Enrolling at WPI in 1974, Raymond Dunn ’78 had his heart set on a life in the sciences.
He majored in chemistry and, after his junior year, he took an internship with what was then Norton Company, a Worcester-based abrasives company.
The experience served its purpose, but not in the way Dunn expected.
“I was making experimental grinding wheels,” he says. “It was an excellent experience, but I found some things were missing, especially greater ‘people’ contact.”
Dunn altered his path. Reflecting on an anatomy and physiology class he took as a sophomore (“It was one of my favorite courses”), he decided more earnestly to pursue a career in medicine that had always been a consideration. He received guidance and encouragement from the late John van Alstyne, beloved mathematics professor and dean who was known as“van A” to students.
Today, thanks in large part to van Alstyne and WPI, especially the WPI Plan, he is chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. He’s also been an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at WPI since 1992.
Giving back to the community and his alma mater always has been in Dunn’s character. As a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, he donated time to Easterseals and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. He has served WPI as a member of the Biology and Biotechnology Advisory Board and the Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board. He and his wife, Beth, supported the Sports and Recreation Center by naming one of the lanes in the new swimming pool. More recently, he made a gift to name one of the 34 century-old limestone grotesques that gazed from the heights of Alumni Gymnasium, which was razed earlier this year to make way for the new Foisie Innovation Studio and Messenger Residence Hall.