Donald E. Walker scrapbook and inaugural papers
Scope and Contents
The collection consists of one scrapbook of photographs, inaugural memorabilia, autographs and news clippings (Series I) and a group of congratulatory citations (loose and hard cover) sent to Walker on the occasion of his inauguration (Series II). The citations are from college and university administrators, military institutions, associations, politicians, and friends and colleagues of Walker. The collection also includes inaugural concert tickets, inaugural procedures, and inaugural programs, a group of individual photographs, slides of the inauguration, and a book about Annie Walker, the president’s wife (Series III).
Conditions Governing Access
Biographical / Historical
Donald Ezzel Walker was born in Missouri in 1921. He was raised in a family devoted to higher education; his father, Edward E. Walker, and his grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Walker, were both university professors.
In 1943, Walker received his A.B. in religion from the University of Southern California and in 1947, he received his M.A. in theology from the same institution. At Stanford University, in 1954, Walker earned his Ph.D. in sociology.
Though Walker was educated in private universities, he taught and administered in public institutions. In 1949, at the San Diego State College, he was an instructor of Sociology [Walker would remain at this college for a period of nine years]. From 1951 to 1954, he was an assistant professor of sociology and in 1954 he accepted the position of associate Dean of Students. In 1956, Walker became the Dean of Counseling and Testing; but in 1958 left San Diego State College to become the Dean of Students at the San Fernando Valley State College (a position he held briefly). Between 1960 and 1965, he served as president of Idaho State University and between 1965 and 1966, he was Dean of Students at Sonoma State College. In 1966, he accepted the positions of Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs and senior lecturer in the Graduate School of Administration at the University of California at Irvine. Walker returned to San Diego State College in 1968 to hold the office of Vice-President of Academic affairs. He eventually became the college's acting President in 1970.
In August of 1972, Donald Ezzel Walker was named, by the Board of Trustees, President-elect of Southeastern Massachusetts University. On May 26, 1973, Walker was formally inaugurated as the second president of the university. During the inauguration ceremony, Walker received an honorary degree (Doctor of Humane Letters) sponsored by the SMU Dean of Faculty, Richard M. Fontera. In a speech, Fontera expressed his sincere congratulations and thanks to the new President: "...it is possible for a university, which has lived through the winter of its discontent [referring to the turbulent Driscoll administration], to allow its aspirations to exceed its memories...SMU has been a saner and more humane community in which to work" (The Standard Times, 5/27/73).
Walker was initially attracted to Massachusetts, for he believed that the state had a strong commitment to higher education: "Some states are defaulting on higher education, but I don't see that happening in Massachusetts. We [Walker and his wife, Ann] think Southeastern Massachusetts University has a fascinating future" (The Providence Journal, 9/14/72). Prior to his acceptance of the position as President of SMU, Walker led a student population which had exceeded over 25,000. The move to Southeastern Massachusetts University was drastic, but it was also a pleasant change of pace in that the student population of SMU, at the time, was a mere 3,900. With such smaller numbers, Walker was able to develop closer ties between the students and the community. This tie proved to be quite helpful during certain crises (i.e., the budget proposal of 1981-82).
The administration of Donald Ezzel Walker lasted eleven years in which he accomplished many goals as well as defeated many obstacles. During his term, Walker saw an increase in enrollment from 3,900 to 5,200; the budget rose from $6.4 million to $19.1 million; two new buildings were added to the Dartmouth campus--a visual and performing arts building and an additional science and engineering building; a center for Jewish culture was also established. During the 1981-82 academic year, the Board of
Regents proposed a budget for SMU that would have caused the dismissal of 100 faculty and staff at the University. In response, Walker supported a rally comprised of students, faculty, local business, and
community leaders. The mass group of ralliers, which was believed to have totaled over 2,000, met at the State House in Boston. The end result was an immediate increase of the University's budget from $18 million to $19 million. This was one of the most important obstacles of Walker's administration which was successfully defeated due to the help of students, faculty, and the community.
In June of 1983, Walker announced his resignation. His last day as president of Southeastern Massachusetts University was August 31, 1983. Walker then returned to the west coast to become the superintendent of Grossman Community College District in San Diego.
"The best presidents create climates in which good things can happen. I like to think I had a part in creating the feeling that, by golly, we can do it if we work together"--Donald Ezzel Walker (Boston Globe, 8/5/83).
3.25 Linear Feet (3 manuscript boxes and one scrapbook)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
transferred from the Office of News and Public Affairs, February 13, 1996. Accession number 96-15. The book about Annie Walker is retrospective.
copyright for most of the photographs is owned by University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. University records (tickets, programs, etc.) are also copyright UMD. For anything of a personal nature copyright would be owned by Donald Walker.
July 1997 by Julie Fernandes ’99.
- Donald E. Walker scrapbook and inaugural papers
- Julie Fernandes
- July 1997
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