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Thomas Sutherland

Academy of Achievement

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Thomas Sutherland
Thomas Sutherland

Thomas Sutherland

Academy of Achievement

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In 1985, Thomas Sutherland was serving as Dean of Agriculture at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon. Four months into his term, he was pulled from his car at gunpoint and taken from the life he knew into a six-and-a-half-year hell of chains, beatings, isolation, cold, darkness and despair. Born in Falkirk, Scotland, he graduated from Glasgow University and moved to the United States in the 1950s, earning a Ph.D. in animal breeding from Iowa State University. He taught animal science at Colorado State University for 26 years before accepting a three-year appointment in Beirut. Although American University (AUB) colleagues had already been assassinated and kidnapped by members of the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad movement, Sutherland was committed to his work and remained in Beirut while others were fleeing the war-torn city. His kidnappers, who may have mistaken him for the university's president, moved him from place to place, chained and blindfolded, holding him in mosquito- and cockroach-infested cellars. He was often forbidden to speak to fellow captives and was repeatedly beaten on his feet, thighs and back with a rubber hose. Despite the horrific experience he endured, when he was finally released in 1991, he returned to the United States with his hope and optimism intact, an extraordinary and inspiring exemplar of human courage. In this podcast, recorded at the Academy of Achievement's 1992 Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, he recalls the values of faith, humor, and an appreciation for life's simplest pleasures that enabled him to survive his ordeal.

Latest Episodes

Thomas Sutherland

In 1985, Thomas Sutherland was serving as Dean of Agriculture at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon. Four months into his term, he was pulled from his car at gunpoint and taken from the life he knew into a six-and-a-half-year hell of chains, beatings, isolation, cold, darkness and despair. Born in Falkirk, Scotland, he graduated from Glasgow University and moved to the United States in the 1950s, earning a Ph.D. in animal breeding from Iowa State University. He taught animal science at Colorado State University for 26 years before accepting a three-year appointment in Beirut. Although American University (AUB) colleagues had already been assassinated and kidnapped by members of the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad movement, Sutherland was committed to his work and remained in Beirut while others were fleeing the war-torn city. His kidnappers, who may have mistaken him for the university's president, moved him from place to place, chained and blindfolded, holding him in mosquito-...

16 MIN1992 JUN 26
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Thomas Sutherland
the END

Latest Episodes

Thomas Sutherland

In 1985, Thomas Sutherland was serving as Dean of Agriculture at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon. Four months into his term, he was pulled from his car at gunpoint and taken from the life he knew into a six-and-a-half-year hell of chains, beatings, isolation, cold, darkness and despair. Born in Falkirk, Scotland, he graduated from Glasgow University and moved to the United States in the 1950s, earning a Ph.D. in animal breeding from Iowa State University. He taught animal science at Colorado State University for 26 years before accepting a three-year appointment in Beirut. Although American University (AUB) colleagues had already been assassinated and kidnapped by members of the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad movement, Sutherland was committed to his work and remained in Beirut while others were fleeing the war-torn city. His kidnappers, who may have mistaken him for the university's president, moved him from place to place, chained and blindfolded, holding him in mosquito-...

16 MIN1992 JUN 26
Comments
Thomas Sutherland
the END