Alumni Profiles     

Daley Walker
Torchlighter Award, 2007


The Park University Alumni Association’s Torchlighter Award recognizes a special person who has made a significant, long-standing contribution to Park students and alumni.  The 2007 Torchlighter Award recipient is Daley Walker, faculty emeritus, who also became an honorary alumnus.

Walker retired from Park University in 2006 after teaching 43 years in Park’s math department, serving as department chair full time from the 1970s until 2004, when he transitioned into a part time teaching role.

Many students, including non-math majors, credit him for their success at Park and in their personal lives. “It was Daley who displayed the beautiful flow of mathematics. Mathematics became more than just a bunch of number crunching,” said Paul S. Curtis, ’05, former student turned math teacher. “Daley Walker changed my whole outlook on mathematics.”

Walker’s patience and gentle persistence coaxed students beyond what they thought they could accomplish. He taught a complex subject with simple, understandable explanations. He never quit on his students, patiently repeating the lessons until they understood the material. 

His methods even impressed his colleagues, prompting Ann Schultis, director of library systems, to tell the nominating committee that “Daley taught innumerable independent studies for students who needed a class to graduate, and I observed him teaching one-on-one many times in his office or the coffee shop, or by talking with students in the hall.”  

Upon retirement, Walker told a reporter for The Stylus, Park’s student newspaper, the reason he spent his entire career at Park was because he loved the people with whom he worked. The math department especially had been a close, supportive group. Students continually stopped by his office and still visit his home when they return to Parkville.

Walker has been an integral part of the Park Family. In addition to his academic contributions, he helped start Park’s baseball team and coached for several years in the 1970s.

His students are delighted by what they call his “eccentricities.” He removed the door to his office to illustrate his “open door” policy. He handwrote his tests, creating a new version each semester, refused to use a computer and staunchly clung to his original office furniture, even retrieving it from the dumpster after the University upgraded and discarded it.   

Walker and wife Dixie have been married more than 50 years. They have one son, (Park graduate Steve Walker, ’76), two daughters, and five granddaughters. 

Upon hearing the announcement of the award selection, Greg Abanavas, ’75, former student, baseball player and now friend, wrote "One doesn't need to be on CNN or Sportcenter to display their abilities or measure their worth.  Your deeds should be able to stand on their own, as greatness by itself, speaks volumes.  Daley Walker's legacy needs no false support.  It will always stand tall, withstanding all tests of time."




Daley and Dixie Walker