William F. Walker

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William F. Walker (born December 1, 1937 in Sherman, Texas; died August 7, 2007) was the 16th President of Auburn University, serving from 2001 to 2004.

Walker earned bachelor's and master's degrees in aerospace engineering at the University of Texas in Austin and a PhD in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University. He taught engineering and mathematics courses at Rice University in Houston, Texas beginning in 1965, and eventually chaired the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. He was hired as dean of the Auburn University College of Engineering in 1988.

Walker was promoted to Provost of the University in 1999. On February 12, 2001 he was appointed interim president. He was given the permanent position by the Auburn University Board of Trustees on June 3, 2002. As President, Walker sought to improve communication between campus groups and to solidify the institution's financial security.

Walker campaigned on behalf of Governor Bob Riley's "Amendment One" tax reform proposal in 2003. During his term mounting criticism of the Board's governance led the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to place the University's accreditation on probation. A further embarrassment occurred when Walker participated in a covert move to hire a replacement for Auburn Tigers football coach Tommy Tuberville. Walker resigned his position in January 2004.

The "Fred and Mary Lou Birdsong Teaching Awards," given annually to an outstanding member of the engineering faculty at Auburn, were renamed in his honor by Mr Birdsong in 2001.

Walker died from cancer in 2007.

Preceded by:
William Muse
President of Auburn University
Succeeded by:
Jay Gogue


  • "Former AU President William Walker dies" (August 7, 2007) Wire Eagle
  • "William F. Walker" (December 9, 2016) Wikipedia - accessed June 5, 2017