BATESVILLE, Miss. — "Mr. Bob" Dunlap is known in Batesville and around Mississippi for his support of education, most notably his penchant for covering the college tuition of students in need.
No one seems to know how many students he has helped over the years, both privately and through scholarship programs.
"There are a lot of young people out there who need an opportunity," said Dunlap, chairman and CEO of Dunlap & Kyle Co. Inc. "Tuition is high. I've never had one kid who asked for a full-ride that I turned down.
"I've given a lot of scholarships. I don't like to advertise it because I can't do that for everybody."
One would think he has, however, given all the testimonials and anecdotes from people who know him.
He contributes money to a local community foundation, which distributes college scholarships and has established scholarships at area colleges.
"It's tough going to college today for a lot of these kids, but everybody needs to help however they can. I can do that," Dunlap said.
Due to his generosity to his community over the years, Dunlap has been named the 2023 Tire Business Tire Dealer Humanitarian.
Dunlap said he believes education is an important cause to support.
He not only has supported individuals who privately have sought his financial assistance, but he also has been a major contributor to local colleges, including his alma mater, the University of Mississippi ("Ole Miss"); the Northwest Mississippi Community College; and Mississippi State University (MSU).
Dunlap graduated in 1947 from Batesville High School, where he was senior class president and valedictorian. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1951 with a degree in business administration.
He went on to build a successful tire wholesale and retail company and has used his profits to support others in his community, including helping colleges and students.