When the Eastern Progress approached me to write an editorial on the life of Caleb Dunn, I felt honored but also speechless. Unfortunately, there aren’t words to express everything that he meant to Alpha Tau Omega and EKU.
Caleb helped lead our fraternity to our chapter’s chartering.
The picture of him receiving that charter from our national fraternity as president is my favorite picture of him. One can see the true happiness he felt at that moment, and that happiness was well-deserved after all of the hard work he put into getting our fraternity where it is today.
Not only did he help us to our first charter, but he also resembles everything that a member of Alpha Tau Omega hopes to be. He was kind, smart, selfless and a true leader.On Sunday August 20th, instead of having a traditional chapter meeting to kick off the new school year and prepare for the semester, we opened our doors to the EKU community to allow everyone who was close to Caleb to come share their experiences.
Being that he impacted so many lives I would like to share how he changed the lives of others.
President Benson knew Caleb from his participation in SGA as Chief Justice for three of his four years here on campus. Through his short time on this campus, Benson has had the unfortunate task of dealing with a number of student deaths, and no single one is harder than another.
In his short talk, he shared with the room what he shared with his 10-year-old son: Life is fragile and appreciate what you have because you don’t know when you could lose it. That spoke volumes to me, as well as everyone else in the room.
One of Caleb’s fraternity brothers talked about an experience he shared with Caleb a couple years ago. At the time, the fraternity had just recently been formed so he and Caleb weren’t very close yet. He had gone through a recent heartbreak, and Caleb went out of his way to lift his brother and comfort him as he cried.
Much like this brother, many people appreciated Caleb’s warm and gentle hugs. Others have often spoken of how he could calm anyone down in an emotional or stressful time.
Another brother spoke about how Caleb was the third person he met at EKU and how Caleb constantly drove him to be the person and student he has grown into today. He graduated with three degrees from EKU and valued Caleb as one of the motivational reasons he was able to do so.
Caleb ran an open office policy to people who needed a place to relax, talk or study, and he would be there to support them during that time.
The most memorable thing I heard from a brother was via an Instagram post. He wrote about how Caleb was one of his best friends and how he had asked Caleb to perform his marriage for him.
This was an enormous responsibility that everyone looked forward to because Caleb was a great public speaker. He could captivate any audience with his vast vocabulary and engaging tones. During our charter ceremony, he was asked to speak to the audience, and it is still talked about today by brothers’ parents, friends and even the CEO of Alpha Tau Omega, Wynn Smiley.
On the day that I asked people to come together in remembrance of our dear friend and brother, two leadership consultants from our national fraternity also made the trip down from Indianapolis to support us.
I asked one of them to say a few words and he used one word to describe Caleb: “defender.” Our advisor said that anytime he was questioned about the activities of our chapter, Caleb would defend his brothers because he knew what standards they stand for.
It still saddens me when people ask to talk about Caleb and what he means to this fraternity and this University, but his legacy will live on for not only Alpha Tau Omega and SGA but also for all the people that he touched along the way.
If you didn’t know Caleb Dunn, I am sorry. If you did know Caleb Dunn, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. He was an amazing man, brother, president and friend to many in our community.