Ron grew up on a small farm in Missouri. There he learned how to dream up projects and somehow find the resources to build them. That became the template for his engineering. First, a crystal clear, perfect and uncompromised image in the mind, every deal in sharp focus. Followed by countless prototypes, all built step-by-step in his mind. Once the mental prototyping was perfected, it was time for a reality check in the shop. Since all the design and mental prototyping was in Ron’s mind, he also had to develop craftsmanship to express the mental images.
After high-school, Sutherland attended Drury College in Springfield, MO. There, his good grades and passion for Physics, won him keys to the building and 24/7 access to the laser optics lab. He saw a sublime beauty in the continuity of Physics, seamlessly connecting all areas of the physical world.
Following the bachelor’s degree in Physics, Ron moved on to the University of Kansas. For his Master’s project, Sutherland designed and built a stereo preamplifier that used digital logic to automatically control its functions. The volume controls were touch plates, with a digital volume display. There was even automatic input selection.