1988: Dr. Dunn

1988: Dr. Diana R. Dunn Elected as First Female Chair of the University’s International Council

Dr. Diana Dunn, vice provost, was elected as the first female chair of the university’s International Council for the 1988-1989 academic year. The International Council’s main focus was to make improvements in the procedures that related to international students and Penn State students studying abroad. To do so, the council was split into three sub-committees: the Education Abroad Advisory, International Student Advisory, and the International Cooperative Programs Advisory. Council members conducted many studies within each sub-committee to provide advice to the university on these matters. There were only 20 delegates total from all Penn State campuses.

The same year she was elected chair, 1988, she traveled to six universities and seven national parks in New Zealand to visit scholars and encourage relationships and collaboration among students and faculty in both countries.

During her year as chair, she predicted that Penn State would be considered a “world university” in the near future, meaning Penn State would both recruit more international students and send more Penn State students abroad. This prediction turned out to be quite accurate.

When Dr. Robert Graham, provost, took a position elsewhere, Dunn stepped up as Acting Associate Provost and Acting Dean of Faculty. She said she was well-prepared for it because of her current position as vice provost and former position as a dean at University Park. Her goal while in this role was to move along the search process as quickly as possible.

Throughout her academic career at various universities, Dunn also stayed very involved with the Parks and Recreation community, which is apparent through her community memberships, other roles, and publications.


  • Ph.D., Penn State University

Prior Academic Roles

  • 1972 – 1977 Recreation and Leisure Instructor at Temple University
  • 1977 – 1982 Exercise and Sports Science Department head at University of Arizona
  • 1982 – 1987 College of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Dean at University Park

Other Roles

  • Director of Research at NRPA
  • Research Analyst with U.S. General Accounting Office
  • Recreation Analyst with U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Managing, Associate, or Consulting Editor for the Journal of Leisure Research, Leisure Sciences, LeisureStudies, Parks and Recreation, the Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and others

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