Former District Judge Tom Walker has been named the recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award by the Miami Public Schools Enrichment Foundation.
Walker was presented the award March 29 during the foundation’s annual fundraiser dinner at the Miami Civic Center.
“I was very surprised when a foundation board member called to tell me of the selection. I had not spent any significant time in Miami since my grandmother died over 30 years ago,” Walker said. “I was also surprised and pleased at the number of people with whom I went to high school showed up at the banquet.”
Walker, who was a member of the Miami High School Class of 1964, said the award was especially significant for him.
“It is a special honor for me because my father was in the class of 1941, and my grandparents in the class of 1920. My dad lettered in football, as did I, and my grandfather lettered in basketball. When I graduated, we were the only three-generation lettermen from Miami High School,” he said.
Walker entered Miami High School in the second semester of his freshman year after “bouncing back and forth” between his mother’s home and his grandparents’ residence in Miami following his parents’ divorce when he was in kindergarten. He credits his grandfather with instilling in him the importance of education and military service.
“It was understood that I would do two things with my life if I did nothing else. One, I would graduate from college, and, two, I would be in the military. Both of those, I guess you could say, were just givens,” Walker said.
Subsequently, Walker earned his bachelor’s degree in political science with honors at Phillips University, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, American Academy of Judicial Education, the Defense Language Institute (Vietnamese), the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College.
His dual career has included 37 years with the U.S. Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserves, retiring as a brigadier general, as well as civilian legal career which has included district judge, Judiciary Court Trial Division and Appellate Division judge, Court of Tax Review judge, consultant and mediator for Sagamore Relations and Court of Indian Offenses Southern Plains Region appellate magistrate.
Walker has also been the recipient of a wide variety of awards and honors resulting from both his careers.