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H. Jesse Walker remembered at symposium



More than 100 friends of the department crowded into the Hill Memorial Library Auditorium on Friday, January 15 for the H. Jesse Walker Symposium and Pruitt Lecture.  Colleagues from across campus and from as far away as Florida and Wisconsin attended, along with a sizable contingent of Walker’s family.


Former students and library staff regaled the audience with favorite memories and a generous review of Dr. Walker’s many accomplishments.  Don Davis, Sea Grant Scholar and one of his first Ph.D.’s, provided a spirited recounting of his early encounters with Walker and how they helped shape his career.  Davis also reminded the audience about Jess’s international stature and the many accolades he earned over his lengthy career.  Despite his well-earned reputation, Walker remained devoted to helping students from his former high school.  Librarians Tara Laver and Jennifer Abraham discussed the legacy of Walker’s amazing files from his travels and research that are finding their way into the library’s collection.  Abraham played a segment of Walker’s oral history about his passion for travel and discovery.


Bob Baumann, former director of the Center for Energy Studies, provided poignant tales of Walker’s dedication to his work and also to his students. He always pushed them to succeed, and set a solid example by striving for excellence and not basking in his accomplishments.  Molly McGraw, from Southeastern, discussed her involvement with Walker over the last several years.  Although retired, he continued to carry out research with her assistance and retained a passion for mastering new technologies that would help with his work.  His last student, Klaus Meyer-Arendt, spoke of Walker’s gentle nudges that prompted him to return to graduate school for his Ph.D.  He also worked with Klaus to secure important NSF funding for a ambitious project of Klaus’s design, not one dictated by his mentor.


The department is launching a fund raising drive to assemble an endowment in Dr. Walkers memory to support graduate studies in the department.  We will be asking for your support.


Diane Horne, a coastal geomorphologist from University of London, spoke as the 14th Annual Pruitt lecturer.  The lecture series is underwritten by a bequest from Evelyn Pruitt and was the brainchild of Dr. Walker. Her presentation, “Coasts: The Front Line of Climate Change,“ considered the flood risks associated with global warming and the policy challenges faced by governments, particularly in the United Kingdom.


The LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology, along with LSU Libraries co-sponsored the event.


The Walker Symposium and the Pruitt Lecture can be viewed at:


“H. Jesse Walker Honorary Symposium – Working with Jesse”


“H. Jesse Walker Honorary Symposium – Pruitt Lecture”