SIU Alumni Association To Honor John Dunn As Distinguished Alumni

John Hubert Dunn is recognized as the father of gymnastics in the Pacific Northwest, and he began his involvement with the sport at SIU, as a team captain and six-time championship winner. Born in Pickneyville, Illinois, Dunn earned his bachelor’s degree in education from SIU in 1943, before entering the U.S. Navy as a communications officer and anti-submarine warfare officer aboard the destroyer, U.S.S. Shubrick. He participated in the Invasion of Normandy. After the war, he accepted a teaching position at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, where he earned his master’s degree in education, established a varsity gymnastics team and directed about 150 clinics and exhibitions in the region, which culminated in him setting up the Pacific Northwest College Gymnastics Meet, as well as the Washington State High School Gymnastics Meet.

Dunn earned a doctoral degree from the University of Illinois in 1960 and in 1962 accepted a teaching and coaching position at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb Illinois. There, he taught courses in kinesiology, physiology, and bio-mechanics and produced eight winning seasons in gymnastics out of ten. He earned NIU’s Excellence in Teaching award in 1968. Dunn retired in 1986 and established an endowed scholarship for bio-mechanic students at NIU. Dunn held positions in several national offices for collegiate athletics and has received numerous awards, including inductions into six halls of fame for his work in gymnastics. He was recently posthumously inducted into the SIU Athletic Hall of Fame for 2017. Dunn passed away in January 2016.