Robert Walker Named Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus
COLLEGE STATION -- Dr. Robert V. Walker, Class of 1945, of Dallas, has been recognized by Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students as one of 12 recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Walker, who passed away April 28, 2011, is among eight recipients being honored posthumously this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of the prestigious award.
A pioneer in oral and maxillofacial surgery renowned across the globe for saving countless lives through improved trauma care and injury prevention initiatives, Walker studied pre-dentistry at the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas before being drafted into the United States Army. While at Texas A&M, he was named "Best Drilled Man" of H Battery Field Artillery during his sophomore year, 1st Sergeant in his junior year, earned a walk-on position on the freshman baseball team in 1942, and played the full 1943 season of baseball on the Texas A&M varsity team, earning his "T" medal.
Established in 1962, the Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University. Since its inception, 216 individuals have been recognized for their significant contributions to their professions, Texas A&M University and their local communities.
"Each day, I am reminded of the power of our Aggie Network with its worldwide reach," said Texas A&M President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, Class of 1971. "And each day, I am also thankful for the efforts of individual former students such as these, who so generously give of their time, expertise and other resources to help propel Texas A&M to be among the nation's top public universities, while also making their mark as leaders in their professions and communities. They are truly role models for all Aggies."
After World War II, Walker earned a doctor of dental surgery degree from Baylor University College of Dentistry in 1947 and then started a practice in Waco before being recalled by the Army in 1951 during the Korean War. He was stationed at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, where he advanced from 1st Lieutenant to Captain in 1953 and received his initial introduction to oral surgery. During his tenure there, he also joined the BAMC Comets baseball team and played at the national championship level in 1951-52.
Following completion of his military service, Walker was encouraged to continue his education. In 1953 he completed the required didactic year of training for oral surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and then began his residency at Southwestern Medical School and Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He became a certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon in 1958 and took over as head of the oral surgery division at Southwestern Medical School, where he began working with others to transform the field. He was chairman of the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center until 1984 and continued working in the department as Professor Emeritus until his death.
Walker held leadership roles and remained active in many societies and associations around Texas, such as the American Trauma Society, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Dallas County Dental Society and the Southwest Society of Oral Surgeons, just to name a few. In addition to honorary fellowships from both the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (1973) and England (1984), he won numerous honors and achievement awards, including the Texas Dental Association Gold Medal for Distinguished Service (2003), the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dallas County Dental Society (2002) and induction into the Hall of Fame at Baylor College of Dentistry (1999), now known as the Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry.
A founding member, board member and past president of the Texas A&M Medical-Dentistry Society, Walker was a past chair and vice-chair of the College of Science External Advisory and Development Council (EADC), a member of the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets Association and of the Texas A&M Foundation and 12th Man Foundation in addition to The Association of Former Students. In 1994, he established the Emily and Robert Walker Endowed Scholarship in Science at Texas A&M, followed in 1995 by the Emily and Robert Walker '45 Endowed Lectureship in Biology. In 2004 he was honored with induction into the Texas A&M College of Science Academy of Distinguished Former Students.
Walker is survived by his wife, Emily, in addition to one daughter and two sons.
The 2012 recipients learned of their honor when surprised in their places of business and other locations by a group of university and Association representatives, including Loftin; The Association of Former Students' 2012 Chair of the Board of Directors Otway Denny, Class of 1971; Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III, Class of 1979; Association Vice President Marty Holmes, Class of 1987; a Ross Volunteer; along with Reveille and her handler.
"The Distinguished Alumnus Award is reserved for those Aggies who have made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments, affiliations and careers reflect Texas A&M's core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service," Denny said. "Each of our 2012 Distinguished Alumni exemplifies the impact that Aggies can have on their alma mater, their communities and our world."
Garner echoed the sentiments of Loftin and Denny and offered his congratulations on behalf of the Aggie Network. "I am grateful for, and inspired by, the example our 2012 Distinguished Alumni provide our worldwide Aggie Network. While they represent a wide variety of life experiences and achievements, they all share the same deep commitment to Texas A&M and epitomize our core values."
The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Distinguished Alumnus Award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on September 21. In addition, the 2012 recipients will be recognized during the Texas A&M football game against South Carolina State on September 22.
The Association of Former Students, established in 1879, is the official alumni organization of Texas A&M University. The Association connects the nearly 500,000 members of the worldwide Aggie Network with each other and the university, and provides more than $7.3 million a year in impact toward university scholarships, awards, activities and enrichment for students, faculty, staff and former students.
For more information about the Distinguished Alumnus Award and The Association of Former Students, visit www.AggieNetwork.com/DistinguishedAlumni/.
Contact: Kathryn Greenwade, KGreenwade88@AggieNetwork.com