Student Spotlight: Greg Sutherland

Greg Sutherland

Greg Sutherland

Major: Philosophy

It was Greg Sutherland's father, Mark, an Earth Science professor at College of DuPage, who introduced him to philosophy.

“My father took an ethics course and an introduction to philosophy course. He typed study guides after reading and, one evening, I helped him,” Sutherland said. “He and I discussed existentialism. The writings intrigued me. The interest was subtle, but my high school Honors English teacher encouraged our class to contemplate and read, and my interests became clearer.

“I formally began studying philosophy in Professor (Kent) Richter's Honors Introduction to Philosophy course at College of DuPage three days after I graduated from high school. I found passion in my studies. My decision was easy and hardly felt like such a thing.”  

During his time at College of DuPage, Sutherland was president of the Philosophy Club, was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Honors Scholars Program, and served as the Coordinator of Outreach for the Student Leadership Council. He was the driving force behind the SLC’s Commitment to Action for the Clinton Global Initiative University, the first such initiative successfully developed by a community college group.

He also was named one of the two Outstanding Graduates in 2010.

“My professors, field studies, and student clubs and organizations at College of DuPage provided deep, transformational learning experiences,” he said.

Sutherland attended the University of Rochester, where he switched majors from philosophy to Russian Studies. He then spent the summer at Saint Petersburg State University studying Russian and in the fall was admitted to the University of Rochester’s Take Five Scholars Program, for which he personally designed a program in order to study the history of Jewish literature and philosophy.

He applied for and passed the first national review process for a Fulbright to teach in Kazakhstan but pulled his application in order to continue Russian language study through Take Five. He also was invited to join and became a member of St. Anthony Hall, a secretive college literary society at elite colleges in the U.S., for which he served as president of the Iota Chapter. During the summer of 2012, he studied Russian at the Bryn Mawr Russian Language Institute, a U.S. Flagship Program.

In fall 2013, he transferred to Duke University and begin his graduate studies in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies as part of a FLAS Fellowship. However, due to a cut in funding, he has left Duke and now works at Heartland Alliance in Refugee and Immigrant Community Services.

“I help refugees, asylees and survivors of torture and human trafficking resettle in Chicago,” he said. “I provide life skill development services, conduct mental health intakes, strength-based assessments, and offer supportive and employment services to Heartland participants enrolled in the Early Employment program, which I currently manage.”

He plans to study Arabic at the University of Chicago in September to further his professional development.

“William Saroyan wrote a great play on this theme, that purity of heart is the one success worth having. ‘In the time of your life – live! That time is short and it doesn’t return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition.’”

More about the Philosophy program