Catching up with Padget Sutherland ’17 Sutherland's advice for current students: "Don’t take yourself too seriously!"
Major: Art history and classics
Hometown: Kansas City, MO
Current role and employer: Development officer for the Director’s Office at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
What was your major at W&L, and how does it apply to your career now?
I was a double major in art history and classics, which have both been invaluable in my work at The Met. Classics was really the entry point for me into art history; my love for Latin and Greek poetry and seeing how artists translated those texts into sculpture and painting cemented it for me!
What was your first job after graduation?
My first position was as an assistant administrator in Modern and Contemporary Art at The Met.
How did W&L prepare you for your career?
I feel particularly fortunate for the international scope of the Art History Department, which has been crucial for my current work. My studies in classics taught me intense attention to detail and a life-long love for language.
What are some of your major or memorable career milestones?
I am proud to have received my master’s in art history from The Courtauld Institute of Art, where I graduated with Distinction.
Who or what has most inspired you along the way? (Staff, faculty, classmates, internships, alumni, etc.)
This is so difficult! I feel particularly indebted to Professor Crotty, who was my freshman advisor. Without him, I would not have continued my studies in Latin when I arrived at W&L, which is what led me to art history and now my current profession. Additionally, my experience with Professor Laughy on an archaeological dig in Athens was a formative experience for me.
What do you miss most about your time at W&L?
I’m lucky enough to still see many of my former classmates, so I predominantly miss the professors and the classroom. And of course, the beautiful Lexington landscape.
What was the one class you most enjoyed outside of your major, and why?
I took an intro to sociology class freshman year with Professor Eastman that I enjoyed so much I contemplated a sociology major. He is an incredible instructor and I was fascinated by the field.
What is the one class or professor you wish you could return to campus and take a class with now?
I wish I had the opportunity to take the art and business class with Professor King over Spring Term. The class actually came to visit me at The Met a couple years ago!
What advice would you give to next year’s graduating class?
Give yourself time and space to find what you really love, regardless of whether you think it will make a good career or not, and then, when you find it, don’t give up pursuing it. You will certainly experience setbacks and go on bad interviews, but you just have to keep trying until it all clicks into place. And don’t take yourself too seriously!
Tell a favorite memory in five sentences or less.
My favorite memory from W&L was living in the pole houses on the Maury River with friends. The water was just outside and we made the most of it.
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