October 8, 2007
Webster University Receives Largest Gift in its History; Former U.S. Ambassador George H. Walker III Donates
$10 Million to School
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 8, 2007 – Webster University today announced that former U.S. Ambassador George H. Walker III has bestowed upon the school a gift of $10 million, which is the single largest in Webster’s 92-year history. Ambassador Walker has designated the gift to benefit the university’s School of Business and Technology. News of the gift was delivered during a celebration event held this morning at Webster’s Community Music School.
“Ambassador Walker is a man whose life can be measured by integrity, patriotism, philanthropy, and his deep and abiding friendships,” said Webster President Richard S. Meyers. “For more than a quarter century, he has embraced and promoted Webster University around the world. Now, he gives us the means by which we will carry our mission, our vision and the pioneering spirit of this university into the future.”
“The thing that makes me most excited about Webster is its tremendous and very exciting international outreach,” Ambassador Walker said. “Having served abroad in Hungary for three years I became increasingly aware of how important it is for individuals to have part of their life exposed to living in the culture of another country. I don’t know of any institution that can offer that better than Webster.”
From its beginnings in 1915 as a small women’s college operated by the Sisters of Loretto, Webster has grown to become an international network that includes more than 100 campuses throughout the United States and in London, England; Geneva, Switzerland; Vienna, Austria; Amsterdam and Leiden, the Netherlands; Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu, China; and Bangkok and Cha-am, Thailand. In addition, Webster has educational partnerships with universities in Mexico and Japan. Another partnership – with St. Istvan University in Budapest – was established as a direct result of Ambassador Walker’s efforts during his term of service in Hungary.
In addition to Webster’s international outreach, Ambassador Walker cited the accessibility it offers to students who are unable to afford the hefty tuitions that many universities charge. “Webster’s tuition base is considerably below that so it can give an outstanding education to students who don’t have the financial resources,” he said.
“I think that education is so important in bridging the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots,’” Ambassador Walker said. “It’s education that’s going to open the door in terms of leadership of institutions, of leadership of the United States. So if there’s any one area that I would want to put my money where I think it would have a good return, it’s in the educational field.”
Ambassador Walker challenged Webster alumni and the St. Louis community at large to match his contribution. “Along with Ambassador Walker’s gift, meeting this challenge will empower the university to reach even further and higher,” President Meyers said.
Ambassador Walker’s ties to Webster date back more than 30 years. He joined the university’s board of trustees in 1974 at the invitation of former Webster President Leigh Gerdine. “I made the decision that I wanted to be affiliated with Webster at that point because I thought Webster was a growing institution, and it appeared to have a bright future. I thought that would be more fun and would serve my interests in becoming a contributor to the St. Louis community,” he said.
In addition to serving several terms on Webster’s board, Ambassador Walker was elected board chairman in 1987, a position he held until 1992. He was named a life trustee of the university in 2003 and currently serves as chairman of the Advisory Board of Webster’s School of Business and Technology.
Ambassador Walker is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. He also has received honorary degrees from Webster University and Harris-Stowe State University, and recently from two Hungarian universities – the University of Pecs and St. Istvan University.
Webster University (www.webster.edu) is an international, multi-campus university, headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 1915 as a small private college, Webster now offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs through five schools and colleges in more than 100 domestic and international campus locations. The student population of more than 20,000 men and women ranges in age from traditional college-age students to adult learners, and represents more than 100 nationalities. The university is committed to excellence in teaching, to joining theory and practice, to small class sizes, and to educating students to be lifelong independent learners, fully prepared to participate in an increasingly international society.
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