Earl Dunn likes to make a difference, no matter how small, in each student’s life.
“I don’t care if you’re sad or you need help with homework,” Dunn said. “Anywhere where I can put a smile on someone’s face, that gives me joy because I’m making a difference. Maybe not on a grand scale, but if I touch someone everyday and make them smile, it’s the best thing in the world.”
Dunn, a senior, was voted Homecoming king of the Legion of Black Collegians’ 2015 Royalty Court.
Dunn proved to the committee that he was a great fit to represent the LBC. He is involved in the Black Business Student Association, the Black Programming Committee, True Tigers and the Alumni Mentor Program. Dunn also helped found a Phi Rho Eta fraternity chapter at MU.
Originally from Kansas City, Dunn studies finance and banking. He hopes to become a financial advisor to athletes stemming from his interests in sports.
“If I can help them with their finances, I’ll be helping them with their lives at the end of the day, because there’s no way you should be making $85 million and four years later, you’re filing for bankruptcy,” Dunn said.
For Dunn, the best part of LBC Homecoming was the friends he made.
“We built a super strong bond,” Dunn said. “Spending time with folks every single night until 12 a.m., you build a bond that’s like you are just truly happy that you did this experience. That’s what I love, honestly.”
Unfortunately on the morning of Oct. 5, Dunn and other students were victims of racism at a rehearsal for their play “The Mis-Educated.” At around 1 a.m., an intoxicated man walked across the stage at Tradition’s Plaza and fired racial slurs toward LBC members.
“I’ve never been through anything like that,” Dunn said. “When folks have said those experiences, I’ve been on the opposite end of saying, like, MU’s not really like that. But I’ve seen it first hand.”
Dunn looked back on his experiences as a black student at MU. He often is a minority in his classes, which makes him draw more attention from students.
“In the business school, I can maybe count 20, 25 African-American students,” Dunn said. “Sometimes when you walk in a classroom, you are reminded like you’re the only black student in there because everybody looks at you. It could be that they see me walk in. In other times, you just don’t know.”
When specific acts of racism occur, Dunn said that administrative punishment is needed to send the message that discrimination will not be tolerated at MU. Communication from the administration is critical, he said.
“More than anything, people here just want updates just to know our issues that we are facing haven’t been forgotten,” Dunn said. “I think that’s people’s biggest thing. We go a long time without hearing what happened or anything like that.”
Overall, Dunn does not fault administration for racial discrimination on campus.
“To Chancellor Loftin, I love him,” Dunn said. “He’s a good guy. I see his effort. And to administration, I would just like to thank them for everything they’ve done in the last three weeks. They’ve helped us get through our tough time. The fight isn’t over, but I’m glad I have a school that will have our backs. I appreciate you guys.”
In the future, Dunn hopes to see more inclusivity in Homecoming traditions.
“I don’t want folks to feel like LBC Homecoming tradition is less than the school’s Homecoming,” Dunn said. “I feel like we could be included in more. Even with the school’s Homecoming, we could just build a bond regardless of how we want to do certain things. We are all royalty in our own right.”
Dunn said MU has prepared him for jumping into the real world next year.
“I love this school,” Dunn said. “Every school has issues or problems, but I wouldn’t trade this school for the world, because this school is gonna help me in real life. I feel like I’m here for a reason. If I can spark some type of change or anything here at the school, I take that on because I’m making a difference for people younger than me that maybe are scared of what’s going to happen next.”