Rita Dunn
{ "" }
Share Rita's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Dr. Rita Dunn, professor at St. John's University for nearly 40 years, died August 1 at her home in Pound Ridge after a short but valiant struggle with breast cancer. Dr. Rita Dunn, an authority on learning styles, a professor in the Division of Administrative and Instructional Leadership and the director of the Center for the Study of Learning and Teaching Styles became an inspiring, internationally renowned professor of higher education; prolific author of 32 textbooks and more than 450 manuscripts and research papers; the recipient of 31 professional research awards, and expert on using individual learning styles to improve teaching. During her career at St. Johns, Dr. Dunn mentored more than 160 doctoral students, many of whom now occupy positions of leadership throughout the world.

In 1995, Dr Dunn received St. John's University's highly competitive first Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. She and her doctoral students have been involved in 37 years of prize-winning research. Researchers at more than 130 institutions of higher education have participated in international research on the Dunn and Dunn Model and have published more than 830 studies.

Everyone who ever encountered Rita recognized that she possessed unusual talent and extraordinary virtue. She demonstrated a deep and charming humanity to everyone she met from the humblest student to the most exalted academic dignitary. She left everyone with the unforgettable imprint of her endearing personality.

Rita was a woman who possessed unusual intellectual abilities. Along with her manifold personal qualities she had a powerful analytical intelligence. Her devotion to education was unparalleled.

In these final weeks she was comforted by the loving presence of her family, friends, students, and colleagues. Professor Dunn is survived by her husband, Dr. Kenneth Dunn, professor at Queens College, daughter, Rana, four sons, Richard, Robert, Kerry, and Kevin, and an extended loving family. A Memorial Service will be held at St. John's University on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 5:00 PM.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in New York Times from Aug. 7 to Aug. 8, 2009.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Ritas daughter Rana Dunn
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
262 entries
November 12, 2020
I just learned of the passing of Dr. Dunn. She was my professor at St. John’s for many years until I graduated in 1979. She was an outstanding person and loved work and her students. She would frequently invite me along with many of her other students to her home for a barbecue and was always available to support her students. There will never be another Dr. Rita Dunn. She will be missed by all.
Robert Di Dio, MS.Ed. Class of 1976 and 1979
Robert Di Dio
August 2, 2020
Sue Tendy
August 1, 2020
In loving memory of a special, dedicated, beautiful person-Dr. Rita Dunn. Who continues to inspire all of us who had the honor of knowing her in education and beyond. Her enthusiasm and passion for her work and the care and love and mentorship she gave to each one of her students and all the young people she met is unmatched at St. John's University. There will never be another one like her. RIP Dr. Dunn -we miss you.
Joanne Persico
August 1, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Grace Ibanez Friedman, E.d.D.
August 7, 2019
Always in our hearts
A part of ever day
For encouraging to do well
In humanitarian
Learning Styles ways
Marjorie Schiering
August 6, 2019
It has been 34 years since I worked with you on my Doctorate@ St Johns University. I am happily retired for two years.You change my life Dr. Dunn. I still think of you often.THANK YOU for all you have done for me and others.We all miss you.
Dr. Harold MacMurren
August 6, 2019
I have had you on my mind these past few weeks. Your words of wisdom and encouragement continue to inspire me. Thanks for believing in me and seeing my purpose. I miss you Dr. Dunn
Dr. Dena Butterfield-Phipps(Lister)
August 5, 2019
Dr. Rita Dunn will live always in my heart and professional pursuits!
Sandra Bethel
August 1, 2019
Rita was a truly generous colleague, ever encouaging as I moved towards my tenure. She gave several opportunities to serve on doctoral committees to widen my expertise. For which I am so grateful. She attended a conference (with Rana) where I lead a panel. She periodically invited me to lunch. In other words she mentored me. A blessing.
Grace Ibanez Friedman
March 24, 2019
I still think of you and miss you,My Friend and teacher.
Dr. Harold MacMurren,Esq.
June 14, 2018
Dr. Dunn,
I just learned of your passing today and am deeply saddened. I will always cherish the professional development you provided to Middle School 226 at the request of then principal Rhia Warren many moons ago. More recently, I cited your work in many academic papers while working on a terminal degree.
You are missed.
Warm regards,
Dr. Gail Mazyck
July 29, 2017
Tonight and so many other times I am remembering your beautiful and caring, dedicated and mentoring mom. May perpetual light shine upon her. xoxo Joanne Persico
April 8, 2017
I cannot count the times Rita has crossed my mind or I have referenced or mentioned her since I met her almost 15 years ago. I was bless to go to NY for her workshop one summer after finishing my masters of which her work was a huge part. To study under her was like meeting the queen. The 2nd day with her we hit it off. Every time she said something I wanted to shout Yes!. She asked me to do my doctorate at St. Johns and even offered to let me stay her and her husband in their home. I was married, and so I gracious declined. I look back and can hardly believe that I declined. It was the right road for me though, bc Rita was on that road with all the way. I never left the classroom to be an administrator bc I knew I could do more good in the classroom and doing trainings for teachers than as an admin. After 31 years of teaching, I am retiring from the classroom mid May, 2017. But I am taking all the knowledge and wisdom I gained from Rita with me as I begin full time with my own company training teachers, admin, parents, and students to Learn how to Learn. Rana, your mother was so amazing! She was intelligent and gracious, and was so much fun! Thank you for letting me share. Tammy Pallares M.T. Broken Arrow, OK
Tammy Pallares
July 18, 2016
today as I was driving to work, I was thinking about Rita and the impact she has had on my life and career. I will carry her legacy and ensure that children are taught through their learning styles.
Dr. Dena Butterfield-Phipps
July 16, 2016
Dear Ms.Rana,
In behalf of the Filipino teachers, I send my deepest condolences to your family.
I met your mom in the Philippines many years have passed. Mrs. Rita Dunn is the best! She will always be remembered.
Maria Marin
December 30, 2015
Dear Dr. Dunn,

You are still present! Learning Styles theory is central to my teaching philosophy and practice. Whenever I present on this topic, I begin by stating that it has been my extreme good fortune to have been taught by YOU! My presentation style channels you - you taught us how to "read" and "work" the room. I can still hear your voice paying me one of my life's most memorable compliments, "Darling, you remind me of me when I was younger" Thank you for sharing yourself and believing in me. YOU are Unforgettable!
Linda Cimino
September 15, 2015
Dear Rana,
My name is Theresa (nickname Terri). I'm from Canada. Joan della Valle will remember me. I visited NYC and took a course at the WTC with your mom in 1989. I will never forget her talking about her daughter, Rana. I'm sure it is not news that she absolutely adored you. I wanted to write that to encourage you. I remember her sharing the meaning of your name, and talking about you with a great deal of love in her voice. And I thought that your mom was pretty adorable, too. Here is a wonderful link to a girl who saw heaven : . ♥ Terri 310-935-5080 if you want to text and say hello
Theresa (Terri) Hamel
April 13, 2015
Dear Dr. Dunn,
Almost every day as I continue to work at St. John's -there is something or someone that triggers my thoughts back to you- "Red Shoes"-"networking" -your office decor-your passion for your work and your ability to give people like me confidence and guidance to pursue big goals will never be forgotten-in fact-like a fine wine I think the appreciation grows over time. Love you Dr. Dunn xoxo joanne
joanne persico
April 12, 2015
Dear Rita,you will be missed every day.thank you for your love and guidance with your grandson and my son Ryan.
steve Mosler
February 6, 2015
You are missed. You & Robert gave life to learning styles. Together you made a great team. You were visiting a professors at Texas A&I now TAMUK. within me you planted the seed of Learning Styles. The vine continues to give fruit to students by using different learning styles. Hence, your work continues in Fredonia, Kansas by one of your students that grew in South Texas. Your legacy will continue and I can only hope my students will continue with your work. With much respect and admiration Mr. Roberto Barrera Jr. February 6, 2015
Roberto Barrera
September 8, 2014
Dear Rita
You had a massive impact on me in the short time we communicated. Thank you for touching my life.
Colin Hankinson (Chester, UK)
August 2, 2014
Rana: I recall so vividly the pride that your mother introduced us @ the CLACS event years ago @ SJU. I miss her spirit of collegiality and genuine interest in all things human. She was a great role model for me. May she RIP on her fifth anniversary of her sudden passing. Dr. Grace Ibanez Friedman Best to you personally and all your family.
Grace Ibanez Friedman
August 1, 2014
Dear Professor Dunn, Oh how I miss you more and more. I have never met another like you. I always think of you and what you did for me. You are so loved by all who knew you.
Barbara Salvione
July 31, 2014
Dearest mom,
Tonight July 31 , 5 years ago I held you through the night just you and me not knowing that you would not wake on August 1. They say time heals , but I do not believe that to be true. The truth is living without your palpable presence nice in our lives is heartbreaking still. Ryan graduated law school in 2010 and we had wished you there. Your essence is everywhere all the time . I am blessed with having been raised by you therefore as I am able to feel you in my life movements , my thought process , my abilities as a mother of your grandson. You taught me to persevere no matter what . All things have solutions we just need to be bold enough to find them and make them happen. Well last year I did just that. Ryan's life was saved because of that very teaching. He was cured of AVM and is now recovering and beginning to live with passion and zeal again. I prayed to you, talked to you wrote notes to asking for you to guide us in this very difficult time. I believe deep down inside that your presence has been by far the driving and palpable force behind the search for a doctor to cure him? That cure came on August 22, 2013. What a gift. Mom, Ryan became a lawyer in 2010 . He is living in a constant state of experiencing your essence surrounding him. We miss you deeply. I am extraordinarily grateful that you were chosen to be my mother. I am uber proud and honored that you are and will always be.

I cannot believe that it is 5 years since I have seen you , held your dainty hand and chuckled and your coy and smart insights about life .

I continue to grow in your likeness and the boys say it is scary how much I am like you year after year.

May you always be the shiniest star in the nights sky as you promised me you would be . I love you immensely and with such depth.

All my love mamma
Your daughter Rana
Rana Dunn
January 11, 2014
For me, what Rita taught comes to the foreground every day at home, or in the classroom, or watching a movie, and actually, wherever I may be. This is because her lessons are interwoven in the fabric of my life.I would suppose many others, when reflecting on this one woman who brought so much to education, find this to be true as well.
You are always missed,dear Rita, but you live on in what we do as human beings who care about one another, and especially in how we teach.. Lv 2 u and those who believe our life is forgiving....for giving, Marjorie Schiering
January 10, 2014
I still miss you,my teacher and friend. Your student
Dr. Harold MacMurren
January 8, 2014
K. Dianne Stephens, LMSW, LPCC
How she inspired everyone she met! A humble parent, sent in 1984 from a small Pennsylvania community parent association to bring back information on Learning and Productivity Styles, Rita said to me "Go get your degree!" And so I did...several actually. In my counseling practice, Rita's training holds an important role in guiding my clients to successful productive living. I can honestly say, Learning and Productivity Styles is at the top of my list of “most valuable” skills to incorporate in all aspects of living. I believed, and did a research project which supported my
theory...”Criminals...A Matter of Style”. I am still convicted of the importance of her work. Rita breathed a great deal into my life...and for all of it I am grateful. She continues to inspire and lives on!!
K. Dianne Stephens, LMSW, LPCC
December 2, 2013
"Memories don't love like people do
They always stay with you"

I live the memory of Dr. R. Dunn everyday when I stand before my students.
Sandra Bethel
November 29, 2013
Just learned of my dear friend/mentor's passing

Dr Rita Stafford Dunn was my inspiration and my Hunter college student teaching professor. She was responsible for my getting my
first teaching job at the Bay Terrace Elementary school. I remember that first year of teaching. Several of the teachers were talking about getting their Master's Degree but I was not interested. I had had enough schooling or so I thought. Then Dr. Dunn came to the school for a visit and when she saw me her first question to me was, "When are you starting your masters ? Without skipping a beat, I replied..."This summer!" I shocked even myself but knew I could not let her down. She had that kind of faith in and influence on me. I got my M.S. And never regretted it for a minute. I went on to have a successful career in broadcasting, on camera, writing and producing an Emmy winning PBS documentary. I always felt that she would have preferred me to continue in education, but when I spoke with her over the years she seemed proud of me. I certainly was blessed to have known her. Rita Dunn, as beautiful inside as she was on the outside. You will be missed ya the many students who will never got the opportunity to be touched by the angel you are.
Suzanne Lasky-Gerard née Schlesinger
April 4, 2013
Always remembered fondly in Brunei... We met for just a few days and remember so much of what she shared. Bless her for the beautiful legacy she started for us. Happy Birthday Dr Rita... ! And to you... how wonderful to share birthdays.. that is so special. xox
April 3, 2013
You are fortunate to have such wonderful memories of your mother. Her legacy lives on through you even in you resolve to let her legacy live on through this forum. Happy Birthday to you and may the coming year bring you ever increasing strength.
Sandra Bethel
April 2, 2013
Dear Mom ,
Today is your birthday 4/2/2013. we always celebrate our birthdays together and i miss that so much. All my love always
Your daughter
Rana Dunn
April 2, 2013
Cousin Jerry , Cousin Ira And Mom
Rana Dunn
December 15, 2012
Rana, I am so sorry to hear of Rita's passing. I was her interior designer for the Aiken, S.C. home. She was an incredible person and was so proud of y?ou and her boys. Can you please send me Ken's address so I may send him a note? My husband & I shared many lovely times with Rita & Ken.
December 15, 2012
Rana, I was saddened to learn of your mom's death. I have tried to locate you and Ken to send a card, to no avail. I was the interior designer your mom & Ken hired for the Aiken, S.C. home and I also did some work on the Pound Ridge home. I came for your mom's 70th birthday party. Can you send me Ken's address so I may send him a note?
Your mom was the most remarkable person. She loved you and her boys and
left you a great legacy.
Jeanette Williamson
Augusta, Georgia
November 18, 2012
To the family and relatives of Rita Dunn,
Dr. Dunn continues to be my advisor and mentor as I pursue my doctoral studies with an emphasis in learning styles. That is how her memory lives on in me and for me.
I continue to keep her memory alive everyday as you have done. I work and study in her honor.
Best wishes for your continued healing regarding her higher calling which took her away from us physically.
Sandra Bethel
St. John's University
Sandra Bethel
November 13, 2012
Dearest Rana: We met when your mom brought us together @ a function held at SJU; she made sure to introduce us. After her passing I served as an unofficial mentor in her stead to one of her favorite graduate students. She had shared how much he meant to her. He dedicated the dissertation to her. He suffered greatly and was shocked as I was to learn of her illness and what seemed her sudden death. But her memory
lives on in each of us who loved and respected her. Best always, Dr. Grace Ibanez Friedman, now retired from SJU.
November 12, 2012
I recently commented to my corporate attorney daughter that when she was 2, I read a book called "How to Raise Independent and Professionally Successful Daughters." Taken aback, she said, "Well, I guess you achieved your goal!!" Her sister's film had a world premier at MOMA this spring. I looked up the book on Amazon to see if I was dreaming (read it in 1980), and sure enough, there it was!! This book was very helpful to me as a mom, and as you can see, your mom's advice was very sound.
Elizabeth Johnson
May 9, 2012
Dear Rana,
Yesterday was the Doctorial hooding for the St. John's graduates. I thought and prayed for your mother frequently throughout the ceremony. She believed in me and continues to inspire me. She is not forgotten.
Coach Joanne Persico
joanne persico
April 23, 2012
Dear Rana: I was updating my address book and decided to Google Ken and Rita. Sorry to learn of your mom's passing. Please accept my condolences and convey them to Ken for me. I tried calling him unsuccessfully and writing but my note was returned to me. I worked for Ken at TEC for seven years. During that time he met and married Rita. They were perfect together! Sincerely, Mary (Callaghan) Stealey
Mary Stealey
April 6, 2012
Dear Rana:
We met once at St. John's. Your Mother was my mentor, we all admired her so, and learned so much from her in so
many areas. A quick math
exercise tells me this is your
50th Birthday. Mark this milestone as a tribute to your Mom. I will always remember her.
Dr. Sue Tendy
April 2, 2012
Today is mothers birthday April 2, 1929, my birthday is April 4, 1962 she and I celebrated our birthdays together. I miss the birthday celebrations we shared, I miss her I love you mom and Happy Birthday.

Love Rana
Rana Dunn
September 2, 2011
I have continued to keep Dr. R Dunn alive through her work. I am working on my PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. Very integral to my work is research into the application of learning styles in NY city public schools. I am committed to see more teachers buy into the strategies of identifying students' individual learning styles using the appropriate instrument developed by Dunn and Dunn as well as implementing strategies that speak to the identified learning styles of students.
To the family, relatives, friends and colleagues of Dr. Dunn, please feel comforted in the work that will go on in Dr. Dunn's honor.
Sandra Bethel
August 6, 2011
My heart is so sad. I was meaning to contact Rita for some time now. Then today I decided to search for her on the Internet and I see this - a poignant reminder not to procrastinate contacting our family and friends. I met Rita while working on my Masters in Education in Adult Education. I created an online university course about learning styles with Rita. I miss this beautiful woman.
Dayna Mooney
Dayna Mooney
May 12, 2011
I attended SJU in the mid 1970s and completed my Masters in Ed. I was frequently told that I am getting my Masters in Dunn because I took so many of her classes and often spoke about the Dunn's theories. I loved the leading edge thoughts that Rita (and Ken Dunn) presented to us.
Most memorable was her class and book "How to Raise an Independant and Professionally Sucessful Daughter". Since then, my husband and I followed many of Dr Dunn's theories and we raised three lovely, professionally sucessful daughters (and one son).
The Dunns gave me the wonderful gift of thinking outside the box.
Elizabeth Martinez
April 11, 2011
April 11, 2011
Dr. Rita Dunn was mu mentor. I clearly remember the time working together with this wonderful, beautiful lady. She influenced my life, the life of my own family and my students. Dr. Rita Dunn told me some great stories about her own childhood and her life. She was very proud of her children and her family. Forever I am going to miss her. I feel privileged of knowing her.
Biljana Ragusa
September 1, 2010
I'm hoping this Guest book will continue to be online to keep Rita's memory close to us.
Bless her for all the lives she has touched so deeply.
She is dearly missed. May her spirit continue to live on always.
Jacqui Chin
September 1, 2010
It's hard for me to imagine that it has already been one year, and I can still vividly picture her and hear her voice as if it were yesterday. She loved her students, and she has been the biggest influence in my life. Because of her, I continue on my road of life and career, looking to make the more positive choices that will benefit all in various subjects of life.
She was a true definition of dedication to job, family, and life. And to all those who had the opportunity of knowing her, we know she was a godsend, a one-of-a-kind, and her imprint on all of us, in our minds and hearts, shall remain there for as long as we are here and teach her teachings to others. God bless her, and her family.
Paul Juarez
July 30, 2010
Tomorrow to the day is 1 year since my mother passed away. I am reflecting upon today especially because I did not know that today would have been the last opportunity I had to spend with my mom who for me was the only person who really truly loved her children and grandchildren unconditionally as only a great mother/grandmother does naturally. I am a very lucky woman to have had such an extraordinary mother. Last year excatly to the day I spent the day and the evening with her. I could not comprehend that it would be the last time I would hold her, be with her, talk to her. We fell asleep together and she passed away very quietly in my arms . As all of you go about your lives, please do not forget that we are living in the moment the next moment is not promised. Therefore, in that one moment that you realize is all you have, please take a moment to think of her and pass on something inspirational to another human being this weekend as she would have done naturally in her day to day life .
Rita's Daughter
June 22, 2010
Although I never met Dr. Rita Dunn in person, I will never forget her name. 24 years ago she sent me a copy of her workshop materials "Diagnosing Learning Styles" which I still have it until now. She has changed the world of education forever and changed the life of many people all over the world.
Thanks to the Dunn Family and Dr. Rita Dunn Education Foundation for the support.
Fairry Krishantini
May 19, 2010
My Mothers Cherry Blossoms
Rana Dunn
May 19, 2010
We want to keep our Mother's Legacy alive. Therefore, we invite all of you to visit the Dr Rita Dunn Education Foundation at: www.drritadunneducationfoundation.org founded by Rana Patrice Dunn and the Dunn family. Her work was genuine and I quote Mom when she said "sweetheart, I changed the world of education forever"

Thank you to all of you for your loving and generous support of the foundation.
Rana Dunn
May 11, 2010
Dr. Rita Dunn taught me in Seattle, when she visited as a guest professor at Seattle Pacific University in 1983. She changed my life and the lives of my students in grades 5-12, at colleges and universities where I've taught for the last 27 years. Her work is transformational. I was blessed to have an opportunity to learn from her and value the lessons every day of my life. Many blessings to those who loved her and followed her teachings.

Lynne Cox, Oregon
Lynne Cox
February 24, 2010
Dear Ken,
It's been years! I just learned of Rita's passing. She was a very special lady - a star who shined a little brighter. Please accept my deepest sympathy. We will forever be grateful for her works. Using your learning styles model greatly enhanced our effectiveness in helping at-risk students. Untold thousands realized success in learning and teaching - sometimes for the first time - because of your research and strategies. I treasure the friendship and professional relationships enjoyed with you and Rita. Bitsy Thomas, Dallas, TX. - Center for Success in Learning, Success Strategies Institute
Bitsy Thomas
February 2, 2010
To Dr. Dunn's family,

Every day I think of Dr. Dunn. I was a grad student in her learning styles class in 1992. Although I decided I did not want to be a teacher, I remember how she impressed me by helping me to understand the different ways that children can learn. My son is now 14, and learns very differently than I do....I would never have understood that without her class. I have allowed him to express his flexible and creative personality, and he has excelled in ways that I know are a direct result of that. She was very special, and unforgetable.
Randi Chakrin
Randi Chakrin
January 29, 2010
I was her graduate student and worked with her for 6 years.I loved her and will always remember her.She changed my life.Dr.Harold MacMurren
January 2, 2010
Dearest Ken and Family,
I'm so sorry to hear of Rita's passing. She was such an inspiration to me, and to many teachers, students, and school administrators all over South Carolina. She will surely be missed. I will always remember the great times we had in your South Carolina home. You and Rita were so welcoming and gracious to your guests. Dear Ken, please take care of yourself. Rita would want you to go on and continue spreading the joy of the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles model. The knowledge and application of it has changed the lives of students and teachers across the world.
Alice Sheehan
November 10, 2009
I am saddened to hear of Rita's passing. I have been a student of and did my doctoral dissertation in learning styles. I had the priviledge of meeting her only once at a conference in Muncie, Indiana, but will never forget her or her work. She inspired many.
Dan Parry
November 6, 2009
Ka kite ano Rita.

Rita’s passing is going to leave a huge hole. For her family and friends she holds a very special place but she has also influenced hundreds of thousands of children and adults worldwide through her work with Ken and others.

She lived an amazing life and I am sure she will live on through her work after those of us who knew her are long gone.

In the words of Jules Verne “Whatever one man is capable of conceiving, other men will be able to achieve”. Rita has set the goal; it is now up to others to achieve it.

Cathy and Peter Hide
New Zealand ILSN
November 2, 2009
Words cannot express my grief. Ironically, in August, I sent Dr. Dunn an email, telling her how over the past 27 years she has remained my mentor. More ironically, on Weds. I will be making a presentation to my faculty about learning styles. I will not get through it without tears.
Dr. Cynthia Gingold
October 29, 2009
My heart is saddened by this huge loss to our field. I only know of Dr. Dunn through reading her work while in the process of completing my doctoral degree in education in curriculum and instruction. As a 30-year veteran of Illinois public schools, it was both enriching and validating to find a research base that supported what I had learned from direct experience, both as a learner and as an educator of 'regular' and 'special ed' learners. I will continue to use Dr. Dunn's work to advocate for teaching the way students learn, and send my prayers to her family, colleagues, and friends.


(Soon to be Doctor)
Ellen Silver-Horrell
October 24, 2009
I was inspired to travel from Australia to New York (my first trip ever on a passport) due to my desire to learn more about the Dunn and Dunn learning style model.
I found Rita to be motivational, intelligent and driven, as well as one very nice person.
Rita, you changed the world - well done and thanks.
Jeffrey Thorpe
October 23, 2009
i was a participant of her workshop at Oswego NY some 24 years ago...her humanity and passion to improve lives stood out and remains with me. My prayers to her famly!
Bob Audley
Bob Audley
October 22, 2009
May you rest in peace. Your model and works will contineusly by others....
rahmah mokhtar
October 20, 2009
Rita Dunn has meant a lot to me. I have met her in New York at the Institutes twice and also several times in Sweden. She has inspired me and taught me a lot and always when I have sent a question, she answered very quickly and there seemed always to be time for me.
My warmest regards to her family.
Kerstin Hjelm
October 15, 2009
I am so sad to read of the passing of Dr. Rita Dunn. Though I never meet her she was my mentor even though I lived in Queensland Australia. During my teaching career when I realised all children do learn differently, I turned for professional help and found Rita and Ken. They gave me the confidence to proceed with their learning Styles Model in my classroom. I shall be always endebted and may Dr. Rita Dunn's practices and wisdom live on for the beneift of future generations
Kathleen Layton
October 12, 2009
I really miss my mentor. I'll always have a place in my heart filled the kind words and strong passion she passed on to me and all she came in contact with. Forever in my heart.
October 11, 2009
Dear Ken, Ricky, Rana, Robert, Ryan, and extended family members:

It is with heartfelt sympathy that I mourn the passing of your wife, mother, and grandmother. She was an indomitable force in your lives while touching the lives of millions of people around the world. Rita loved her family, her world of teaching, presenting, mentoring, and being a friend to countless numbers of people including those she adopted as family members. I was fortunate to participate in the 1994 International Learning Style Institute, meet Rita and Ken, whereupon my life was forever changed.

Rita and I forged a business relationship and a friendship that together made our relationship stronger as the years passed. In 2007, she asked that I succeed her as the Director of the International Learning Style Network (ILSN) to afford her the opportunity to focus more on her students and writing. Laughter flowed as she said, “Now remember, you are not replacing me, only succeeding me!” At that point, the laughter turned silly: it was one of those cathartic moments that live on forever. Our memories are indelibly etched in my mind and my heart. Rita will forever be one of two women who had a resolute influence on my life. The other was my best friend, my mother.

A few nights before your mother/grandmothers passing, I called and asked that she listen for a moment. I then sang her a song that touched me so deeply last year in Turkey when she sang it to teachers demonstrating how to teach children the days of the week. Once I began singing, she joined me, a moment I shall forever cherish.

For you from your mother and grandmother – a woman of multifaceted talents – she is singing to you now and always!

I love you on Sunday
I love you on Monday
I love you on Tuesday and all the week through
On Wednesday and Thursday
On Friday and Saturday
I’m always loving you--I Do!

You have a special guardian angel watching over you forever and always.

From my heart to yours,

Love Always, Susan Rundle
October 11, 2009
Professor Rita Dunn

It is with great sadness that we in the Danish Learning Styles Community mourn the passing of Dr. Rita Dunn. At the same time we are thankful, and we gratefully acknowledge and celebrate what Dr. Dunn has meant to each of us individually and to our professional activities – whether in the educational sector or beyond.

Here we speak not only on behalf of those individuals who are formally attached to the two Danish LS centers, but also on behalf of those many teachers, pedagogical consultants and others who are able to work with the Dunn & Dunn Learning Styles concept today because they were fortunate enough to meet Rita, participate in a LS Institute and learn about Learning Styles at a crucial point in their professional lives.

The Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model has touched many lives and been a turning point for many people – old and young – in Denmark.

In the Danish Learning Styles Community, we are thankful because Rita helped us introduce and spread the good tidings about Learning Styles by coming to Denmark to introduce Learning Styles at many major events in recent years. We gratefully acknowledge how this has impacted on a large number of people and their teaching practices.

Rita’s research and her publications – some of these even translated into Danish – and personal contact with so many colleagues when they were working their way into the world of Learning Styles, has made the Dunn & Dunn Learning Styles concept very concrete and approachable for so many colleagues around the country.

We celebrate what we in Denmark have been able to achieve because of Rita – her contribution to the 2008 International Learning Styles Institute in Aarhus and the launch of the major Learning Styles project in the Municipality of Aarhus as late as February of this year are pertinent examples of this.

We express our condolences and deepest sympathy with Ken and the extended Dunn family. Thank you for sharing not only Dr. Rita Dunn – the highly respected professor and Learning Styles expert – with us, but also the warm, generous and humorous woman who was simply Rita.

May she rest in peace.

For the Danish Learning Styles Community:
ASB LEARNING STYLES LAB – Ole Lauridsen and Karen M. Lauridsen
Cubion | SIS akademi – Peder Kjøgx and Marianne Bruun Okholm
October 6, 2009
I am an aspiring professor and I am researching learning styles for my dissertation. I thought of exposing my prospective students to her model and thought I would search for the price of the inventory. It was in my search that I found out that she is no longer with us. I am sorry to hear and I am glad I knew of her work, which I first saw in a literature review by Coffield, et al. I am also glad that I have the opportunity to expose my prospective students to it. May God comfort her family in this time. Long live her legacies!

Chevanese Samms (PhD Candidate)
Louisiana State University
Chev Samms
September 28, 2009
My deepest regrets to the family. It was indeed a pleasure, a delight and a humbling experience to have been under the tutelage of Dr. Dunn. She was truly a beautiful person and teacher. Having received instruction from her during the summers of '03/'04 during the Learning Styes workshops will be something I will always remember. Thank you Dr. Dunn for your love and your passion for children and for your work. You are sadly missed.
Waverley Minors - Dellwood Middle School - Bermuda
C. Waverley Minors
September 24, 2009
A wonderful lady with unparalleled passion for her work..........she will always be remembered as a stalwart in the education community as a pioneer in recognizing learning styles as an integral component of student achievement. Thank you Rita and my condolences to Ken and their children.

Sid Baker
NC Teacher Academy
Sid Baker
September 22, 2009
St. Maarten/St. Martin is a small island in the Dutch and French West Indies. However, your life has impacted children, parents, and educators in this region also. Your life has been one of purposeful impartation to many, of which I am proud to be a part.
Aster Allen
September 22, 2009
Dear Ken and Family:
I am so sad to learn only today of Dr. Dunn's passing. She was such an inspiration to us all, sharing her home, her life, her family with all of us, as we did with her. I would have never finished my doctoral degree if it were not for her energy and enthusiasm. I hope to impart that same energy to my students.
Sue Tendy
September 18, 2009
On behalf of Language Magazine's readers, I would like to thank Rita for her inspirational articles. Her work has touched so many people and will continue to do so for many years to come.
Daniel Ward - Editor
September 17, 2009
It was with great sadness that I learned of her death last night. Both Rita and Ken taught me so much about learning styles and inspired me to be my best.I will always treasure my memories of her.
Darlene Malach-Vourman
September 15, 2009
Celebrating a life well lived. We will cherish the memories forever.
Sandra Bethel
September 15, 2009
Rita Dunn made a big difference in my life. I think about her special qualities while teaching both young children as well as graduate students.
Lynne Dolle
September 13, 2009
Dear Ken, Rana, Robert, Ricky, Kerry, and Kevin,

I have only recently learned of the profound contribution your wife and mother made to improve the lives of so many. I am beginning a journey through the doctoral process at Western Connecticut State University under the loving guidance of Dr. Karen Burke, a staunch champion of Rita's work, as I, in turn, have swiftly become in my own school building.

The legacy Rita leaves behind is staggering and I am sure all the children in your family have already accomplished or are destined to accomplish great things. Rest assured that your beloved wife and mother have changed the world forever in one of the most important ways.

In deepest sympathy,
Rod Doble
Rod Doble
September 10, 2009
Ken and family,
My deepest sympathy over the loss of Rita.
She visited us here in Barnesville, Ga and encouraged us to continue our file folder individual style of learning. She was such an uplifting spirit prompting learning.
I can still see that smile of love on her face when she would introduce you as her other half at conferences we shared.
Iam going to donate locally to the Ferst Foundation in her name to promote reading.
Andy Young
Andy Young
September 8, 2009
Ken and Family,
It is with deepest sympathy that I convey my sorrow in the loss of my friend, Dr. Rita Dunn. I studied with Ken and Rita (twice) and the work has had a profound impact on my professional career. Every time I would see Rita at a conference she would say, "Dearest Lucian, how have you been?" Her intellect and warm spirit will truly be missed. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Lucian Yates, III, Ph.D., Professor and Dean
Whitlowe R. Green College of Education
Prairie View A&M University
Lucian Yates, III
September 6, 2009
Dear Ken, Rana, Robert, Ricky, Kerry, and Kevin,
Please accept my deepest sympathy on the passing of your beloved and beautiful wife and mother, Rita. She was an inspiration to me and a wonderful mentor to me during my doctoral studies and after.
Rita's positive energy and belief in helping all to be the best they could be will endure through eternity. I will carry her, always, in my heart. Rita definitely was a wise and great professor, and her life made this universe a better place to be.

Most sincerely,
Laura Shea Doolan
Laura Shea Doolan
September 6, 2009
"If one advances confidently in the direction her dreams, and endeavors to live the life which she has imagined,, she will meet with extraordinary success" (Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854). My beloved wife exceeded the predictions of Thoreau written more than 150 years ago. She has brought that philosophy to more than 160 successful doctoral candidates. As one student wrote, " Your absolute genious for drawing (and sometimes dragging) out the best in each of us is a gift that will kep on giving, and we will do our best to continue to do the same".
If I had to find one word to describe all that Rita was and what she accomplished it would be LOVE in large capital letters. She loved her children, her friends, her students, her audiences, her research, her publications, her belief in the learning style process, and especially those who listened to her advice, because if they did, she "would get them through"
Her wealth of caring and passion also extended to her husband, soulmate, best friend, partner, co-author, companion, lover, and debater. (Yes, that's all the same person). She couldn't believe we could write two different books for two different publishers. "Analytics do not do that." After spirited debate we did it! For me there will never be another like her--caring, supportive, strong, energetic, persuasive, encouraging, and connected. Our life together for more than four decades could not have been happier
She emailed students and co-authors at 3 or 4 A.M. when she sometimes awakened because "something had to get done". She instituted Mock Orals at our home and at St. John's University as the ideal "pregame" training for the final Oral Pesentation to a Doctoral Committee. Former professors, successful graduates, and those in process came to our home (St. John"s North) to challenge candidates just before their final interviews. Candidates always indicated that our Mock Orals were more difficult. If her students missed deadlines, "Mama" , as she was often called, would receive stern but supportive phone calls at all hours. Among her many,many accomplishments; she aided in establishing more than 30 Learning Styles Centers around the world; she was elected to the Hunter College Hall of Fame; she was awarded recognition for co-writing a seven article series noted as the best Educational Series published that year; she had more than 200 articles, 30 books, and 12 assessment instruments published. Dearest Rita, We are all better than we might have been because of your loving and caring presence in our lives. Your love has been the most precious treasure of my life. Your Ken always
Kenneth J. Dunn
September 5, 2009
I extend my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Professor Rita Dunn. From the moment we met at a graduate recruitment seminar on the campus of St. John’s University, her unwavering support, educational expertise, and of course, her good taste in all things were invaluable sources of inspiration and motivation. She embodied the traits of the consummate mentor—a gifted educator, a prolific researcher and writer, and a loving and supportive cheerleader. I came to appreciate the unique role she played in being a "critical friend"— long before the phrase was popularized in PD circles. Dr. Dunn, thank you for your time, energy, and concern—and for supporting so many of us in becoming the proud, productive, and positive people we are today! Your friend and protégée,
Charles Leone
Charles Leone
September 5, 2009
Dear Ken and Family,

My deepest condolences on the sudden loss of your wife, mother, and grandmother. I am thankful that you and your family enriched our lives by sharing Rita with us. I was blessed in having her as a mentor and friend.

Thank you Rita, for believing in me and helping me to use my gifts to bless those around me. I hope to honor your memory by living and learning as passionately as you did, and encouraging others to do so too.

Ken, may God continue to comfort and strengthen your family. Know that she will live on in our hearts and work forever and not be forgotten.
Gale Sookdeo, NBCT, Ed.D.
September 4, 2009
Dear Dr. Ken and family,
In one's lifetime it is extraordinary to find solace, compassion, and assistance beyond one's own family. It has been my extreme good fortune to have made the acquaintance of Prof. Rita Dunn, my mentor, my inspiration. Without the encouragement, support, understanding, and persistence of Prof. Dunn, my dissertation would not have come to fruition. It is for this reason that I humbly dedicated my doctoral dissertation to Prof. Rita Dunn.

I know these sentences were grammatically correct because Prof. Dunn painstakingly read and reviewed every sentence of my dissertation as she did with everyone. I told her she could correct the grammar but she could not change the sentiment of my dedication. I hope she was pleased.

My heart is filled with sadness at the loss of my mentor and friend. I know her spirit and work will live on forever. There will never, ever be another Prof. Rita Dunn. My deepest sympathy to Dr. Ken and family.
Barbara Salvione
September 4, 2009
Dunn ! You changed lives of millions of students in the world.Even here in a tiny place in Algeria, students and teachers know learning styles thanks to you.Rest in peace.
My heartfelt sympathy and condolences to all who loved Dunn.But Every one must remember that she has not gone for ever.Her writings are here to say "I do still exist" for those who love education.
Abdelhak Hammoudi
September 4, 2009
Dear Ken,

Our hearts go out to you, Ricky, Rana, Robert, Ryan, and to all who loved Rita.

Words cannot express the depth of our sorrow at her passing. We shall always think of her with love and miss her immensely.

Cousins Ira and Theresa
September 4, 2009
About Rita Dunn
(M. Schiering, 2009)

Somewhere between now and then
Here and there
Past and present
A great sadness

It fills my heart.
It invades my thoughts, and
Overrides daily responsibilities.
This feeling is focused on the passing of
Our teacher and friend, Rita Dunn.

She was determined to instruct me/us
About teaching children the way they learn.

In so doing she became more than a mentor.....
Her passion was so great ...to educate.

I found that, oftentimes, I became entangled in the mesh of living learning styles.

Yesterday and today are intermingled, simultaneously...
So much so that there’s a silent scream for seeing her,
which is a reality that can’t be fulfilled.

And in that realization there is the abyss, which encompasses each hour...
Until a time when this restless soul can reside
In peace....

The peace of thankfulness for her teachings, her support, her steadfastness...
I believe these qualities affected everyone she encountered.

Sometimes she drove me to distraction...
Mostly, when I thought I hadn’t or couldn’t meet her goals.
But, she showed me that I did, or could...that was one of her giving gifts...

Sometimes I didn’t want to share her, as a possessiveness pervaded.
Maybe it was the same for you?

I wanted more of her, but there is not more to be experienced;
Unless, it’s in our talking with one another, and our teaching.

That she was in my life these past fourteen years...
With the ups and downs
are all joined together...
With deep gratitude.

There are no words...............suffice to say
She is loved and missed...............

(It's just over a month since Rita left my line of vision, but not my thoughts...not for even a day.
In 10th grade there was a teacher who taught me to believe in myself...Rita retaught me that important life lesson nearly 40 years later.
To Ken, their children, and extended family I thank you most deeply for the sharing of Rita. As you know, she gave so much to education and most importantly to the individual lives of others so each may know what it is to feel worthwhile within oneself....and in turn, pass it along.....
Marjorie Schieirng, teacher
September 3, 2009
Dear Dr. Ken and Family,

Words cannot describe the deep sorrow I feel for your loss.
Dr. Dunn changed my life. I already miss her "Lisa Dear" emails and her many words of encouragement.
She believed in everyone of her students and helped us to believe in ourselves.

Dr. Dunn will be missed.


Lisa M. Belz
September 2, 2009
Dear Ken, children and grandchildren,

Please accept my heartfelt sympathy on your great loss. I had the privilege of working for Dr. Rita Dunn as a secretary in the graduate school of Ed. She was a great lady, a wonderful human being, who took a personal interest in her colleagues, students and staff. No matter how busy, she always found time to help anyone who sought her guidance. I feel grateful that I met and worked for Dr. Dunn and shall always remember her kindness and thoughtfulness to me.

May G-d give you strength during these trying times.

Rita Lenefsky
Secretary, retired
August 31, 2009
Rest in Peace, Dearest 'Momma" Dunn!!!!
You left the world of education in a much better shape that you found it!
Your research based and scientifically proven theories are applied in our daily classroom practices all over the world.
Thank you for being THE GREATEST Teacher anyone might ever have and shoving me the 'Mommas" way!
Special thanks to your grieving family for sharing you and your life, with us your students. Althoug, many of us are unknow to your family, we grieve and we pray with them and will carry on the work of " Dearest Momma".
Artur Laskowski, South Korea
Artur Laskowski
August 30, 2009
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Carmelo Maldonado
August 30, 2009
With great grief, pain and regret at the loss we received information that Professor Rita Dunn departed this life August 1, 2009.
We had the advantage of inviting Dr Dunn to Scandinavia about 20 times during the years 1999- 2008. The first time in Sweden was a Learning Style Conference in Örnsköldsvik 1999. She introduced her Learning Styles Model and research in our culture and it fitted in as an important piece in our context about individual learning.
We (Ulrika Gidlund, Deborah Boström and I) had the privilege to get to know Dr Rita Dunn as a private person during her many visits here and our visits in the USA. An unforgettable memory was our trip with her to St Petersburg in June 2003. She originated from the Russian culture (on her mother’s side). When Russian folksongs were played for her, she remembered them and joined in the singing – she was deeply touched by memories from her childhood. The picture shows how we took part in the Russian folkdances.
Rita Dunn gave us a bit of her sound knowledge and inspired us to improve learning for all students. She supported us, criticized us and inspired us to develop professionally. But she also showed a human and humoristic view on life with consideration for us all.
The memory of professor Rita Dunn will always be associated with admiration, gratitude and joy.
May she rest in peace.

Dr Lena Boström with family.
The Center for Learning and Teaching Styles, Sweden
August 30, 2009
For the first time I (Auvo Marckwort) had the opportunity to listen to Rita Dunn at a conference in Minneapolis 1992. Her presentation made me fully convinced about the revolutionary importance of her research and teaching work.

Later on at many conferences we, my wife and I, enjoyed Rita Dunn´s charismatic presentations and at Board meetings of the International Learning Styles Network we admired her skills as a determined and flexible leader.

As we were conviced of the importance of Dr. Dunn´s work we invited her and Ken to lecture at the Helsinki Enlightement conference in 1994. Rita Dunn made the most valuable contribution to the conference and aroused a big interest for Learning Styles in Finland.

We feel that in Rita we lost a great personality and a friend who always had a positive word. We are happy to have had the opportunity to work together with Rita Dunn and we have wonderful memories of moments which we spent together as friends with Rita and Ken.

Auvo and Raija Marckwort, Seléne and Annette
Finland Learning Styles Center
August 30, 2009
For the first time I (Auvo Marckwort) had the opportunity to listen to Rita Dunn at a conference in Minneapolis 1992. Her presentation made me fully convinced about the revolutionary importance of her research and teaching work.

Later on at many conferences we, my wife and I, enjoyed Rita Dunn´s charismatic presentations and at Board meetings of the International Learning Styles Network we admired her skills as a determined and flexible leader.

As we were conviced of the importance of Dr. Dunn´s work we invited her and Ken to lecture at the Helsinki Enlightement conference in 1994. Rita Dunn made the most valuable contribution to the conference and aroused a big interest for Learning Styles in Finland.

We feel that in Rita we lost a great personality and a friend who always had a positive word. We are happy to have had the opportunity to work together with Rita Dunn and we have wonderful memories of moments which we spent together as friends with Rita and Ken.

Auvo and Raija Marckwort, Seléne and Annette
Finland Learning Styles Center
August 29, 2009
Dr. Dunn was the most inspirational, dedicated and dynamic individual I have met in my 43 years in education. She believed in me and it was my honor to have known her!
Lee Marcus
August 28, 2009
To appreciate Rita Dunn is to see her as the educational pioneer who blazed the trail of academic success for so many generations of students. She did so dissertation by dissertation; article by article; doctoral student by doctoral student. Rita prepared each of her mentees with the self-confidence, research skills, and the power of conviction to continue her goal to make LD stand for Learning Different, not learning disabled. The message lives on through all of us!
Those of us who have been touched by Rita are much more today than we would have even been without her. For that and so much more, I remain forever grateful.
Patrice Roberts, Ed.D
August 28, 2009
I don't believe I ever personally met Dr. Dunn but she has had a place in my personal colonade of heroes for many years.

She was the advisor and mentor to my wife, Agatha Kelly, during her doctoral studies. When preparing for meetings Dr. Dunn often advised her to remember to "smile and be gracious, dear".

Our family has done well as a result of obtaining this degree and we are grateful for her guidance.

On a separate note, Dr. Dunn certainly lived until she died.If only that could be said for all of us.
Thomas Kelly
August 26, 2009
To Dr. Dunn's family, please accept my condolences for the loss of a great, forward-thinking lady. I became familiar with Dr. Dunn's work in the early 1990's and conducted the computerized Learning Styles Inventory (one of the first) for all students in the elementary school in Louisiana where I was principal. It was a great tool to help teachers differentiate instruction in order for children to have a better opportunity to learn. As I have moved to Mississippi, I still incorporate things I learned from Dr. Dunn's work in my school district.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Marietta W. James, Ed.D.
Columbia School District
Columbia, MS,
Marietta James
Could not load more entries
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences