Law Center to honor Dunn

Long-time director will be recognized for her service with Southwest Louisiana AIDS Council

The Southwest Louisiana Law Center will honor Marilyn Strait Dunn on Friday as the 23rd recipient of the Charles A. Downing Humanitarian Award.

She will be honored during a breakfast at the library at the Law Center and the award will be given during the formal Fall Court Opening in Courtroom A of the old courthouse.

Dunn was the long-time executive director of the Southwest Louisiana AIDS Council, remains on the board of SLAC, and volunteers with many local organizations.

In 1995, the Law Center established the Downing Humanitarian Award, which is named for Charles Downing, a local psychologist who provided thousands of hours of free counseling services for Law Center clients.

The award honors an individual who has made a significant impact by serving the under-represented in the community. Each year, the honoree is selected by previous Downing Award winners.

A native of Baton Rouge, Dunn is a graduate of McNeese State University. A long-time member of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, she is an ordained elder.

Dunn is a longtime member of the Junior League of Lake Charles, has served on the Lake Charles Symphony board, and was a founding member of the League of Women Voters.

In 1975, the Lake Charles Jaycees selected her as “Outstanding Young Woman of the Year,” in 1981 she received the Brotherhood Award from the local chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and in 2011, she was selected as a “Sustainer of the Year” for the Junior League.

After 20 years of volunteer service, Dunn went to work for the Educational and Treatment Council, Inc., in 1981.

In 1990, she became executive director of SLAC. At that time, the organization was staffed by volunteers and two employees. She began a crusade to educate the community about HIV/AIDS.

When Dunn retired from SLAC in 2006, the agency had grown to an organization of 17 employees. She serves on the board of SLAC, and is active in her church, with the Women’s Commission, and Liberty Bells.

Dunn and her late husband Bob were married for nearly 50 years. She has three children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.””Marilyn Dunn

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