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RDC recognizes Don & Michelle Sutherland’s long-time support

Date posted: 
Tue, 03/03/2020
Family, friends and coworkers surround the Sutherlands to celebrate the unveiling of the newly named Don & Michelle Sutherland Arts Centre Foyer at RDC

Members of the Red Deer College community recently gathered to celebrate a donation from longtime supporters, the Sutherlands, along with their friends and family. The celebration was held in the newly named Don & Michelle Sutherland Arts Centre Foyer.

This foyer is a gathering space at the entrance of the RDC Arts Centre, which is used for a variety of events, such as receptions for high profile events in the Main Stage Auditorium. Over the years, these have included a number of annual student recognition events, including Athletics Awards Night, and the Nursing Pinning Ceremony.

“This gathering space is a place for connecting, reflecting and building relationships, so it’s a fitting place to recognize Don and Michelle Sutherland’s continued support for Red Deer College, and our lasting friendship,” said RDC President, Dr. Peter Nunoda.

Don was a member of the Shaping Our Future Campaign Cabinet and used his deep ties to central Alberta as a positive influence for many others to come forward in support of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Don’s long career in the energy sector and as a successful business owner have helped shape his support for RDC. He wanted to share his belief that employers can help determine the quality of graduates in the employee pool by supporting educators and access to post-secondary opportunities. 

Don is an RDC alumnus who completed the Electrician Apprentice program in 1987 and returned in 1994 to complete his Master Electrician. In 1995, he and a partner founded Studon Electric & Controls, a company that grew from humble beginnings into one of Red Deer's largest electrical contractors. Don always supported professional development and skills training in his employees during Studon's growth, and many of the courses were taken at RDC.

The Sutherlands’ decades of financial support have contributed to a wide variety of needs across the College. The list includes Trades Scholarships, the Athletics Leadership Fund, Donald School of Business programming and, most recently, the Shaping our Future Campaign.

“The College has been a big part of our lives since my youth – exploring the grounds as a kid, playing in the Kevin Sirois Gym, getting my Electrical ticket and Masters here – and then it continued on with both of our sons who attended here,” said Don. “Michelle was a member of the Red Deer Youth Orchestra and we were able to watch her play violin in the Arts Centre – plus we’ve been to a lot of other great events here. Red Deer College, and this place (Arts Centre), are very near and dear to our hearts.”

“We want to thank the College for the opportunity to name this beautiful foyer,” said Don. “We’re very humbled. One thing about charitable giving, and about volunteering, is that, in order to do it, you need to have success. There’s absolutely no way that we could have given back to the community in these ways without my incredible team at Studon, and our families who have supported us over the years, with all of the stresses of having a business. It means a lot to have so many of you here.”

For Red Deer College, their relationship to the Sutherlands exemplifies this spirit of gratitude and community-mindedness.

“As an alumnus of RDC, Don’s impressive career and inspiring work in our community contribute to our reputation. His generous gifts of time, to both our work and the work of other organizations, demonstrate the type of community leader we hope our learners will become,” says RDC President, Dr. Peter Nunoda. “And the ongoing support from both Don and Michelle, their advice, dedication and support, are key to our continued success as Red Deer University. We’re very proud to recognize their generous gift with this naming.”

Photo: Family, friends and coworkers surround the Sutherlands to celebrate the unveiling of the newly named Don & Michelle Sutherland Arts Centre Foyer at RDC.


For additional information contact:

Brent Forster
Communications Strategist – Corporate

Shelley Newman    
Communications Strategist – Corporate