Getting to know a friendly Trinity face: Timothy Dunn

EVAN SCOLLARD  ’17
CONTRIBUTING WRITER
In 2013, Trinity posted a job opening for an Associate Social Director to take charge of our campus’ theme and Greek houses.   The applicant pool filled with competitive list of professionals, and from the few we invited for interviews, we settled quickly on Timothy Dunn.
He had all the impressive qualities to expect of our administrators, including a Juris Doctorate and sound recommendations from colleagues at Union College.  Mr. Dunn fit the job description – but of a position we’d never previously had.  We anticipated his arrival, then, with varying apprehension and wondered what the new hire would actually bring.
Now after two years of our own interactions, those who know Dunn appreciate the man as an administrator and a tremendous asset to the college.  We could have predicted this reputation, though, from the testimonials of his former students, who’ve recently visited and described a man personally invested in the growth of his institution.  Specifically, they cite his exhaustive efforts in the Greek community and his acclaim as a professor of law.  Even outside and pre-dating his time in higher education, Dunn has worked with distinction in various areas of social justice.  After putting himself through law school as a first-generation student, he clerked for several capital punishment cases and has represented Greek interests legally to ensure total fairness in adjudication.  He explains his extensive history with social organizations as a product of his belief in their transformative power.
On our own campus, he holds a similar reputation.  Despite significant job requirements, he coaches mock trial and maintains a constant availability for students in crisis.  In fact, Dunn considers his office and his front porch places of respite, guided by a demand his grandmother made during his entrance into higher education: “treat those students as if they were your own.”
As an attorney, he’s honored her sentiment through his pursuit of due process and honest litigation.  In any judicial matters here, he exercises clinical objectivity to safeguard these interests.  But, Dunn reserves that detachment for disciplinary cases and otherwise enjoys warm relationships with his students.  Consequently, many students come to him for support, which he only sees as another aspect of his grandmother’s charge.  Owing to his own experiences as a gay man raised in the traditional South, he understands the depths of personal struggles and happily offers himself as a resource.
So when we inventory everything Dunn does for Trinity College, we realize that his official title doesn’t convey his true role.  He serves, of course, as our Greek Advisor but also as an important friend of the entire student body.

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