LU alumna establishes major planned gift to the university

Myrna Dunnam ’67 describes her, and her husband Milton’s, love for Lamar University as more of an obsession, citing that they just can’t help themselves. Between the two of them, Dunnam and Milton hold degrees across four institutions, but it’s solely Lamar University, she admitted, that has and always will garner their support.

Now, the long-time supporters of the university have established a significant planned gift, one of the largest in the university’s history, naming Lamar University as a major beneficiary of their estate. Once brought to fruition, the gift will endow scholarships in the Lamar University College of Business supporting students. myrna-and-milton-dunnam-at-awards-ceremony

“This gift will have exponential effect for students for generations to come. I can’t help but to give back because I want Lamar University students to remember where they started and to continue the connection,” Dunnam said. “Lamar University is where I got my start and I wouldn’t have accomplished as much as I did if it were not for this university.”

Dunnam earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from the LU College of Business and upon graduation, she went on to work for the U.S. Census Bureau in Suitland, Maryland, as a statistician in the Foreign Trade Division. She also joined the Census Bureau Toastmistress Club, which developed her skills for becoming a litigator. She attended law school at the University of Baltimore, graduating with her juris doctorate in 1978, and left the federal government to pursue a career in law. After returning to Texas, she worked in private law practice in Baytown, Texas. She was board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1984 and continued full-time law practice, primarily in the area of family law, until she retired in 2014.

Dunnam currently serves on the LU College of Business Board of Advisors and both she and Milton are members of the Spindletop Society, Lamar University’s highest recognition of philanthropic support, which pays tribute to donors who give $1 million or more to the institution. The pair also are LU football season ticket holders frequenting games and supporting Cardinals. Dunnam was recently named a 2022 Lamar University Distinguish Alumna honoree, the highest award presented by the university recognizing alumni who have enhanced the reputation of the university by distinguishing themselves in their careers or life services. Accepting the award, she credited her love for Lamar University and the start of her successful career to one of her many faculty mentors that helped her soar –– the late David G. Taylor, Sr., professor of marketing.

“Not only was he a good professor, but he helped students with job hunting, resumes and interviews. He helped me earn my position at the U.S. Census Bureau,” she said. “When I decided to go to law school, I came back to the university and I didn’t expect for him to remember me, but he did and he wrote my letter of recommendation for law school.”

Shortly after Taylor’s death in early March of 2022, Dunnam and Milton reached out to the Lamar University Foundation and established the David G. Taylor, Sr., Memorial Scholarship in Business. The scholarship, Dunnam said, is to benefit students who have a desire to attend college but may not have financial support.

From endowed scholarships and planned gifts to mentorship and impacting change. When it comes to giving back to Lamar University, Dunnam said that for her and Milton, it’s an easy decision that they are happy to make time and time again.

“We get gratification from helping students and making a difference in their lives,” she said. “This isn’t about us, it’s about the future generations of students at Lamar University.”