COLORADO SPRINGS. John Suthers, current mayor of Colorado Springs and 1970 graduate of St. Mary’s High School, has earned many prestigious titles during his career. Next month, he adds to that list when he receives the Marian Award during a special Mass with Bishop Michael Sheridan at St. Mary’s High School on Nov. 1.
Each year members of the St. Mary’s community nominate individuals deserving of the Marian Award. The award, which has been given annually since 2001, is presented by the St. Mary’s High School Board of Directors in recognition of unselfish service to others and outstanding contributions to the community.
Mass will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the St. Mary’s gym. The Marian Award will presented immediately after Mass, followed by a reception for invited guests, Members of the St. Mary’s family and the greater Colorado Springs community are invited to attend the Mass and award presentation. Suthers was nominated for his many accomplishments for Colorado and our country.
St. Mary’s math teacher Mike Kloenne has worked with Suthers on St. Mary’s events like the recent Red Rose Run. During Suthers’ time as mayor, Kloenne said he has watched Suthers build a great team, formulate strategy, and persevere through roadblocks to a successful end.
“Since John’s ascent to mayor, I have noticed what a great leader and unifier he has been for our city,” Kloenne said. “There is no doubt the biggest impact Mayor Suthers has on our community is through his thoughtful, faith-based leadership. Beyond his superb leadership, I see Mayor Suthers as a great unifier and peacemaker. Nobody leads by example better than Mayor Suthers.”
Suthers has been open about his belief in Catholic education and his support of St. Mary’s High School. At St. Mary’s 2016 Gala in April, Suthers said the foundation he received at St. Mary’s has been tremendously valuable in assisting him in the decisionmaking roles he has held, including mayor and Colorado Attorney General. He said his faith and his St. Mary’s education helped him develop the values that have led to good decisions throughout his life and career.
“Given the cultural shifts we have seen in our country, religious education is more important than ever,” Suthers said. “That’s why our Catholic grade schools and St. Mary’s are so needed in our community. When we begin teaching our children habits of the heart early on, these become a matter of reflection. They learn early to think about how to conduct their lives.”
Before becoming mayor of Colorado Springs, Suthers served as the Attorney General of Colorado for 10 years and before that was the U.S. Attorney for Colorado and Fourth Judicial District Attorney. After graduating from St. Mary’s High School, he attended the University of Notre Dame graduating in 1974 and then went on to obtain his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1977.
Given Suthers’ accomplishments and his appreciation of Catholic education, Kloenne said this year seemed to be the perfect year to honor Suthers’ leadership and support of St. Mary’s.
“From obscure beginnings, he has gone on to do great things and is an outstanding role model for our students,” Kloenne said. “He epitomizes what I hope all of our students can aspire to achieve with their lives.”
Past Marian Award Winners have included:
Leo Smentowski ‘54, 2001
Father Rawley Myers, 2002
Andrew Middlemist, 2003
Leonard L. Buresh, 2004
Betty Elliott Faricy ‘70, 2005
John D. McCord, 2006
Bambi Venetucci, 2007
Don Mersman ‘71, 2008
Thomas S. Kelly, 2009
Bishop Emeritus Richard C. Hanifen, 2010
Chuck Murphy ’54, 2011
Leroy Hoelting, 2012
Father Bill Carmody, 2013
Jack and Bernadette Johnston, 2014
Nick and Margaret Colarelli, 2015
(Amy G. Partain is communications associate for St. Mary’s High School.)