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WCE Hosts Reception, Scholarship Created to Honor Brad and Becky Walker

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

More than 150 WCE faculty, staff, students, alumni, family members, partnership teachers and colleagues across campus gathered in the atrium of the Watson College building on April 16 to honor Brad and Becky Walker, who will retire in May after a collective 55 years of service on the faculty at UNCW.

Dean Van Dempsey thanked the Walkers for their commitment, dedication and the joy of learning they have shared with faculty colleagues, aspiring teachers and young children for more than three decades.

“To watch Brad and Becky, to listen to them and to be a part of the spaces where they call out the better angels of our nature as educators is to be inspired, to be joyful and to learn,” he said. “It is an honor to be their colleague and their friend. The Watson College is a better place for their work.”

Heidi Higgins, chair of WCE’s Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle Grades, Literacy and Special Education shared excerpts from The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler. Saying she could quote them all, she shared readings on integrity, trust, love, joy and commitment… all characteristics the Walkers have lived by and exemplified during their years at UNCW.

Brian Brinkley, director of WCE’s Education Lab, shared stories of ways the Walkers’ lives and his family’s lives have intersected over the years. More than 20 years ago, Brian was a student in Brad Walker’s language arts methods class; Brian’s wife, Joanne, completed her master’s degree at UNCW alongside Becky; Brian and Joanne co-taught the Walker’s youngest son when he was in the first grade; and Becky has helped hundreds of Watson College students “put their teacher hats on for the first time” as they tutored children in the Ed Lab over the past 25 years.

“The most important thing about Brad and Becky Walker is that they have faith,” Brinkley said. “They have faith in education. They have faith in each other. The have faith in their family and in God. And they have faith in you and me. The Walkers believe in the good in all people and they work hard to point out the good in all of us. Let me take a moment to say ‘thank you’ to Brad and Becky on behalf of students, colleagues and friends for all of the loving kindness we have seen, heard and felt from you over the years.”

Kathy Fox, Rich Huber, Katie Schlichting, Debbie Powell and Karen Wetherill also shared stories of ways the Walkers personally impacted their lives in a strong and positive way.

View more photos on our Watson College Facebook page >

Brad and Becky Walker Scholarship Award

Dean Dempsey announced the creation of a new scholarship fund to honor the Walkers.

“Many colleagues in the Watson College wanted to honor the Walkers in a way that reflects their impact on our college and especially our students,” he said. “The way to do it needed to reflect their deeply grounded and long-standing impact. And it needed to impact Watson students, and ultimately the learners they would reach.”

Individuals interested in contributing to the new Brad and Becky Walker Scholarship Award at UNCW can make a gift online or through payroll deduction. For more information, contact Dawn Carter at carterdb@uncw or 910-962-2659.