Dunn's bequest makes opportunities available to students at the Gillings School. (Photo by Jennie Saia)

Dorothy Dunn

December 7, 2015

She gave back to a School where opportunities and support helped her thrive
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Dorothy Dunn’s Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois led her to a number of job opportunities in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, after a former sociology professor praised the dynamic environment at UNC’s public health school, Dunn sought a stipend from the U.S. Public Health Service and was accepted as a Master of Science in Public Health student at UNC.

Dorothy Dunn (Sketch by Bryan Norris © 2015)

Dorothy Dunn (Sketch by Bryan Norris © 2015)

She studied epidemiology with founding dean Milton Rosenau, MD, and was mentored by Lucy Morgan, PhD, founding chair of the health education department. Morgan and faculty member Eunice “Picky” Tyler were instrumental in encouraging Dunn to pursue a doctoral degree.

“I later earned my PhD from another university,” she told an interviewer in 2000. “[But] I can say definitively that I got more out of my energy and efforts at the UNC School of Public Health than at any other school I attended.”

Before Dr. Dunn (MSPH, 1946) passed away in 2007 at age 96, it was clear that she recalled the vitality of the learning environment at what is now the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She provided in her will for a much-needed scholarship for incoming doctoral students in health behavior.

“Dorothy prized her education at the School and the deep ties she had with us,” said Jo Anne Earp, ScD, professor and former chair of health behavior at the School. “She gave back in so many ways – including mentoring our students and alumni well into her 90s. Her bequest speaks to the value of Dorothy’s education here at the School – it’s an education that doesn’t stop with the degree. I think she wanted to recognize the opportunities and support she received here by making opportunities available to others.”

– L. K.

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Read more about Hannah Lerner, a Dunn Scholar who researches mHealth.


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Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. To view previous issues, please visit sph.unc.edu/cph.