Malinda Dunn '78
Malinda Dunn '78 grew up overseas, attending the American International
School of Kabul in Afghanistan before returning to the U.S. for her junior and senior
years in high school. "My parents and I visited R-MC and we liked the small student
body, the beautiful old campus and the 'feel' of the school," says Dunn, a Retired
Brigadier General in the United States Army.
Dunn, a political science major, loves
history and politics. "I think I had enough credits to major in either history or
political science," she says, "but I declared my major in political science because
of the late Dr. Bruce Unger. That man could facilitate some classroom discussion.
Always the devil's advocate, he had a great way of making sure we discussed all
sides of an issue. He was a whirling dervish of a professor: loud, brilliant, funny,
Dunn remembers fondly several other R-MC professors. "Dr. Howard Davis was a great
professor and a great dean," she says. "Once, in his dean capacity, he got me out
of a tight spot with wisdom and compassion, something I have never forgotten." She
continues: "Dr. George Oliver was a kind man—a tough grader who set and enforced
high standards for papers, making us all better historians and better writers."
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Dunn, who was a cheerleader during her freshman year, has a lot of special memories
of R-MC. “I made some fantastic friends in college. "R-MC’s small classes, great
professors and an engaged and compassionate administration gave the college a safe,
'family' atmosphere." Dunn remembers putting pennies on the railroad tracks for
the trains to run over and fraternity parties "where the band always played 'My
Girl' as the last song." She also recalls "a huge water fight between the men’s
and women’s dorms during my freshman year; working Monday through Friday chopping
lettuce in the cafeteria; and an unbelievable food fight in the cafeteria, which
started when some guy threw his dead pet tarantula into the middle of another table."
Dunn's path to becoming a Brigadier General began while she was at R-MC. "During
my senior year I applied and was accepted to Washington & Lee Law School," she
says. During the summer between her second and third years of law school, one of
Dunn's friends interned with the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps (Army JAG Corps).
"She loved the work and the people, and convinced me to apply for the JAG Corps,"
says Dunn. "I absolutely loved it...I got to travel, try tons of cases, work with
unbelievably smart commanders, work in a challenging and ethical environment, and
I got to serve my country. Before I knew it, I was a Colonel with almost 25 years
Dunn served as a Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) three times: at the 82nd Airborne Division,
at the Joint Readiness Center and Fort Polk (JRTC & Fort Polk) and at XVIII
Airborne Corps & Fort Bragg. "I was responsible for providing all legal services
to the command and the installation," says Dunn. "As the SJA at XVIII Airborne Corps,
I was privileged to deploy to Afghanistan in 2003 and Iraq in 2005. In 2005 lightening
struck and I was selected for Brigadier General—the first woman on active duty in
the Judge Advocate General’s Corps to become a general officer."
Dunn stays connected to R-MC via the Alumni Magazine and by regular giving. "I'll
be able to attend more Homecoming celebrations now that I am not moving all over
the world with the Army," she says. She also keeps in touch with fellow alumni.
"Allison O'Brien '77 knows everything going on at R-MC," she says jokingly. "I also
stay in touch with Lynne Cramer Marshall '79."
Asked if she has time for hobbies and interests, Dunn laughs. "I used to have them.
Then, my daughters became teenagers. So, now I drive and drive and drive...and go
to sports event after sports event...and to the mall...and to the mall again! I
do like to read, run and antique. As a family, we like to travel, eat out and listen
to music. At the moment, we are trying to wrap up a lot of loose ends to get my
husband out the door to Iraq for a year."
Dunn recently took her 16-year-old daughter to the R-MC table at a college fair.
"Who knows, maybe the legacy will continue," she says. "She is a demon field hockey
player, and I hear that R-MC has a good team!"