Written by: 
Nancy Kolsti
Photography by: 
Ahna Hubnik

lliotte Dunlap ('97) knows how to motivate people. In his first semester at UNT in 1992, he noticed the campus didn't have a dedicated space with staff to promote the success and inclusion of students from cultural and ethnic minority groups.

Passionate to effect change, Dunlap, together with some of his Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brothers and a few other students, wrote a proposal to create a Multicultural Center. They petitioned and led marches for students, faculty and staff to show their support of the proposal.

When Dunlap and 11 other student leaders met with then UNT Chancellor and President Alfred F. Hurley, Dunlap says he learned a lesson he'll never forget.

"After Dr. Hurley listened to our suggestions, he offered us ice cream and brought in folders containing our transcripts. To those struggling in their classes he said, 'UNT is excellent and will support its students, but are these students excellent and supporting UNT?'" says Dunlap, now a senior partner solution sales executive at Microsoft Corp. in Las Colinas. "I thought that was a great insight, and to this day, I make sure my brand symbolizes excellence. He taught me my No. 1 rule -- inspect what you expect."

The mass communication studies major committed to studying two hours each day in the library, worked on his time management skills and made sure the proposed Multicultural Center received continued attention. In 1995, the center -- which Dunlap originally sketched as thoughts on a napkin -- opened on the fourth floor of what was then the University Union, under Hurley's leadership.

"It's a great honor to be part of a movement that was ahead of its time," Dunlap says. "I had imagined the Multicultural Center as a place for students like me to find support, and seeing its contributions to UNT's gender, race, lifestyle and religious groups and all the students served today is far beyond my wildest dreams. Anyone can come to UNT and fit in."

The center now is part of UNT's larger Office of Diversity and Inclusion and its initiatives. More than 1,500 students walk through its doors on the third floor of the new University Union each month.

After graduation and a brief stint selling and financing cars, the persistent Dunlap landed a job with Viastar Services and then accepted a sales job with IBM. During his nearly 12 years there and seven with Microsoft, he has won top leadership and sales awards.

And his commitment to serving UNT hasn't stopped. In 2016, he joined fraternity brother Andre Lewis ('95) and UNT parent Shondrick Hill to start A Few Good Men, a professional mentorship program for diverse students on campus. The group's focus is getting the students internships and preparing them to compete in the business world.

"Experience has taught us that internships are key to job placement after graduation," says Dunlap, adding that the students have already been connected to paid internships totaling $70,000.

Dunlap received the Outstanding Alumni Service Award last fall. He says we all can do much more.

"I want to eliminate students' doubts and let them know lots of people will help them," he says. "It's up to them to seek and ask for help."

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