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In Memoriam: Life Trustee Allan D. Sutton ’55 BA (PSc)

June 29, 2023

SU News

Perhaps it was the critical thinking required of students in the College of Arts and Sciences/Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, or the thoughtful way in which Allan Sutton ’55 parlayed an undergraduate degree in political science into a purpose-driven career in asset and wealth management, at one point managing the assets of the DuPont family.

Allan Sutton
Allan Sutton

Motivated by a deep belief in the power of the humanities, Sutton demonstrated how wealth could be used to benefit society in diverse and creative ways. Through his generosity to Syracuse University, he had a profound impact on the reputation of the Department of Philosophy and advanced the careers of some of the nation’s brightest philosophy scholars.

Sutton passed away on May 31, 2023, in his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California, at the age of 90.

A graduate of the New York City public schools, Sutton received a bachelor’s degree from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and served in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer. Sutton began his career at the investment firm of Francis I. du Pont & Co. and worked for more than 40 years in the financial services industry. He worked at the firms of Gartman, Rose and Feuer and Percy Friedlander & Company; was a partner at David J. Greene & Company, responsible for much of Greene & Co’s institutional business and held the title of partner in charge of advisory accounts; and a partner at Neuberger Berman. Sutton served as a member of the advisory board of Ameritech as well as being an advisor on many other pension plans.

He served his alma mater in multiple ways. Sutton was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 1990 and was a voting trustee until 2013, and was chair of the Board’s Endowment Committee. He served on the Executive Committee of the $300 million Commitment to Learning Campaign and helping to establish the Metropolitan New York Advisory Board, which he later chaired.

Together with his  wife, Anita ’60, an alumna of the College of Arts and Sciences, Sutton established the Anita and Allan D. Sutton Endowed Distinguished Chair in Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences. Ben Bradley, a prominent philosophy scholar who was named the inaugural chair in 2014, commented that the Suttons’ philanthropy served “as a reminder that the humanities are not only a critical piece of a solid liberal arts education, but more importantly a central part of society.”

The Suttons also funded a three-year postdoctoral fellowship that involved the Distinguished Faculty Fellow teaching two courses per year. Sutton Faculty Fellows have gone on to prominent careers in the field, teaching at universities like Georgetown, Yeshiva, Yale, Michigan and elsewhere.

The Suttons also established the Richard H. Mazer Memorial Fund to support LightWork and generously supported other initiatives in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Law, the Maxwell School, Syracuse University Athletics and the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center.

Sutton served on numerous arts and business boards, including those of the U.S. Association for International Migration, the Association of Ameritech, the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

He is survived by his wife and their children, Nancy Sutton Finley and Peggy Lynn Sutton ’90 (S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications) and three grandchildren, including grandson Zachary Sutton Finley G’17 (Maxwell School).

Published in the Fall 2023 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

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