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Longtime champion of TAMHSC-BCD remembered at May 3 memorial

Walker at the Centennial Convocation Walker at the Centennial Convocation

When Dr. Robert V. Walker graduated from Baylor University College of Dentistry in 1947, his relationship with the college was far from over. He went on to become one of Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry’s distinguished alumni and continued to champion the college’s mission for decades to come.

When he passed away Thursday, April 28, at his Dallas home, the loss rippled throughout the TAMHSC-BCD community.  At his memorial service on May 3, the Highland Park Presbyterian Church

sanctuary was filled with family, friends and colleagues.

Walker had been involved with the college for more than 60 years and, even in the days leading up to his passing, had served as honorary co-chairman of the Cole Professorship Development Committee. Whenever he was asked to serve the school he accepted the challenge, serving in recent years as both chairman of the Baylor Oral Health Foundation board of directors and co-chairman of the college’s centennial celebration.

Walker came to the college after graduating from Texas A&M University in 1944. He practiced general dentistry in Waco, Texas, for four years after earning his dental degree, then served in the U.S. Army Dental Corps from 1951 to 1953 during the Korean War.

His military experiences led Walker to study oral surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine and Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. In 1956 he helped create the division of oral surgery at UT Southwestern Medical School as part of the Department of Surgery.

That role led to a nearly 30-year tenure as chairman of oral surgery at UT Southwestern, where he focused on educational programs, assessment and accreditation processes, escalating the school’s residency program to international status. Numerous accolades, including his role as a founder of the International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and president of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, dotted his career.

While Walker was internationally recognized for his strides within oral and maxillofacial surgery, it’s his appreciation for the college and his kind and generous nature which made him so treasured within the TAMHSC-BCD family. In 1997, the 50th anniversary of Walker’s graduation, he and his wife, Emily, formed the Robert V. and Emily Walker Endowed Scholarship. What’s more, he helped establish the Texas A&M University Medical and Dental Society, an organization that helps fund scholarships for standout premedical and predental students.

While the memorial service was May 3, as the days and weeks go by, one thing is for sure: Walker will be dearly missed within the TAMHSC-BCD community. In an April 29 email to TAMHSC-BCD faculty, staff and students, Dr. James Cole, dean, summed it up by describing Walker as “an internationally renowned pioneer in oral and maxillofacial surgery who traveled the world, yet always said ‘yes’ when called upon to serve his college.”

Walker at the Baylor College of Dentistry historical marker.

Walker was a constant presence at many milestone TAMHSC-BCD events, including the Centennial Convocation in
2005, with Connie Drisko, dean of the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry and a 1961 Caruth dental
hygiene alumna (top left) and Kathleen O'Neill-Smith, a 1965 Caruth dental hygiene alumna and 1982
ADHA president
(top right). He is shown above at the dedication of the college's historical marker.