The eighth president in the history of the Southern Illinois University system began his tenure today, among other things sending a letter to campus alumni, teling them he’s enjoying a homecoming of sorts.
“I wanted to let you know how honored I am to be returning to the region to serve one of the country’s great public university systems,” Randy J. Dunn said. “I am excited to represent you and the combined 352,000 alumni of the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses,” the letter said. He noted his wife, Dr. Ronda Dunn, is “one of our proud alums as a three-degree graduate of SIUC.”
“With my naming to this position, we are indeed returning home. Between 1995 and 2004, I had the privilege of serving as a professor and chair in the College of Education and Human Services at Carbondale. During that time, I also taught a number of courses at Edwardsville as part of a joint doctoral program conducted by both campuses. I know well the strength and potential offered by the SIU experience.”
Dunn said his professional career path started in K-12 education. He served as a classroom teacher, school principal, and district superintendent in public systems throughout Illinois.
“Over the past decade, I’ve worked as Illinois state school superintendent as well as served as president at Murray State University in Kentucky and then briefly at Youngstown State University in Ohio.
“Interestingly, I have been reading two books over the past few days. One is, ‘After the Academy: Memories of Teaching and Learning in the Land of Lincoln,’ shared with me by numerous friends from Edwardsville. The book chronicles the experiences of faculty and alumni in the development of SIUE. The foreword by Prof. Ralph Axtell alone is worth the read. The other book is a coffee table-size volume published for the Alumni Association at SIUC in 1993, ‘Southern Illinois University: A Pictorial History.'”
Both texts remind him, he said, “of the outstanding education and supportive atmosphere that have defined the SIU System – and that will continue to provide transformative experiences for our students for generations to come. Too, I have no doubt our influence and impact will keep expanding regionally, nationally, and internationally.”