HICKORY BANKING EXECUTIVE SPEARHEADS
WCU SCHOLARSHIP FOR CATAWBA STUDENTS
|Phillip D. Walker, senior vice president for BB&T's western division, speaks at a recent event at Western, where he has helped set up an endowed scholarship fund to enable qualified graduates of Catawba County high schools to attend Western.|
CULLOWHEE – An endowed scholarship fund established by a group of Hickory-area Western Carolina University alumni and friends, an effort spearheaded by banking executive Phillip D. Walker and wife Joan Walker, will enable qualified graduates of Catawba County high schools to attend Western.
The Catawba County Christian Business and Professional Scholarship Fund, endowed through gifts totaling more than $30,000 to date, is designed to help the university attract some of the best and brightest students from Catawba County, said Phil Walker, senior vice president for BB&T's western division and chairman of the board of trustees at Western.
A 1971 graduate of Western, Walker said he made the initial contribution to the fund and convinced other alumni and friends from Catawba County to donate because he wanted to give something back to his alma mater.
“Western means a lot to me, because it helped shape me into the person I am today,” said Walker. “But, if it had not been for scholarship assistance I received years ago, this small-town North Carolina boy would never have been able to go to college. I'm so very excited to be able to help provide the same opportunity for deserving students from Catawba County.”
Beginning in the fall of 2005, the Catawba County Christian Business and Professional Scholarship Fund will provide at least one award of $2,500 annually, about the cost of in-state tuition. Awards will be presented to entering freshmen on the basis of high academic achievement and moral character. Preference will be given to applicants from Hickory and St. Stephens high schools. The number and amount of awards may increase as the fund grows through additional contributions, earnings and appreciation.
Walker is a former president of the Western Carolina Alumni Association. During his years as a student, he was president of the Student Senate, vice president of the Student Government Association, and senator and president of the freshman class.
A 30-year veteran of corporate and retail banking, Walker has served on numerous committees and boards for organizations in the Hickory area, including the Hickory Regional Planning Commission, Catawba County United Way, Catawba County YMCA , Catawba Valley Hosiery Association and Catawba County Chamber of Commerce.
His wife, residential contractor Joan Knipe Walker, formerly of Haywood County, also is a Western graduate. They have two children – Jonathan, a WCU graduate and district sales manager for Transition Networks in Atlanta, and Melanie, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For information on the Catawba County Christian Business and Professional Scholarship Fund or other scholarship opportunities at Western Carolina University, contact the Office of Admissions at (828) 227-7317, or toll free at (877) WCU-4YOU.