CSU Service 1984 to 1996
Faculty, Department of Construction Management
Director, Rural Schools Project, 1996 to 2008
Wife, Judy A. Sorbie-Dunn
Children: Michael – Two grandchildren (Brendan & Ashley)
Patrick – Two grandchildren (Zachary & Kamron)
Karen – Two grandchildren (Cambria & Adie)
Jared – One grandchild (Zoe)
Bryan – Two grandchildren (Ava & Alexander)
Dick and his wife, Judy were married in 1988 and their joined family includes seven children, all of whom have graduated from college and are married. They have eleven grandchildren.
Born in and grew up in Arnold, Nebraska. Attended Elementary School -Gothenburg, NE, Junior High – Wichita, KS, and Senior High – North Platte, NE
Dick was recognized in 2004 by North Platte (Nebraska) High School as the first in his graduating class as a “Distinguished Alumnus” with his picture and a plaque on the Wall of Fame. The recognition was based upon “outstanding accomplishments and honors in business, education, humanitarian pursuits, service to community/state/nation, and service to youth.”
Military Service: U.S. Marine Corp (Korean War)
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
Bachelor of Architecture, 1960
Master of Architecture, 1978. Thesis: “Designing Tomorrow’s Newspaper Today (The
change from hot type [lead] to cold type [computer]).”
I was a practicing architect in Western Nebraska when I developed heart problems and was advised to give up practice and accept an offer to teach at the University of Nebraska where I completed my Master’s degree.
Employment Prior to CSU
- Three year architectural internship – Wimberley & Cook – Architects, Waikiki, Hawaii
- State Board Examinations – 1962; Licensed Nebraska 1962; Licensed Colorado 1963
- Registered with National Council of Architectural Board 1964
- Hahn & Dunn – Architects, North Platte, Ne. 1963 – 1977 (practicing architect – projects – included hospitals, colleges, schools, churches, commercial, institutional, residences).
- University of Nebraska (faculty) 1977 – 1980
- State of Nebraska (consultant) 1981 – 1983
He had his own architectural firm for twenty years in Western Nebraska, taught at the University of Nebraska for three years and at the same time was a consultant to the State of Nebraska for the restoration of the Nebraska State Capital. His professional work included commercial, governmental, educational, institutional, and residential. His building types ranged from single family to high rise structures.
Career Highlights that affected CSU career: Architectural experience of working with rural K-12 facilities and educational programs. Three years of faculty teaching and advising experience at the University of Nebraska.
What brought you to CSU to teach? I came to CSU because I wanted to be closer to Colorado
and our cabin at Red Feather Lakes. Fortunately CSU had an opening available for architect in CM
otherwise, I would have gone to CU.
What years were you at CSU? Construction Management Faculty, 1984-1996; Director, Rural Schools Project, 1996-2008
Positions and Departments:
- Faculty Teaching and Advising experience: 1984 – 1996. Included working with students as club sponsor for projects, field trips, national conventions and as a faculty coordinator of CM student work force. Sponsored 25 students annually to NAHB Annual Convention to observe new materials and techniques.
- Director of Rural Education Assistance Program 1986 – 1998. Assisted over 40 K12 rural schools with organizing students, faculty members, facilities, and program reviews. Prepared report of conditions, recommendations, cost estimates, assisted with bond issues, assisted with design/construction selection, and consulted with building construction.
- Director Emeriti’s REAP and Task Force Chair – 1998 – 2008 (Expert witness for rural schools that developed an inter-active audio-visual distant learning system for eighteen (18) K-12 rural school districts in Eastern Colorado. The system began operations in 2007 and added sixteen courses to each district’s curriculum for less than $25,000 annual operating cost. The system is being studied as a proto-type for rural schools across the state.
- During 1999 he served as an expert witness for the Colorado rural schools lawsuit against the state for equalization of educational opportunity as required by the State Constitution. Girodano vs. Colorado trial resulted in $190 million award for health and safety and in 2006 completed interactive audio-visual distant learning system for 18 K-12 school districts in Eastern Colorado (added 16 courses per district to curriculum). The Colorado Lawyers Association recognized Dick’s work on the lawsuit with their “2000 Special Recognition Award,” which was presented by Governor Owens.
Activities at CSU
Student Special Projects:
- Vietnam Era Bridge. CM students asked me to be faculty sponsor for construction of a campus symbol for the healing between the military veterans and the protesters of the Vietnam War. The bridge at the Student Union lagoon was the result.
- CM 50th Anniversary Student Project. CM students asked me to be faculty sponsor for their donation of a 3-story Addition to the Larico Youth Building on Matthews St. in Fort Collins.
- CM Student Work Force. I served as a faculty sponsor for student volunteer group to remodel various projects on campus (primarily remodel of class rooms into computer labs). Students gained experience and earned money for their education expense.
- Annual Homecoming Pancake Breakfast. This was a volunteer annual fundraising event for student activities that provided a central gathering point for Alumni during the Homecoming.
- National NAHB Faculty Advisory Board (1988-1996). Charter member of faculty advisory board to expand student participation at National Conventions. First year we had participation of 50 students. Five years later when I was the National Chairperson we had participation of 800 students.
What did you enjoy most about working at CSU? What I enjoyed the most at CSU was the satisfaction of knowing my work and my efforts were important to the students, the university, and the construction industry to all of whom I was responsible, plus I was fortunate to work with a faculty equally dedicated and a joy to be with. It was a very happy and professionally satisfying period in my life.
Accomplishments, Successes, Highlights
Highlights of my teaching career at CSU were threefold.
- The satisfaction of being involved with the educational development of the students, both individually and collectively. I experienced students who came into the program with no or little knowledge of the construction industry and after four years leave with a degree and a knowledge that they were prepared to manage all phases of a construction project.
- The satisfaction of being involved with students and faculty members who were willing to volunteer time from their busy schedules to improve the lives of others.
- Working with Dr. Gary Gehrig and Dr. James Parnell as they gave the leadership to our faculty to continually improve the student learning experience, plus enjoying the experience of seeing our CSU/CM program move from being part of the top ten programs nationally to the Number One ranked position.
Dick Dunn retired from the Construction Management faculty in 1994 but has stayed involved with Colorado State University. He has been active with the CSU Rural Education Assistance Program, attending college events, traveling with Judy to Europe and around the U.S.A., playing golf with his children and grandchildren, and especially enjoyable is the time spent with family at their cabin in Red Feather Lakes. He particularly enjoys hearing the success stories from CM students with whom he worked in the classrooms and in the student clubs.
The six year (2001-2007) effort shared with Dr. Patrick Burns and former faculty member Richard Hill working through REAP to create a proto-type inter-active, audio-visual, distant learning system for eighteen rural school districts in Eastern Colorado was a professionally rewarding endeavor. This project added sixteen courses to each of the educational curriculums at a very reasonable annual cost of $22,500 per district. Between family, friends, former students, and university colleagues, Dick has thoroughly enjoyed his retirement years.
Dick passed away in 2020.