Professor Rita Dunn - 1929-2009

A Life-long Love of Learning and Learners

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Professor Dunn, co-author of the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model, touched the hearts and minds of scores of people in many countries and at home in the United States. In her honour, the ILSN is committed to ensuring that her legacy of her remarkable work continues.


This tribute to Dr Dunn was posted on her tribute site and emailed to her many friends and colleagues shortly after her death in August 2009.


Dr. Rita Dunn, professor at St. John's University for nearly 40 years, died August 1, 2009 at her home in Pound Ridge, New York after a short but valiant struggle with breast cancer.

Dr. Rita Dunn, an authority on learning styles, a professor in the Division of Administrative and Instructional Leadership and the director of the Center for the Study of Learning and Teaching Styles became an inspiring, internationally renowned professor of higher education; prolific author of 32 textbooks and more than 450 manuscripts and research papers; the recipient of 31 professional research awards, and expert on using individual learning styles to improve teaching.

During her career at St. John's, Dr. Dunn mentored more than 160 doctoral students, many of whom now occupy positions of leadership throughout the world. In 1995, Dr Dunn received St. John's University's highly competitive first Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. She and her doctoral students have been involved in 37 years of prizewinning research. Researchers at more than 130 institutions of higher education have participated in international research on the Dunn and Dunn Model and have published more than 830 studies.

Everyone who ever encountered Rita recognized that she possessed unusual talent and extraordinary virtue. She demonstrated a deep and charming humanity to everyone she met from the humblest student to the most exalted academic dignitary. She left everyone with the unforgettable imprint of her endearing personality. Rita was a woman who possessed unusual intellectual abilities. Along with her manifold personal qualities, she had a powerful analytical intelligence. Her devotion to education was unparalleled.

In these final weeks, she was comforted by the loving presence of her family, friends, students, and colleagues. Professor Dunn is survived by her husband, Dr. Kenneth Dunn, professor at Queens College, daughter, Rana, four sons, Richard, Robert, Kerry, and Kevin, and an extended loving family.

You may access the online obituary for Dr. Rita Dunn and sign the guestbook by using the following link.

The following is an audio file by Charlotte Humphrey regarding Rita Dunn's contribution to international education.