Remembering a Great Man

james dunnWake Forest lost one of its elder statesmen on the 4th of July:  Dr. James Dunn, retired professor of Christianity and public policy at the Divinity School.  I didn’t know Dr. Dunn well at all (mostly by sight and through association with other colleagues), but my impression was that he was a heck of a guy.  He smiled broadly and often, greeted people warmly, and was deeply engaged in the community.

Maybe my most lasting memory of him was that he’d had a medical issue some years ago (my memory is faulty, perhaps it was his heart), and yet I saw him back on campus way sooner than I had expected to, and I was surprised at how well he looked.  He seemed as jaunty and exuberant as ever.

The fact that Dr. Dunn passed away on the 4th of July has an ironic twist.  Even as our country celebrated its independence, we lost a man who was known for being a champion of religious liberty and for the separation of church and state.

The Winston-Salem Journal has a nice article about Dr. Dunn’s legacy.  Our Inside WFU web site for staff and faculty also has a lovely tribute.

Your students might not have known him, but they might have seen a kindly older gentleman with a bow tie and a twinkle in his eye at campus events or on the Quad.  My hunch is he would have smiled at your students and said hello, whether he knew them or not.  He was a great Southern gentleman, and he will be missed.


— by Betsy Chapman



Categories: campus life


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