UHCL invests Richard Walker as sixth president, reaffirms commitment to student success
University of Houston-Clear Lake hosted the investiture of President Richard Walker on Friday, Jan. 27 as the culminating event in a three-day series of activities commemorating his appointment to the post. He is UH-Clear Lake’s sixth president, having previously served as the vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services for the University of Houston System and vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services for the University of Houston.
The theme for his investiture was “Climb Every Mountain,” in keeping with Walker’s 41-year professional commitment to student success.
“We all have mountains to climb. Who we are, personally and professionally, has been molded by every mountain that we’ve climbed in life,” he said. “Throughout my career, my primary focus has always been on student success. UHCL is an incredible institution with a focus and commitment to student success—not only in the classroom but in preparing students for an upward trajectory.”
Walker said approximately half UHCL students were first-generation college students, and as both a Hispanic-Serving and Minority-Serving Institution, he believed the university offered a supportive community in which every student could feel a sense of belonging and support.
“We welcome each one, knowing they have already climbed or are climbing some mountains and are anxious to successfully navigate higher ones,” he said. “So today, I invite you to join me as we prepare to climb our next mountain.”
To mark the occasion and to highlight Walker’s ongoing commitment to removing financial barriers for those seeking higher education, the President’s Excellence Scholarship Fund has been established, and to date, has collected over $300,000.
UHCL’s Investiture events began Wednesday, Jan. 25 in the Bayou Theater with a fundraising concert by The Texas Tenors, who were invited to perform in support of the President’s Excellence Scholarship Fund and continued the next night with a gala dinner at the NASA Hilton, honoring the support of donors to the Fund.
Walker’s investiture was attended by over 500 people and featured a keynote address by University of Miami President Emeritus, The Honorable Donna Shalala as well as a congratulatory greeting from UH System Chancellor Renu Khator and other dignitaries.
Walker received his doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Miami. He earned a Specialist in Education in Education Administration and Supervision from Middle Tennessee State University, a Master of Education in Education Administration and Supervision from Memphis State University, and a Bachelor of Science in History from Middle Tennessee State University. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education Management Development Program.
Investiture events at universities are traditional ceremonies that formally mark the transference of the authority and symbols of the office to the new president, usually within his or her first year. President Walker’s formal installation as UHCL’s new president took place in the university’s Bayou Theater, and included a procession of delegates from other colleges and universities as well as from within UHCL.