Initiative Campaign

Ensuring Today's Students Have the Same Opportunities

Gerald and Margaret Sutton

Margaret and Gerald Sutton

Margaret and Gerald Sutton

When Gerry Sutton began his Commerce studies in 1945, he was a former RCAF pilot whose training had finished just as World War II was ending. Thanks to his veteran's benefits, his $150 annual tuition and $60-a-month living expenses were covered. "Rooming houses cost around $4 a week, and you could live on $1 a day for food," Gerry recalls. When he graduated in 1948, he and his Queen’s sweetheart, Margaret (Scally), Arts'48, celebrated their convocation by having Padre Laverty marry them in the Queen’s chapel that same afternoon.

Thanks to Gerry's veteran's allowance and Margaret’s Kingston Scholarship that covered all her tuition fees, the Suttons felt very fortunate to graduate debt-free. Now, 65 years later, they are concerned that today's students are graduating with debts that take years to repay, limiting their potential.

That’s one of the reasons they added the Sutton Awards in Business and the Sutton Scholarships for Higher Education to their other gifts to Queen’s that also include bursaries for students of all faculties and support for the building of Goodes Hall.

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Gerry believes his Com'48 and Master of Commerce'49 degrees were instrumental in his professional success in banking and as a venture capitalist and he wants to ensure that students continue to have the same opportunities he had. Having retired, he and Margaret now invest in charitable and not-for-profit organizations, and in the future of Queen's students – 112 of them since 2001.

"It's enormously gratifying to hear how these very accomplished young people are making great strides in their careers and in their lives," Gerry says. "In some cases, the awards were the deciding factor in enabling these students to attend Queen’s and benefit from many life-changing experiences."

"Our being able to help offset some of the financial burden seems to me to be a great investment in both Canada’s and their own futures."