Endowed med school scholarship honoring Dunn will benefit WMU alums

Contact: Laura Eller
Photo of WMU President John M. Dunn.

Dunn at the Imagine Gala, where he was presented with a $2.2 million endowed scholarship fund that will support WMU grads who go on to the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A decade of devotion to students by Western Michigan University President John M. Dunn has been honored by members of the Kalamazoo community with a $2.2 million endowed scholarship fund in his name that will support medical students.

With his retirement looming, Dunn's vision and student focus will live on in perpetuity at the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, with the establishment of the John M. Dunn Endowed Scholarship. Each year, the award will cover more than $100,000 in tuition for eligible WMU graduates who are admitted to the medical school's M.D. degree program.

The newly endowed scholarship was revealed to Dunn and the community May 20, at the medical school's second annual Imagine Gala. The announcement was made by Ken V. Miller, who is both chair emeritus and a current member of the WMU Board of Trustees.

"This scholarship fund in honor of Dr. John M. Dunn recognizes the key role he has played in developing Kalamazoo's medical school and, perhaps more importantly, it benefits our WMU graduates who are moving on to attend the medical school," Miller said. "Students have always been, and will continue to be, what is most important to President Dunn."

The scholarship fund is endowed with $2.2 million in financial contributions from key community leaders, members of the WMU Board of Trustees, Borgess Health, and Bronson Healthcare. The initial funding target of $1.2 million was exceeded due to generous community support. 

"We are overjoyed with the community support to establish this new scholarship fund for our future medical students," said Dr. Hal B. Jenson, the medical school's founding dean. "This scholarship is a way to memorialize Dr. Dunn's commitment to students and lifelong learning."

During his first year as president of WMU, Dunn sparked community interest in the creation of a medical school that would build upon Kalamazoo's rich history in education, health care, research, and life science exploration. He championed the endeavor and garnered broad support, enthusiasm, and engagement from the University, Kalamazoo's two hospitals—Borgess Health and Bronson Healthcare—donors, and the community.

In 2011, the medical school became a reality, formed through a collaboration of WMU, Borgess Health, and Bronson Healthcare. President Dunn serves as the founding chair of the board for the medical school and will continue in that role until his retirement on July 31. The medical school is part of his legacy to the University, Kalamazoo, and southwest Michigan.

Photo of Dr. Hal Jenson, Dr. John Dunn, William Johnston and Ken Miller.

Jenson, Dunn, Johnston and Miller

"The journey has been a fabulous journey and it has inspired many within the city of Kalamazoo, within our Western Michigan University community, within southwest Michigan. And that inspiration is part of the aspirational gift that John Dunn has given to each and every one of us—to all of the students, to all of the possibilities there are for all of us in the future," William D. Johnston, a member of the WMU Board of Trustees, said at Saturday's gala as a large crowd toasted President Dunn and his wife, Linda.

When it was his turn to speak Saturday following the announcement of the scholarship fund in his honor, President Dunn said he was "overwhelmed" by the news.

"The bottom line is I'm just a small town kid from southern Illinois and in many ways that has served me well through the years because when you're from a small town in southern Illinois you learn that it's about everybody, it's about other people, it's about trying any way you can to improve our society and make things better," President Dunn said.

WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

The Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine is a collaboration of Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo's two teaching hospitals, Borgess Health and Bronson Healthcare. Planning for the new medical school began in 2008 and WMed was granted provisional accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and candidate status by the Higher Learning Commission in 2016. The school, which welcomed its inaugural class in August 2014, is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supported by private gifts, clinical revenue, research activity, tuition from students, and endowment income. The new medical school includes the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine Clinics, a modern 60,000-square-foot clinical building on the Oakland Drive Campus, and a 350,000-square-foot educational building in downtown Kalamazoo that was donated by MPI Research. Located on the new W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, the educational building underwent a $68 million renovation and expansion project and opened in June 2014. An additional $10 million renovation of two floors for laboratory research was competed in early 2016.

Learn more about the Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine at med.wmich.edu.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.