Baylor University Receives $6 Million Gift for School of Music

Late alumnus’ estate gift establishes the Dunn Center for Christian Music Studies

Photo: Harold Dunn, M.S. ’54, of Ballwin, Missouri.

Baylor University proudly announced the receipt of a generous $6 million estate gift from the late Harold W. Dunn of Ballwin, Missouri, supporting the School of Music’s Center for Christian Music Studies. Dunn, a Baylor alumnus and retired elementary school music teacher, bequeathed his entire estate to the University, marking the largest gift in the School of Music’s 100-year history.

In honor of this remarkable gift, the University has named the center the Dunn Center for Christian Music Studies. Dunn, M.S. ’54, passed away in December 2022.

“We are humbled by Harold Dunn’s transformational generosity,” said President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “We honor his life of incredible impact and celebrate his purposeful planning, which inspired him to leave his estate to Baylor to support Christian music education for future generations. This gift leaves an incredible legacy that honors his decades of music teaching and his family’s commitment to Christian education. We are truly grateful for Harold’s generosity and honored to share its impact with our Baylor Family.”

The approximately $6 million gift to the School of Music will support the Dunn Family Endowed Fund for the Center for Christian Music Studies, now known as the Dunn Center for Christian Music Studies. The Dunn Center naming commemorates Dunn, his parents, and sister, who all shared a Christian faith that guided their lives and philanthropy. The Dunn Center has a longstanding tradition of providing leadership in all aspects of Christian music, encouraging church musicians to develop their God-given potential and offering resources for their continued personal growth.

“Harold Dunn has left a transformational legacy, and we are grateful for the enduring support made possible through the Dunn Family Endowed Fund,” said Gary Mortenson, D.M.A., dean of the Baylor School of Music. “During a visit I made to St. Louis to meet Mr. Dunn along with Dr. Randall Bradley and members of the Men’s Choir, it was obvious to me that Harold delighted in connecting with our students, in hearing them perform and felt strongly about supporting the Church Music Program. He was a humble man who sought to make an impact in the ways we worship God through Christian music, and we are honored that he has entrusted us with this generous gift to fulfill that bequest through the Dunn Center for Christian Music Studies.”

Dunn was commemorated today during the meeting of the Center for Christian Music Studies Advisory Board for his support and in honor of his memory. The celebration of life was organized by Randall Bradley, D.M.A., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Music and director of the Dunn Center for Christian Music Studies.

“We are grateful for Harold Dunn’s generous bequest and for his encouragement during the many years of his life that he supported Christian Music studies here at Baylor,” Bradley said. “The Dunn Family Endowed Fund will truly provide permanent, sustaining support for the Dunn Center for Christian Music Studies, and we look forward to the new opportunities that will be possible because of this generous gift from his estate.”

Dunn led a simple life, retiring as an elementary school music teacher after more than 30 years in the classroom. He also authored a series of books, sharing amusing statements he witnessed during his teaching career.

A single man who deeply cared for his mother and sister, Dunn returned to Missouri to be with them after completing his graduate degree at Baylor and following his father’s death. He remained in close contact with them until their passing years later.

Dunn’s decision to leave his estate to Baylor stemmed from a desire to honor his family’s memory and their shared Christian faith, while making a difference in the lives of students – a goal he had pursued throughout his career as an elementary school teacher.

At Baylor’s Center for Christian Music Studies, Dunn found a place where music, education, and ministry converge in a powerful way. The Center serves as an academic hub, fostering transformational leadership in all aspects of Christian music on a daily basis.

For a quiet man who led a quiet life, Harold Dunn’s legacy is now forever ingrained in the foundations of the institution, echoing through future generations who will benefit and be inspired by his lasting impact at Baylor University.

Baylor publicly launched the Give Light campaign on Nov. 1, 2018. To date, the campaign has raised $1.29 billion. The Campaign has seen 88,685 alumni, parents, and friends contribute to the University’s priorities, establishing 791 endowed scholarships and 44 endowed faculty positions. For more information or to support Give Light: The Campaign for Baylor, visit

Image Source: Baylor University