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Former IHE director receives President’s Medal

February 7, 2018

“As an outstanding scholar, practitioner, and engaged campus member, Dr. Dunn represents the best of academicians. It is fitting that he was awarded the 2018 President’s Medal for his extrordinary contributions to the University of Georgia”, said Libby Morris, director of UGA’s Institute of Higher Education.

Delmer “Del” Dunn, a former director of the Institute of Higher Education, will receive one of the University of Georgia’s highest honors during Founders Day activities on Jan. 22, 2018. Along with Mary Frances Early, the first African-American to earn a degree from UGA, he will receive the President’s Medal, which recognizes extraordinary contributions of individuals who are not current employees of UGA and who have supported students and academic programs, advanced research and inspired community leaders to enhance the quality of life of citizens in Georgia.

“I am pleased that Mary Frances Early and Del Dunn will be honored for their decades of service to this university and to the state of Georgia,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Ms. Early and Dr. Dunn both helped set new standards for educational excellence within their respective fields, and multiple generations of students have benefited from their exemplary leadership.” 

Dunn’s distinguished career as a professor and administrator spanned nearly 40 years at UGA before he retired as the university’s vice president for instruction in 2006. He was a Regents Professor of public administration and policy in the School of Public and International Affairs. He served as director of the Institute of Higher Education from 2001-02 and also as associate vice president for academic affairs, acting head of the political science department and director of the Institute of Government. “He is the total embodiment of the citizen-scholar, the dedicated faculty member who upholds the University’s motto ‘to teach, to serve, and to inquire into the nature of things.’”

Dunn received his doctorate in political science from the University of Wisconsin and joined the UGA faculty as an assistant professor in 1967, when O.C. Aderhold was president. Except for a two-year leave, he never worked elsewhere. Dunn’s research has focused on such areas as public administration, government and mass media, American elections and academic administration. He has written three books as well as dozens of book chapters and journal articles.

He taught hundreds of students, including children of former students. A member of the UGA Teaching Academy, the Honors Program faculty and a Senior Teaching Fellow, he has taught at all levels, from introductory to advanced graduate courses.

As vice president, Dunn focused on improving learning opportunities for UGA students and challenging them to perform better academically. His office also was instrumental in establishing the Office of Service-Learning.

Dunn has been president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and the Pi Alpha Alpha national honor society for public affairs and administration. He also was founding president of the Southern Consortium of University Public Service Organizations and has been active in the American Society for Public Administration and both the American and Southern Political Science Associations.