The University Record, October 2, 2000

Distinguished Faculty Governance Award

Thomas M. Dunn

Chemist Thomas M. Dunn, an active member of the University of Michigan faculty for more than three decades, retired in 1999, leaving a legacy of energetic leadership in numerous faculty governance and administrative roles, as well as an outstanding reputation as a teacher and scholar.

Professor Dunn, who joined the Department of Chemistry faculty in 1963, chaired the department from 1972 to 1983. As chair, he rallied support for the University’s successful efforts to construct a new chemistry building in the 1980s.

The first chair of the University’s Budget Priorities Committee, Professor Dunn also chaired the Task Force on Graduate Student Aid. He served on many advisory and review committees as well as on the board of directors of the Michigan Research Corporation. He is a former president of the U-M Research Club and was a member of the Final Interview Committee for the Selection of the U-M President in 1979. He also served on the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies Evaluation Committee, English Composition Board, Governor’s Advisory Committee on Science and Technology and the University of Michigan Press board, and chaired the Southeastern Michigan Science Fair.

Active in the University of Michigan Chapter of the American Association of University Professors and Senate Assembly for many years, Professor Dunn chaired the Academic Affairs Committee of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) in 1991-93. As SACUA chair in 1996, he provided clear leadership on a number of important issues, from faculty grievance procedures and evaluations of deans and executive officers to discussions about academic freedom and the future of tenure. He chaired the Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty in 1997-98.

In the field of chemistry, Professor Dunn was one of the earliest scientists to work on large-molecule spectroscopy. His research on the benzene molecule resulted in the first band contour assignment of its lowest electronically excited state. His contributions to the electronic spectroscopy of inorganic complexes and crystal field theory were key to the renaissance of inorganic chemistry in the 1950s and 1960s. He also contributed to the general area of metal-ligand interactions in inorganic complexes, and he is recognized for his classic spectroscopic studies of gas phase, non-hydride and diatomic molecules.

Professor Dunn served as deputy editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society and wrote the book Chemistry for People Who Hate Science, a textbook for non-science majors.

In recognition of his devotion to the University and to the highest principles of faculty governance and his dynamic leadership, the University of Michigan presents to Thomas M. Dunn its Distinguished Faculty Governance Award.