William B. “Billy” Dunavant, McCallie Class of 1950, one of the South’s most respected and successful businessman and philanthropist, died Saturday, September 11. Mr. Dunavant was retired as CEO of Dunavant Enterprises in Memphis, which under his guidance became the world’s largest cotton broker and one of the largest privately-held companies in the United States. Throughout his life, Mr. Dunavant was a prominent civic leader in the Memphis area. “He used his unprecedented success in the cotton industry for the betterment of the city,” said the Commercial Appeal.
Mr. Dunavant was a three-year boarding student at McCallie. He was a member of the Mid-South championship varsity tennis team in 1949. In 1985 he was awarded an Alumni Achievement Award and in 1986 was named McCallie’s Distinguished Alumnus.
Billy Dunavant was the epitome of a “McCallie Man,” said Head of School Lee Burns. “He was a giant in business and community leadership, yet he was accessible and eager to connect with and help others. His generosity to McCallie over the years has enabled many young men to attend McCallie through financial aid and scholarship programs and has inspired them to do as he did -- live lives of honor, truth, duty. I was fortunate to know Mr. Dunavant as a friend and mentor, and I will always remember and value my friendship with him.”
The Memphis Commercial Appeal news article of Mr. Dunavant's death can be found here.