Tuesday, March 18, 2008


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 14, 2008EDITORIAL CONTACT: Tom Tozer, 615-898-2919

DAVID WALKER, BELOVED MTSU SPEECH PROFESSOR, DIES AT AGE 69 Respected, Accomplished Educator Was Inspiration to Students and Faculty Alike(MURFREESBORO) – Dr. David E. Walker, professor in the MTSU Department of Speech and Theatre for nearly 43 years, passed away yesterday morning following a heart attack at his Franklin home. Walker was 69 years old.
Walker joined the department in 1965 and earned professor status in 1974. He designed and taught courses in political communication, religious communication, history and criticism of rhetorical theory, communication in the interview, great American speakers, senior seminar in speech communication, parliamentary procedure and directing forensics, in addition to teaching several other courses. His administrative experience included stints as director of forensics from 1965-70, director of the Division of Speech Communication from 1969-81, president of the Faculty Senate from 1983-84, and acting chair of the department in summer 1984 and again in fall 1990. “David Walker’s career spanned more than 30 years at MTSU, and the lives of those whom he touched—students and colleagues—have been enriched and changed,” said Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, MTSU president. “David was a servant to his peers who welcomed his support as they were going through the arduous tenure and promotion process. He was a solid shoulder to lean on for colleagues who served in interim-chair positions and gained immeasurably from his wise counsel and guidance.
“As a former president of the Faculty Senate, David was a model of organization, leadership and persuasion. Anytime such a profound presence in higher education is taken from us, the void is immense and not easily replenished. And, when humanity loses an individual of such breadth and depth as David, all of us must respond to the task of carrying forth his spirit of compassion, generosity and service.” “David brought with him a clarity of expression and a highly principled set of expectations for himself and his students—and his colleagues, as well,” said Dr. John McDaniel, dean of the MTSU College of Liberal Arts. “One never had to guess at where David was ‘coming from’—a solid belief system coupled with (a) clear sense of right and wrong—pedagogically, morally and ethically—were constant companions as he taught his courses and lived his life.
“Serious, but with a twinkle in his eye, David brought energy, consistency, and compassion to his life’s work. I miss him. So too do so many who have known him for the gentle gentleman that he was.”

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“Both David and I have served as president of the Faculty Senate and as chair,” Dr. Rebecca Fischer, speech and theatre professor, said. “As I assumed each position, David dropped by to give me some advice … and was always helpful with suggestions for being chair. As a measure of his continued commitment to teaching, David was planning to teach argumentation this fall, a course he taught a number of years ago and one he was looking forward to teaching again.” Walker graduated summa cum laude from David Lipscomb University in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and a minor in history. He earned his master’s in 1961 and his doctorate in 1969, both from the University of Florida. Visitation with the family is scheduled for 2-6 p.m. Sunday, March 16, at Woodfin Memorial Chapel in Murfreesboro. Funeral services are slated for 2 p.m., Monday, March 17, at the chapel. Burial will follow in Evergreen Cemetery.
In addition to his academic life, Walker served as a minister of the Churches of Christ from 1954 until his death. He is survived by his wife, Sandra Barnes Walker; son and daughter-in-law David Ellis and Lavinia Walker of Geneva, Switzerland; daughters and sons-in-law Suzy and Derk Frizzell of Houston, Tex., Cindy and Jeff Key of Murfreesboro; and Michelle and Mike Clark of Murfreesboro.

ATTENTION, MEDIA: For a jpeg of Dr. David E. Walker, contact Tom Tozer in the MTSU Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-2919 or ttozer@mtsu.edu.

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