrees in Animal Science. Tom Sutherland married Jean Ann Murray in 1958 in Ames, Iowa. They had three daughters: Kit, Joan, and Ann.
After graduation, Colorado State University hired Sutherland as Professor of Animal Sciences, and he researched feed efficiency and taught reproductive physiology at CSU for 26 years. A respected teacher, he received the American Society of Animal Science Distinguished Techer Award in 1975 and CSU's Harris T. Guard Distinguished Service Award for Teaching in 1976. He also focused on international development, serving as the Director of Training at the International Livestock Center for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the late 1970s.
In 1983, Sutherland took leave from CSU to serve as the Dean of Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. The country was enmeshed in civil war, and Sutherland was kidnapped June 9, 1985, by gunmen with Islamic Jihad, a Shiite militia with ties to Iran. After being held hostage for 2,353 days, he was released November 18, 1991.
Upon his release, Fort Collins celebrated Sutherland's return. He spent his later years as a public speaker advocating for peace and the ability of agriculture to relieve world hunger. In 1996, he and his wife Jean coauthored At Your Own Risk: An American Chronicle of Crisis and Captivity in the Middle East, which detailed the couple's experiences during the hostage ordeal. In 2014, CSU awarded Sutherland the CSU Founders Day Medal for his service to the university and, more broadly, to higher education worldwide.
Tom and Jean Sutherland established the Sutherland Family Foundation to support Fort Collins nonprofits with settlement money they received from a lawsuit against Iran for its involvement in the hostage situation. Sutherland died July 22, 2016.
50 linear feet (28 record cartons, 4 oversize boxes, 4 flat items, and one film projector)
Language of Materials
Dr. Thomas McNee Sutherland (1931-2016) was a philanthropist and Emeritus Professor of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University (CSU). His 1985 capture and imprisonment in Lebanon and 1991 release resulted in international prominence. His collection covers topics such as Sutherland's research on and course materials for animal breeding and genetics, his time as a hostage in Lebanon and his return, speaking engagements, his book with his wife Jean, At Your Own Risk, and Sutherland family activities. Materials include cards, letters, and other ephemera sent by well-wishers, teaching materials, course notes, speeches, correspondence, awards, home movie films, reel-to-reel audio tapes, photographs, a slide projector, and a film projector.
The collection is arranged as found and consists of 32 boxes, 4 flat items, and one unboxed film projector.
Papers of Thomas M. Sutherland was donated by Jean M. Sutherland in 2018.
Some materials have been digitized and are available through the Colorado State University Libraries website. In the electronic version of this document, direct links appear in context.
The collection is unprocessed. Materials affected by mold were identified and isolated. Audiovisual materials were sorted, and all films were digitized in Fall 2020.
- Guide to the Papers of Thomas M. Sutherland
- Edited Full Draft
- Prepared by Clarissa J. Trapp
- Copyright 2021
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository
Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA