2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

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Introducing Donald Sutton: Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations

Donald Sutton is the newly appointed Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at TC. Prior to coming here, his most recent position was with the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, where he was managing director for development and public affairs. His work at Restoration involved press, public and media relations for the nation's oldest community development corporation. The corporation owns the first urban Pathmark supermarket, currently the 15th largest minority-owned business in the region, and operates a 300,000 square foot commercial shopping center and office complex. He supervised fundraising for Restoration's service programs, including Brooklyn's only professional resident theater company, a dance company, a gallery, youth development projects and a technology education lab.

Prior to his work at Restoration, Sutton's involvement in development and management included a wide range of educational and artistic urban projects. He was director of development for the establishment of the Detroit Museum of African American Culture and History, the largest of its kind in the world. He spent nine years as assistant vice president and vice president of economic development for the New York State Urban Development Corporation. With the Urban Development Corporation, he worked on the 42nd Street Redevelopment Project, handling primarily the cultural facilities. "I also supervised the renovation of the Apollo Theatre and the National Black Theatre," Sutton noted.

For a time, Sutton was a personal manager to performers such as Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Savion Glover, Teddy Predergas, and Ntozake Shange, and worked independently with major networks and entertainment companies. He has a double bachelor's degree in history and drama from Elmhurst College, a master's in fine arts in stage directing from Catholic University, and an MBA in marketing and operations management from Fordham University. Additionally, Sutton has a broad background in working with performing arts companies and was executive director and vice president of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company.

"I have been involved in educational issues in many of these assignments," Sutton noted. "I took the Ailey Dance Center through the accreditation process to make it a college. I did the same with the Dance Theatre of Harlem." Sutton also worked to raise money for technology education and collaborated with the Institute for Learning Technologies at TC, which consulted on the design and direction of Restoration's facility.

"People are starting to conclude that what we accomplish in education will determine how this country goes," Sutton said, when asked why Teachers College interested him. "We can achieve participatory democracy, and education will be the key. I find that very attractive."

Sutton is originally from New Orleans, and, as the son of a military man, traveled at age five with his family to Germany. Though he lived in Europe and Chicago throughout his youth, he has spent most of his adult life living on the upper west side of Manhattan. He recently moved to Monroe, New Jersey, with his wife, Donna, who works in the alumni relations office at New York University.

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