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Tribute to William K. Suter

Dennis A. Ahlburg is the President of Trinity University. 

From the moment he arrived on the Trinity University campus, William K. Suter, Bill, stood out. A towering figure at six-foot-five, he played varsity basketball but his academic excellence, leadership skills, and dedication to service, were soon recognized by the national honor societies Blue Key and Alpha Phi Omega.  His classmates elected him senior class president, and faculty and friends all knew he was destined for a distinguished career. After earning a commission through Trinity’s ROTC program, he continued to distinguish himself at Tulane Law School, where he served on the Tulane Law Review Board of Editors and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Embarking on his legal career in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, he served in posts around the world, ultimately rising through the ranks to become the acting Judge Advocate General, the chief attorney for the U.S. Army worldwide.

Trinity University honored General Suter as its Distinguished Alumnus in 1990, and in 1991, the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist personally chose General Suter to be the nineteenth Clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court.  He was appointed to the post by President George H.W, Bush, who served on the Trinity University Board of Trustees.  In the twenty-two years he has served in this position, he has remained loyal and active with Trinity University. He has introduced hundreds of Trinity students and alumni to the inner workings of the Supreme Court, offering personal tours and dispensing advice on legal and military careers. He also gave me a tour of the Court and allowed me, unsuccessfully, to shoot baskets on the Supreme Court’s court.  My failure here ended any hopes Bill had for me playing with the Spurs.

On behalf of the entire Trinity community, thank you, Bill, for your exemplary service to our country, for generously sharing your time and talents with students and alumni, and for the honor and distinction you have brought to your alma mater.

Congratulations on a life well lived, a job well done. All good wishes for a happy and productive retirement. I look forward to our continuing friendship.


Recommended Citation: Dennis Ahlburg, Tribute to William K. Suter, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 12, 2013, 10:11 AM),