Sutton presents eighth Moran Address

Rebecca Cross, Staff Writer

Dr. John C. Sutton, a former American Literature and Business Communication professor presented the eighth Moran Address on Thursday, March 27 in the Lowrimore Auditorium.

Among those in attendance were Francis Marion University’s (FMU) founding president, Dr. Dough Smith and FMU’s current president, Dr. Fred Carter.

The Moran Address is given in honor of Dr. William C. Moran. From 1978 to 1992 Moran served as FMU’s Vice President of Academic Affairs. While Moran served in numerous academic and civic capacities during his life, he is remembered for his time at FMU. Dr. Moran’s wife, Margaret, and son, Thomas, have attended the honorary address every year.

Each year an FMU professor who has either retired or is soon to retire is selected to give the Moran Address. The Faculty Life Committee nominates three FMU professors. Out of the three nominees, the Provost selects the candidate who will give the address.

According to Dr. Jon Tuttle, colleague and friend of Sutton, Sutton is widely accomplished but remains humble.

“He is a Renaissance man,” Tuttle said.

Sutton, who retired from FMU in 2012, served in the U.S. Air Force, achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, earned his doctorate, and taught extensively at the college level.

“He [Sutton] builds guitars, plays golf, and even built his own house!” Tuttle said.

Sutton’s speech for the Moran Address was titled “Professor’s Progress: The Precarious Path to Ignorance.”

“It [the address] deals candidly and poignantly with the nature of knowledge in a world where information obsolesces almost as quickly as a person’s ability to retain it,” Tuttle said.

Sutton divided his speech into sections or “cantos.” In the first, Sutton theorized that as an individual’s general knowledge increases, their realization of the amount of knowledge that they do not yet know also increases. Largely drawing off of stories about his father who struggled with dementia and blindness in his aging, Sutton addressed the loss of knowledge that comes through aging in his second canto. In his third canto, Sutton used personal examples to discuss the fact that some knowledge becomes obsolete over time due to changes in science, culture, personal experiences, etc.

Sutton used his fourth and final canto as an opportunity to leave the audience with a positive thought. After quoting Thoreau who wrote “My life is the poem I would have writ,/ But I could not both live and utter it,” Sutton posed thoughtful advice.

“So many of us get so busy with our lives, we forget to live them,” Sutton said. “I’m trying to live more in the present with Buddhist mindfulness appreciating the world around me.”

Several in the audience dabbed their wet eyes with tissue after Sutton’s closing remarks.

Sutton was presented with a clock imbedded in a wooden box to commemorate the occasion

Following the Moran Address, a reception was held in FMU’s Cottage. Copies of Sutton’s address were made available at the reception, and audience members had an opportunity to mingle with each other and Sutton.