Student government leader, contemplative and insightful thinker, dedicated and loyal friend \u2014 no matter what role he played, Kevin Sutherland left a profound impact on every life he came across. That\u2019s what the parents of the late Trumbull native have come to learn over the two months that have passed since their 24-year-old son was killed during a mugging in Washington, D.C. Doug and Theresa Sutherland returned to the nation\u2019s capital, where Kevin attended American University as an undergraduate, last weekend for a memorial service that featured speeches from students and professors who recalled the 2013 graduate as an amazing \u201cfriend, mentor, and person.\u201d \u201cWe continue to be amazed about how deeply people felt about Kevin, and the deep impact he made in so many different lives,\u201d Doug told The Times on Tuesday morning, following Sunday afternoon\u2019s ceremony. \u201cIt was the first time we heard from his professors since his death,\u201d he said. \u201cOne was crying as much as we were at the service, and that left quite an impact on us \u2014 they all said how special a student he was, how much potential and talent he had.\u201d Pallavi Kumar, who taught Kevin in a public relations class at AU, reflected before the memorial service. She recalled a special thank-you note that the late student sent her after the semester was over. \u201cI want to thank you for a wonderful semester. My extracurricular activities throughout college have exposed me to public relations, so I was very excited to take this course to gain a formal academic background,\u201d Kumar said, quoting Kevin. \u201cYour class really exceeded my expectations. I always looked forward to coming to class as it was upbeat and fun in addition to being productive. I really got a wider grasp of the field from the current events case studies, guest speakers, and the assignments we completed for class. Again, thank you.\u201d The communications professor said that hearing a student express such gratitude was somewhat rare, and \u201cspoke exactly to the type of student that Kevin was \u2014 to take the time to write such a sincere note.\u201d She added that he had a lot of integrity, citing the example of a group project he had with five classmates on which he was left to do the bulk of the work. Again, he sent a thoughtful note to his teacher \u2014 not to complain or place blame. \u201cWhen I asked him if he thought the other classmates deserved lower grades on the project, he demurred saying he didn\u2019t feel that was his decision, which I thought showed maturity beyond his years,\u201d Kumar said. \u201cI am heartbroken that someone with so much promise, potential and zest for life was taken so soon,\u201d she added. A wonderful secretary Terry Flannery, the vice president of communication at AU, spoke about Kevin\u2019s two terms in student government under two different administrations. \u201cHe served as secretary, which put him in a position to lead the communication and public relations functions of the executive branch of student government, and he was therefore the natural and most interested prospect to serve on two important advisory committees, one for the board of trustees and one for the university community, that influence and advise the university\u2019s marketing and communication functions,\u201d Flannery said. The vice president noted that Kevin\u2019s service came at a particularly important time in the life of the university. \u201cFrom 2011 to 2013, he provided valuable counsel as we implemented the university\u2019s first strategic marketing plan and branding campaign,\u201d Flannery said. \u201cOur strategy was bold and our campaign gained a lot of attention in the early going, and as is often the case when something is new and bold, it was not immediately embraced by the entire internal community. \u201cKevin was not a member of these advisory groups when we devised our strategy and introduced the campaign,\u201d she added. \u201cHe arrived in his role when it was still too early to see any significant results except for whether our efforts were registering, and what the initial reactions were. The heat was on, and he took his advisory roles very seriously.\u201d In the speech, Flannery noted that Kevin dove into the research that shaped the strategy, \u201cand took the time to understand why we chose the path we took.\u201d \u201cHe was an incredible listener,\u201d Flannery said. \u201cAs he took it all in, I learned that underneath his natural quiet, and some would say shy, exterior was a thoughtful, strategic thinker, a natural political analyst, and a source of great humor. \u201cI realized that if we gave Kevin time and space to speak, great insight would be shared, often served up with and eliciting great laughter.\u201d Students share memories Four students spoke during the ceremony Sunday, Aug. 30, at the Kay Spiritual Life Center on AU\u2019s campus. Elliot Bell-Krasner talked about his time with Kevin on the American University Student Government. \u201cKevin's quiet, yet exceptional, efforts on behalf of the AU community are something that will never be forgotten,\u201d he said. \u201cHe was a remarkable individual with many endearing gifts, including his oratory, writing skills, and a New England wit that I always appreciated.\u201d Current students spoke to the legacy that the 2012 graduate left on the student body. \u201cAs Thomas Campbell said, \u2018To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.\u2019 I wish he could still be here with us, but I also hope that in the coming year the work I do as Kevin\u2019s successor in student government will make him proud,\u201d said Martin Valderruten Perea, the current AU secretary. \u201cI hope wherever he is now, he knows that I\u2019ll never forget the impact he made on my life. \u201cThere\u2019s no justice in his death but I\u2019m thankful for all the days he lived,\u201d he added. \u201cRest in peace, Kevin Sutherland.The entire SG family misses you so much.\u201d Two plaques Patrick Kelly, who served as the AUSG president in 2014, said Kevin was the definition of a selfless servant during his time studying in Washington. \u201cHe believed in the student government and the slow, sometimes painful progress it could create,\u201d he said. Kelly then surprised the crowd of 200 or so people when he said that the Mary Graydon Center Room \u2014 the office where Kevin spent two years as AUSG secretary \u2014 had been renamed the Kevin J. Sutherland Executive Office. Doug was able to hang a plaques \u2014 outside the room \u2014 that called upon generations of future students to strive to emulate Kevin\u2019s service and selflessness.Another sign was hung over the door by the current officers with the Latin motto of the State of Connecticut, which Kevin adopted, "Qui transtulit sustinet" \u2014 "He who transplanted sustains."\u201cThe plaque dedication was a surprise to all of us,\u201d Doug said. \u201cWe went up to the office after the reception, and it was just very touching.\u201d Bittersweet Doug said that the entire weekend was very bittersweet for him and Theresa, as they walked around the campus where their son left such a large imprint. \u201cWe couldn\u2019t have found a better school for him \u2014 it was the perfect size school for him,\u201d Doug said. \u201cHe loved AU and he loved Washington, D.C. \u2014 he had six very happy years here, four at school and two working down here.\u201d The father recalled moving in his son as a freshman. \u201cIt\u2019s bittersweet remembering all the good times and then remembering why we\u2019re down here this week,\u201d Doug said. \u201cBut they were very formative years for my son and he grew up a lot down here \u2014 he really came into his own, and I don\u2019t regret sending him down here despite what happened.\u201d The parents\u2019 minds were put at ease Sunday listening to the speeches and shaking the hands of future leaders who were inspired by Kevin\u2019s lead. \u201cEveryone who spoke said that they were a better person because of him, which is really the greatest compliment one can say about you,\u201d Doug said. \u201cWe kept hearing, \u2018I hope my work can live up to what Kevin did,\u2019 and that meant a lot to us.\u201d Long trial While memories of Kevin\u00a0have sent many positive ripples among members in the AU community, his parents still face the ugliness of the long trial that awaits his accused murderer, Jasper Spires, 18, who has been charged with first-degree murder. Before Sunday\u2019s memorial, Doug and Theresa attended a brief hearing for Spires on Friday, Aug. 28. Police said the 18-year-old stabbed Kevin in the middle of the day on July 4 after trying to steal his cell phone. \u201cIt was very difficult to face our son\u2019s murderer like that,\u201d Doug said. \u201cIt was a five-minute hearing because the judge wants him to have another medical exam done, because the results of the first one were inconclusive.\u201d While they wait for the second exam to be administered, the Sutherlands will come home to Trumbull. Doug said they plan to return for the next hearing on Friday, Oct. 9. \u201cThe prosecutors are dedicated to finding justice to this brutal and senseless crime,\u201d Doug said about the hearing. \u201cIt was good to have the uplifting service Sunday after the court experience,\u201d he added. \u201cIt helped balance off the weekend.\u201d Memorial contributions can be made to The Kevin Joseph Sutherland Memorial Fund and the Kevin Sutherland Internship Fund at www.american.edu\/giving\/kevin-sutherland.cfm. For questions, please contact Lee Holsopple, the assistant vice president of university programs, at email@example.com.