What's In a Name?

George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology Naming Event
April 22, 2010

Good afternoon and welcome.  Thank you for being here today to celebrate another milestone in Webster University history, a tribute to Ambassador George Herbert Walker the third.  We welcome so many people special to Bert-the Walker family members; representatives from Western Southern, where Bert serves on the Board; business associates and long time friends from the St. Louis community.  Thank you for being a part of this celebration of abiding, caring, and unwavering friendship.

And welcome to our guests on stage, who will each pay tribute to our friend today…

Dr. Benjamin Ola Akande, Dean of the School of Business & Technology,

William Donaldson, Chairman of Donaldson Enterprises, a member of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and a friend of the Ambassador’s from Yale University,

The Chairman of our Board of Trustees and the President and CEO of Cassidy Turley, Mr. Mark Burkhart,

And the Chairman and CEO of Stifel Nicolaus & Company Incorporated, Mr. Ron Kruszewski.

 

What’s in a name?  It is our most prized possession, something we protect and nurture through our character, our heart and our soul.  But is it also a window into who we are?

Let’s take the name, George, for example.  According to A Dictionary of First Names, published by Oxford University Press, it means “farmer, to work the earth.”  Let’s go a step further and look at Herbert, which means “army, bright, famous.” And finally, Walker, a name we all know as that of a respected family of statesmen, a name of great dignity and strength.

George Herbert Walker is a treasured name at Webster University.

When you look back over the last 35 years at Webster, you find that that name holds a prominent place in our history.  Since 1974, George Herbert Walker has been a warrior for Webster, a leader of great spirit and vision.  He is a leader we have counted on to lend expertise, develop ideas, cultivate connections, provide resources, offer support, and most of all, celebrate our growth and our successes. 

Bert’s service to Webster over the years has been extraordinary, his philanthropy transformative.  It was just three years ago that you gathered in this same room to hear the news of his ten million dollar gift to the School of Business and Technology, the single largest gift the University has ever received.

Today, we gather to announce that the name, George Herbert Walker, will now hold a new place in Webster University history, a prominent place throughout the world of Webster.  Today we announce the naming of the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology.

This is a significant gift, a milestone.

It is a transformative gift with an impact that will be felt for a very long time.

This name - the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology - elevates this school into that elite fraternity of quality international business schools.  The highly respected Walker name, the highly valued Walker support, and the highly regarded school standards combine to become a formidable brand in business education. 

The George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology will continue to attract the best students and the best faculty and will grow in stature and prestige, with this gift of one man’s prized possession.

Bert, you have tilled our earth, planted our seeds, and tended the Webster garden with your kindness and your friendship.  You have been a steadfast soldier, protecting our interests and marching us forward.  You have lived up to your wonderful name and now, it is part of ours.  Thank you.  We look forward to the bright future ahead for the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology.  A future Dr. Akande has on his mind.

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Thank you, Ron and all of our speakers who spoke so eloquently on what Bert means to them and their world.  The Walker name means so much to so many.  Let’s hear from a few more friends.

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George Herbert Walker, you have, and will continue, to touch many lives. We have heard from a few of them on what you mean to them.  We want to hear what this day means to you. 

Please join me in welcoming Ambassador Walker to the stage.

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Thank you, Bert.

Now, Chancellor Neil George and I are pleased to present this portrait of Bert in honor of this day.  Many of you will recognize the distinctive style of artist, Gil Early, who has captured Bert’s spirit so beautifully.  Everyone on campus will enjoy this as a lasting tribute to your generosity, Bert.

Bert, we are deeply grateful for your generosity and happy that the name - George Herbert Walker - will live on in such a meaningful way at Webster University. Thank you all for being here today to witness this extraordinary day in Webster history.