Charls and Harmolyn Walker Excellence Funds
Charly Walker was sometimes called “Charls No E Walker,” which served to head off any mistakes in spelling his name. He and his wife Harmolyn were described by a longtime friend as perfectly matched, “both whip smart, both with unusual charm, made magnetic by its authenticity, and both independent spirits.” They met after World War II at the Forty Acres and married in 1949.
Beginning with his service in the Air Force training fighter pilots during the war, Dr. Walker lived a life of extraordinary public service and political influence. He studied economics, earning his master’s degree at UT and his Ph.D. at Wharton. While an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, he was selected by the Eisenhower administration for his first position in the Department of the Treasury as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.
Dr. Walker began his remarkable career as a lobbyist for the banking industry when he assumed leadership of the American Bankers Association. In 1969 he was called back to Washington as deputy treasury secretary, where he was instrumental in shaping well-reasoned arguments for changes to national policy. A longtime colleague and former Comptroller of the Currency , James E. Smith, offered this appreciation:
“The formulation of sensible, sustainable public policies and gaining their approval by the Congress or other appropriate agencies of government were endeavors occupying much of Charly’s adult life. Few intellectual tasks are harder and more tormenting of mind, soul, and spirit. Most of us, so involved, ultimately for self- preservation develop a shell of cynicism. I am certain that Charly never sought that refuge. He forever maintained his idealistic and optimistic aspiration for this Nation and more generally for humankind .”
The Walkers established two endowments at UT Austin. Each will build on and extend the crucial work in policy and public service to which Charls devoted his professional life.
The Charls and Harmolyn Walker Graduate Research Excellence Fund was established on May 30, 2018, to benefit Moody College of Communication. lt provides support for graduate students assisting UT Austin faculty members affiliated with the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, with preference given to students of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. The Annette Strauss Institute’s purpose is to cultivate informed donors and active citizens.
The Charls and Harmolyn Walker Public Policy Excellence Fund was established on July 6, 2018, to benefit the LBJ School of Public Affairs, particularly financial support when needed to allow graduate students to participate in public policy internships. Internships can provide networking opportunities and real-world experience that can be crucial to establishing a career.
The Walkers have created a legacy of extraordinary commitment to public service, that will be reflected in generations of future UT students.
March 15, 2019