Professor Sutherland received his B.A. degree from Swarthmore College in 1953. He then attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and later earned a D. Phil. in Modern History from Oxford in 1957.
Professor Sutherland came directly from Oxford to the Department of History at The University of Iowa, where he was appointed Instructor in 1958, promoted to Assistant Professor in 1960, Associate Professor in 1964, and Professor in 1967. In 1982, Professor Sutherland was appointed Professor of History and Law, and was named Carver Professor of History and Law in 1985. He died in 1986. A memorial is published at 72 Iowa Law Review 463 (1986-1987).