Charls and Harmolyn Walker Graduate Research Excellence

May 30, 2018 | Excellence Funds & Program Support

The Charls and Harmolyn Walker Graduate Research Excellence Fund was established on May 30, 2018, to benefit Moody College of Communication. Funds distributed from the endowment will provide 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 Institute’s purpose is “aligned with the University’s public role of designing and testing new ways of increasing civic involvement.”

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 Philadelphia, he was selected by the Eisenhower administration for his first position in the Department of the Treasury as an assistant to the 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 formulationof sensible, sustainablepublic 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.

This endowment honors a legacy of extraordinary commitment to public service that will live on in the work of generations of UT students.

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