2016 Lindenwood Alumni Merit Award Winner
Kay (Dunham) Wilkinson
Kay (Dunham) Wilkinson was named the 89th honoree of the Lindenwood University Alumni Merit Award during Lindenwood’s spring commencement ceremony on May 14 in St. Charles, Mo.
Wilkinson was born and raised in Quincy, Ill., graduating from Quincy Senior High School in 1956. She earned a Bachelor of Science in office management in 1960 from Lindenwood College, as the university was known at the time.
“When Lindenwood called to tell me that I had been awarded the Annual Alumni Merit Award, I was completely overwhelmed and at a loss for words,” Wilkinson said. “I am humbled to receive such a prestigious award from Lindenwood. My commitment to Lindenwood has not been for recognition, but for the love of a special place that has become a steadfast anchor in my life.”
The Alumni Merit Award winner is given annually to a distinguished individual who attended Lindenwood for two or more years and has established a reputable record of support for the university. Wilkinson volunteered on behalf of Lindenwood on several different alumni projects. She helped plan her 50th class reunion celebration, assisted with an alumni event in Dallas, and provided financial support for Lindenwood’s Doors to the Future Program, which is supporting the new Academic Resources Center on campus.
In 2014, Wilkinson instituted the Emma Purnell Business Management Memorial Scholarship to benefit a deserving female business student. Named after the instructor that made the biggest impact in Wilkinson’s life, the scholarship is for residential students and is renewable for four years.
“Over the years, it has become evident to me that the most important thing I can do is ‘pay back’ to Lindenwood through participation in its endeavors to remain a first-class university,” Wilkinson said.
To be nominated for the award, a fellow alumnus must detail the nominee's qualifying accomplishments, and Lindenwood’s Alumni Association Board considers and votes on all candidates at its February meeting. To be selected, the candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast and be willing to accept the award, in person, at the year’s commencement ceremony.
“Whenever I think of the wonderful years at Lindenwood, I know that I would not have been able to accomplish the many challenges in life, both professionally and personally, had it not been for the initial foundation provided by Lindenwood through the liberal arts education, highly regarded professors and administration who cared about the students, and experiences living on the beautiful Heritage campus,” Wilkinson said. “That experience has rewarded me time and time again.”
Wilkinson lived with her husband, Maurice, in Denton, Texas, for many years until his death in December 2014. Wilkinson currently resides in Quincy and is involved with many local groups, including the Quincy Museum, the Great River Genealogical Society, and the Susan Komen Foundation.