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UIW Mourns Loss of Dunlap

Brigadier General Lillian Dunlap
Brigadier General Lillian Dunlap

Brigadier General Lillian Dunlap, USA (Ret.), 14th Chief of the United States Army Nurse Corps, age 81, of San Antonio, died Thursday, April 3, 2003 at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX.

Born in Mission, TX, she was the daughter of Ira and Mary Dunlap. She spent her childhood in San Antonio, graduated from Jefferson High School, and received her nursing diploma at Santa Rosa Hospital School of Nursing in 1941. She entered the United States Army Nurse Corps in November 1942 and served in the Pacific Theater with the 59th Station Hospital throughout World War II. Lillian earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Incarnate Word College and a Master’s Degree in Hospital Administration from Baylor University. Incarnate Word College presented her with an Honorary Doctorate in 1987. Her career spanned 33 years in the United States Army, culminating in her promotion to Brigadier General and appointment as Chief of the Army Nurse Corps.

Her assignments included service at Brooke General Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, TX; Camp Chaffee, AR; Europe; Director, Department of Nursing Science, Medical Field Service School (now the Academy of Health Sciences), Fort Sam Houston, TX; Chief Nurse, U. S. Army Medical Center, Okinawa; Chief, Army Nurse Corps Branch, Washington, DC; Chief Nurse, First Army, Fort Meade, MD; and Chief Nurse, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC. As Corps Chief from 1971 to 1975, she led the implementation of the Army Nurse Corps Contemporary Practice Program, the program that introduced the Nurse Practitioner role in the Army.

She was also instrumental in establishing the baccalaureate degree in nursing as a requirement for service in the Army Nurse Corps. She held multiple military awards including the Distinguished Service Medal.

She was a founding member of the Army Medical Department Museum Foundation and served as its President until recently. She was very active in the San Antonio community, having served on the Board of Trustees of Incarnate Word College, Board of Directors of the National Bank of Fort Sam Houston, Board of Directors of GPM Life Insurance Company, the Regional Executive Committee of the National Conference for Community and Justice, and was appointed by the Governor to the Texas National Guard Armory Board. She served on the Texas Governor’s Commission for Women, and on the commission for Target ’90 goals for the City of San Antonio.

Her honors included Fellow, American Academy of Nursing, San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame, Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, and Living Legacy Award from the Women’s International Center. The City of San Antonio honored her devotion to community service by naming one of the city’s river barges, “The General Lil.”

Alumna Laura Lee Shaw,
Former Interim Vice-President for Institutional Advancement, shares these memories:

“My favorite memories of Lil are working with the phonathon back in the days when we had faculty, administrators, students and alumni as volunteers. She would walk around with a number of $20 bills in her pocket and every so often she would announce that the student getting the next pledge of say $100 or an increased pledge would receive the bill. That was back in the 1980s when $20 went a lot further than today, and what a delight and motivation for students. It became a tradition for Lil to bring fried chicken and a Baskins Robbins ice cream cake for the final phonathon night as a victory party. (She always knew we’d reach our goal.)

“Lil was so faithful to Col. Short (Shortie) and to the scholarship she established in Col. Short’s name. I don’t remember that Lil ever missed the scholarship reception or the opportunity to meet with the scholarship recipients. Before her death, Col. Short kept in touch with almost all of the recipients as well.”

“Another special Incarnate Word project for Lil was Swing-In. In the early days before the clubs were so restricted by liquor license laws, Lil loved to drive the hospitality cart and serve drinks to the golfers. Perhaps this activity was a bit like the “social” part of being a general.”

“I’m sure that Sr. Margaret Patrice Slattery cherishes, just as I do mine, her signed copy of Lil’s recent book, Thirty-Three Years of Army Nursing. What an enjoyable visit we had with Lil last spring, even though we did not get a hoped-for pledge for the capital campaign.

Lil was always her own person, and she gave to the projects she held dear and the ones she herself selected. May she rest in peace.”


Deborah Bussineau-King of the UIW music faculty composed special music for the Hymn to the Army Nurse and performed it for the first time at the funeral of Gen. Dunlap. In her living will Gen. Dunlap had requested that Ms. Bussineau sing at her funeral, but the music to the poem was not available. So, Debbie composed her own, to the delight and appreciation of all present.