Harold W. Dunn, M.S. ’54

Harold W. Dunn

Harold W. Dunn, M.S. ’54, of Jefferson City, MO, was a quiet man. He lived a quiet life, and while he supported his alma mater proudly, he chose to keep his transformational giving private during his lifetime.

Over the Christmas holidays, Dunn, MS ’54, passed away, leaving his estate, in its entirety, to Baylor University and the School of Music. His gift, creating an endowment of more than $6 million, is the largest in the School’s 100-year history.

He had a no-frills approach, living what many would consider a simple life. Dunn had retired as an elementary school music teacher after more than 30 years in the classroom, and he was also an author, publishing a series of books that shared the amusing statements he witnessed from a lifetime of teaching.

A single man who cared deeply for his mother and sister, Dunn left Baylor after earning his graduate degree to return to them in Missouri after his father’s death. He would keep in close contact with them both until their own deaths years later.

His decision to leave his estate to Baylor came from a desire to honor the memory of his family and the Christian faith they all shared, while making a difference in the lives of students —  something he had done for so many of his elementary pupils as a teacher.

In Baylor’s Center for Christian Music Studies, Dunn found a place where music, education and ministry merge in a powerful way. The Center serves as an academic hub where transformational leadership in all aspects of Christian music develops on a daily basis.

He established the Dunn Family Endowed Fund for the Center for Christian Music Studies, gifting 100 percent of his estate to benefit the Center, its students and staff after his passing. By using a bequest, Harold furthered the impact of his resources far beyond what he could have tangibly given in this life.

Members of the Baylor community who were blessed to know Harold Dunn came together in February on Baylor’s campus to honor his life and commemorate his transformational gift. His legacy at Baylor is truly one of deep impact, opening wide the doors of opportunity for the newly renamed Dunn Center for Christian Music Studies. 

For a quiet man, who led a quiet life, Harold Dunn’s legacy is now forever etched upon the foundations of this institution, echoing through future generations who will benefit and be inspired by his lasting impact at Baylor.