Robert Walker (’57) was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.
For half a century every time I begin to write I count the words in the first sentence (18 this time). If the ghost of Doug Martin, peering over my shoulder, nods approval, I continue. It was the reputation of newspapering’s little giant, Doug Martin, that drew me to the UofA and the pep band playing “Bear Down, Arizona” at 1953 High School Senior Day that sealed the choice.
It was a great choice. A solid grounding in journalism, history, government and other fields served me well in writing news stories, features, policy papers or speeches. Perhaps more important, the support of the UofA faculty, staff and fellow students built the confidence essential for the opportunities awaiting.
I don’t do much writing these days, but my Arizona roots are evident when my young granddaughters are having an off day on the softball diamond. That’s my voice yelling at them, “BEAR DOWN.”
Robert K. Walker began his career as a newsman with the Tucson Citizen in 1956 and worked for the next 14 years at the Citizen, Arizona Republic and Associated Press. He started in the AP•s Washington Bureau in 1968 after covering the national Republican and Democratic conventions that year.
In 1970 Bob became press secretary to U.S. Sen. Paul Fannin of Arizona. When Fannin retired, Bob took a job as speechwriter for Secretary of the Interior Thomas Kleppe and remained at Interior as an information officer and speechwriter for four successive Secretaries of the Interior (Democratic and Republican). All in all, Bob served 19 years at Interior, retiring in 1995. He specialized in information on a range of issues, including national parks, endangered species, Indian gaming, offshore oil and gas, and Interior Department responsibilities in Alaska.
A native of Canton, Ill., Bob moved to Phoenix with his family in the 1940s. He worked his way through the UofA, majoring in journalism and minoring in history. He was editor of the Wildcat in 1956-57 (when it was published twice-weekly) and sports editor in 1955-56. He was a member of Sophos, Chain Gang, Blue Key, Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Bob also has a master of arts degree in legislative affairs from George Washington University.
Bob and his wife of 48 years, Carollee, have made Vienna, Virginia, their home for the last 40 years. Their two daughters and three grandchildren also live in Vienna. A son died in 1996. Bob enjoys grandfathering, youth sports (he serves on the board of the Vienna Girls Softball League), gardening and travel.