In Memory: Linda Bunnell

The UCCS community is mourning the loss of Linda Bunnell after her passing on March 27 in Waco, Texas.

Bunnell was the fifth permanent chancellor of UCCS, and the university’s first female chancellor. She served as chancellor from 1993 to 2001.

Prior to her appointment at UCCS, Bunnell served the Minnesota State Universities as vice chancellor for academic affairs, a post she held for six years. Her academic career began as professor of English literature at the University of California, Riverside. She served as assistant and associate dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at UC-Riverside before joining the California State University System as first associate dean for new program development and the dean for academic policy and planning, positions she held from 1977 to 1987.

Bunnell received her Ph.D. and master’s of arts degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was a University Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellow. A fourth-generation Texan, she earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Communication from Baylor University.

As chancellor, Bunnell brought many changes to the campus, including a 600-student housing village that opened in 1997. Her other projects, capital commitments of about $82 million, include a campus support services building, a childcare center, a high-tech classroom building, a library and communication building, and renovations of four existing campus buildings. Academic programs, including doctoral degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, were added in 1998 and 1999.

In 1997, Bunnell led a merger of the then city-owned Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences with the university. Under her guidance, distance-learning programs were also made available, including a master’s of business administration degree. The university also provided a master’s in engineering for space operations to NASA locations and military bases associated with the U.S. Space Command.

Following her time at UCCS, Bunnell went on to the College Board and then the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point before retiring. There is a tree on campus in her honor, located near the bus stop in front of the south entrance of the University Center.

According to her obituary, Bunnell was born in Dallas in 1942 to Byron and Bobbye Hunt Bunnell and grew up in Fort Worth. She is survived by her devoted cousins Tom Hunt, Carolyn Hunt-Munro and Jim Bunnell. Her family included generations of precocious Burmese cats, most recently, Pippa and Kipling.

Gifts in her memory can be directed to The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, where she spent her final years researching the role of women in the early history of Baylor University. A memorial service will be held on April 19, 2024 at 2 p.m. at Thompson’s Harveson and Cole Funeral Home, 4350 River Oaks Blvd., Ft Worth, Texas. Internment will follow at Greenwood Memorial Park, Ft. Worth.