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Clarke President Catherine Dunn, BVM, Ph.D. Honored at Commencement

By Clarke News  |  May 16, 2006

On Saturday, May 13, Clarke College President Catherine Dunn, BVM, Ph.D. sent the class of 2006 forth to live the core values of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary – freedom, education, charity and justice.

As she prepares to leave the Clarke presidency, part of this year’s Commencement was also about recognizing Dunn for her 22 years at the helm as Clarke’s leader. “You, like I, are opening a new chapter of life, and Clarke will always be in the core of our being and in our hearts,” Dunn told graduates in her commencement address.

Tom Lynch, chair of the Clarke College Board of Trustees, presented Catherine with an honorary doctor of humanities degree recognizing her service to Clarke. Lynch also shared with the audience that the Board of Trustees has decided to name Clarke’s student apartment complex in honor of Dunn and has bestowed upon her the honorary title of president emerita.

In her 22nd year as president of Clarke College, Dunn has been the driving force behind the tremendous growth in campus facilities, curriculum and enrollment at Clarke. She became Clarke’s 14th president on January 27, 1984, just 111 days before the disastrous fire of May 17, 1984, which destroyed one-third of the historic buildings on campus. Since that time, she has overseen the rebuilding of the College and the subsequent growth and expansion of enrollment, programs and facilities. Dunn has been a continued advocate not only for Clarke, but for the City of Dubuque and the State of Iowa.

Dunn came to Clarke in 1973 as a member of the education department faculty after receiving her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State College. In 1979, she moved to administration as vice president of institutional advancement.