Eric A. Walker papers, 1933-1995

Walker, Eric A. (Eric Arthur), 1910-1995


68.52 cubic feet + 14 artifacts.
This collection documents Walker's time as president of Penn State University, including publications, speeches, correspondence, and day letters written by Walker. There are also reports for research projects, personal reminiscences, a doctoral dissertation, newspaper clippings, multiple committees' notes, including some for the United States Government, reference books, memos, awards, and correspondence from the president's office. There are numerous artifacts, such as trophies, golf plates, pins from associations and organizations, medals, plaques, and a desk and chair. There are also scrapbooks, one of which deals with a University of Pittsburgh commencement and another pertaining to Walker's role as a borough councilman, including materials such as voting ballots, letters, and meeting minutes.
Eric Arthur Walker, born in Nottinghamshire, England, in 1910, came to the United States by way of Canada in 1923, settling in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. Receiving a small academic scholarship from Harvard University, Walker earned his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1932, his Master of Science degree in business administration in 1933, and his doctorate degree in engineering in 1935. After teaching electrical engineering at Tufts College and the University of Connecticut, he returned to Harvard in 1942 as the associate director of the Underwater Sound Laboratory (USL). The USL developed the torpedo that helped the Allies win World War II. The development of the torpedo earned Walker a Presidential Certificate of Merit in 1948 and the Navy's Distinguished Civilian Service Award. Subsequent to the war, he became Director of the Ordnance Research Laboratory (now the Applied Research Laboratory) and head of the Electrical Engineering Department at the Pennsylvania State University. In 1951, he was appointed Dean of the College of Engineering. In 1956, Walker was selected to succeed Milton Eisenhower as the 13th president of Penn State University. He served as University President from 1956 to 1970. After his retirement as Penn State's President Emeritus, Walker served as Vice President for Science and Technology at Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) until 1975. While at Alcoa, he took directorships with industrial corporations such as General Dynamics, Armstrong World Industries, Gould Incorporated, and Girard Bank. After 1975, he continued his involvement in engineering education and chaired the National Science Foundation's Committee on Centers of Engineering Excellence. Walker was a major Penn State benefactor. Among his gifts to the University, he and his wife Josephine established academic scholarships and an improvement fund for Penn State's golf and tennis facilities. He died on February 17, 1995.
In the University Archives, University Libraries, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. (#MGN 106).
Some of these materials are stored offsite. Please allow three days for retrieval before use.

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