Former Tennessee Gov. Winfield Dunn shared his experiences with Belmont students as part of a convocation lecture on Wednesday. Students learned how throughout Dunn’s adult life his over-riding business and professional interests centered on healthcare. He was also very involved in the growth and development of the Tennessee Republican Party, first in Memphis and later throughout the state, and has remained active in the political life of Tennessee for more than 50 years.
Dunn was governor of Tennessee from 1971 to 1975 .He was the state’s first Republican chief executive in fifty years, and he was only one of six Republican governors since the Civil War.
His accomplishments as governor were numerous. In addition to his successful efforts in reorganizing Tennessee’s executive branch, Dunn created the Department of Economic and Community Development. Also during his tenure, highway construction boomed and state employees received much needed pay raises.
Perhaps most noteworthy is that his accomplishments occurred in the context of a divided government. Dunn worked productively with a Democratic-controlled General Assembly, and extended state appointments to members of both parties. Forty years later, his administration offers political observers a model of cooperation, moderation and legislative achievement.
The convocation was made possible through support of Richard Treadway, chairman of Polaris Hospital Company and co-founder of Psychiatric Solutions Inc. Treadway a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the Massey School of Business at Belmont University and is a distinguished member of Belmont’s McWhorter Society.