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CONTACT: Myrna Whitehead
Walker family establishes education scholarship at South Plains College
LEVELLAND – Jim and Robbie Walker recently established the Jim and Robbie Walker Family Scholarship Endowment to assist South Plains College students with education majors.
Walker is the vice president for Academic Affairs at SPC. He has worked for the college for more than 24 years. Robbie is a retired educator.
“We wanted to stay connected to South Plains College and establishing the endowment will allow us to continue to help students,” Walker said.
When Walker arrived at SPC, he taught real estate classes as an adjunct instructor while working for Texas Tech University. In 1993, he was hired by Dr. Dick Walsh to become the Director of Continuing and Distance Education at the downtown Lubbock campus. His journey at SPC then led him to developing and implementing a dual credit program for the region.
Walker spent the next 20 years expanding the program from its original two high schools to as many as 73 participating school. Along the way, his hard work and determination earned him a promotion to Associate Dean of Technical and Continuing Education. The program focused on maintaining a skilled workforce through short courses and training.
Walker, with help from Dr. Kelvin Sharp, Marla Cottenoir, and former SPC employee Stephanie Jones, credits the opening of the extension centers in rural communities among his favorite memories. South Plains College has centers in Plainview, Crosbyton, Denver City and Muleshoe. In 2012, Walker became the Vice President for Academic Affairs. He will retire from South Plains College in May 2015.
Walker received his Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration from Texas Tech University. He did additional graduate work at Texas Tech.
After graduating from Big Spring High School, Walker attended and graduated from Howard College. After graduation he transferred to Texas Tech University. When he was in the ninth grade and living in Big Spring, Walker met Robbie. They were married while attending Howard College. In 1969 Walker enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served in the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War.
After two years of active duty, Walker returned and came back to Texas Tech to finish his education. Robbie worked as a classroom teacher and later as a librarian prior to her retirement in 2013. The couple has two children, David Cory Walker (Jennifer) of Boulder, Colo., and Jennifer Paige Hurst (Jerred Cole Hurst) of Lubbock; and two grandchildren, Noah James, 8, and Ella Grace, 4. David works as a marketing specialist and Jennifer is a homemaker.
Both Walker and Robbie are caretakers for their mothers – Frances Walker, who is 89, and Helen Chapman, who is also 89. Following his retirement, Walker will continue his quest to become an episcopal priest.
“Since we are both in education, it was an obvious choice to help future educators who in turn will be able to help more students as well,” Walker said. “There is a need to help students in rural communities to give them the financial opportunity to pursue their dreams in higher education.”
The eligibility requirements for the Walker Family Scholarship state the recipient must be a U.S. citizen and permanent resident. The recipient should be a first generation college student and he or she must be a full-time student taking at least 12 semester credit hours. Preference will be given to an education major and can include students enrolled in the Associate of Arts in Teaching Program. The recipient must maintain at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average.
For more information about ways to support scholarships and students at South Plains College or to make contributions, contact Julie Gerstenberger, director of Development at SPC, at (806) 716-2020.