Although George Dunning isn’t an alumnus, his relationship to Loyola Marymount University is just as strong. His first connection with Loyola began in the 1960s when his mother requested that her pre-revolution Russian book collection be donated to the university upon her death. Then in 1984, he started a foundation and LMU was designated as a beneficiary.
Dunning is a former LMU trustee and the former chair of the Dean’s Council for the College of Communication and Fine Arts. He has helped fund the Robert B. Lawton Plaza and the George A.V. Dunning Conference Room as well as contributing to many music scholarships.
“Young people need better education,” Dunning said. “Higher education is extremely important and it’s difficult to do it on your own these days.”
Although Dunning doesn’t live locally, he has attended several special LMU events including the dedication of the Thomas P. Kelly Jr. Student Art Gallery. As chair of the Dean’s Council, he said he is pleased with the direction the college is headed and hopes that it continues to expand.
“[The college has grown] in a direction I never dreamed possible,” Dunning said. “I hope we can continue with the scholarship work going on and attract new donors to let the scholarships grow in size and number.”
Dunning has always had a love for music and art. He also currently serves as a board member of the Arizona Opera and he is a former board member of the Los Angeles Opera. He said he especially appreciates the classics, operas and symphonies.
“I’ve always been fond of the saying, ‘Art is the guarantee of sanity,’” Dunning said. “Music is the expression of a person.There is still good music around the world and it’s so invigorating to listen to it.”
As for the future of LMU, Dunning said that “LMU is on its way to getting its place as the No. 1 Catholic university of the West Coast. It all started with Father Lawton and now it’s up to us to go from there.”