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Alumnus Honors His Teachers Through a Legacy Gift

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Redman and Ruth Dunham were teachers at Caruthersville High School.

How do you pay tribute to beloved members of the community and highlight their dedication to education? Earl Morris worked with the Southeast Missouri University Foundation to establish the Redman and Ruth Dunham Memorial Scholarship to honor treasured educators of the Caruthersville community, Redman and Ruth Dunham.

Earl, who graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1954, thought a scholarship would be a good way to bring the community together in memory of an admired teacher and principal.

A Caring Educator
"Anyone over 40 who went to Caruthersville High School has memories of Mr. Dunham," Earl says. "He called every student he ever had to wish them a happy birthday, even after they graduated. And, if he couldn't reach them personally, he left them a message with their folks."

Redman Dunham made birthday phone calls even after retirement and would call up to 15 people a day, just to wish them a happy birthday. He began this trend while he was the Caruthersville High School principal in 1945 and continued it for the next 30 years. He taught business education at Caruthersville High School for 38 years and was principal from 1946 to 1951. He retired in 1966 and passed away in 1993.

His wife, Ruth, also taught at Caruthersville High School as a music teacher for 30 years, retiring only one year before her husband. She passed away in 1998. Both Mr. and Mrs. Dunham were beloved by their community and have been sorely missed.

One of Earl's favorite memories of Mr. Dunham is from a time in high school when he and a friend skipped school to go fishing. They were caught, of course, by Mr. Dunham, but Earl says they didn't get into too much trouble, because Mr. Dunham "thought everyone should play hooky once in their lives."

Commemorating the Dunhams
When Earl discovered nothing had been done in the Caruthersville community to commemorate the memory of the Dunhams, he began looking for a way to do so. Earl established the scholarship, which he feels will be a great asset to the students of Caruthersville, and left part of his estate to the fund, but he hopes the community will also come together to support the scholarship.

The scholarship was made in two parts:

  • An endowment for $300,000, which will not be funded until Earl's death, and a restricted portion, which will fund the scholarship in the interim.
  • Earl made a cash contribution of $50,000, which will fund scholarships for the first three recipients.

"We need the support of past and present residents, graduates and friends of Caruthersville to keep this restricted portion financially sound until the endowment portion is received," Earl says.

Who Can Receive the Scholarship?
The Redman and Ruth Dunham Memorial Scholarship is available to any student who graduates from Caruthersville, Mo., who finished high school with a 3.0 GPA during their junior and senior years. The scholarship is available at the Southeast regional campuses as well as online.

Other details of the scholarship:

  • The recipient must attend Southeast Missouri State University in the fall semester following graduation from high school.
  • It is worth $2,000 a semester and can be renewed for a maximum of eight consecutive semesters.
  • The recipient must remain a full-time student and keep his or her grades at a minimum of 3.0 without any grade lower than a "C."
  • The scholarship will be awarded to graduates of Caruthersville High School each year and will begin fall semester 2014.

How You Can Help
To learn more about how you help Southeast students through endowed scholarships, or to contribute to the Redman and Ruth Dunham Memorial Scholarship, visit semofoundation.org or contact Trudy G. Lee, Ed.D. at 573.651.5935 or 888.812.3769 or tglee@semo.edu.

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