June 20, 2008

Frank H. Walk, DE, PE, a 1942 Mechanical Engineering (ME) graduate, presented the Forever LSU campaign with a $500,000 gift for the LSU College of Engineering Department of Mechanical Engineering. Mr. Walk, chairman/CEO Emeritus of Walk, Haydel & Associates, Inc. and current consultant to URS Corporation, is an engineer who combines the highest standards of professional excellence and accomplishment with seemingly limitless energy and a deep commitment to his community, state, and alma mater. The result has been a life full of engineering achievement and a distinguished record of selfless service.

The gift will be used to purchase CNC Lathe machines and to create the Frank H. Walk Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Room, a classroom and presentation room for the ME capstone senior design course sequence. For the capstone projects, teams of students devise solutions to engineering problems submitted by industry, faculty, and the community at large. These design solutions require consideration of all aspects of engineering. Alternative designs are investigated during the first term, and a functioning prototype must be manufactured by the close of the second semester.

Mr. Walk explained his experience at LSU, “The first thing that attracted me to engineering was the shops; I made straight ‘A’s in shop work. I came in as ME and it turned out to be a success. I am very proud of my degree from LSU. Everywhere I’ve been in the world, I have bumped into engineering grads from LSU who have been successful.”

His generosity allowed LSU to purchase two Haas TL-1 CNC lathes and one TL-3 CNC lathe, in addition to four rolling workbenches, and tooling for four senior project workstations. At the end of each semester, a presentation is given before an external review panel, sponsors, faculty, students, and guests. The Frank H. Walk Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Room will support these senior student capstone projects and presentations.

Glenn Sinclair, Richard J. and Katherine J. Juneau Distinguished Professor in ME, expressed the significance of Mr. Walk’s gift, stating “LSU will now have the best ME student shop in the country thanks to the new machine lathes from Mr. Walk. This will double the amount of experience and education students take away from the ME Capstone Senior Design course; it also helps the morale of the ME shop staff who are able to educate students using the best tools available.”

Glenn Ehrett, manager of the ME Machine Shop, presented Mr. Walk with a machine shop T-shirt and made him an honorary member of their group.  Ehrett joked that Mr. Walk was expected be at work 8 a.m. Monday morning.

After receiving an ME Degree in 1942, Mr. Walk received his MS in Civil Engineering from LSU in 1947, is a 1985 LSU College of Engineering Hall of Distinction Honoree, and is a 1999 LSU Cadets of the Ole War Skule Hall of Honor member. Mr. Walk’s generous support has made possible many educational enhancements in ME, including the ASME Frank Walk Service Award. The naming of the Frank H. Walk Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Room will honor his dedication and philanthropic legacy.

”Mr. Walk has given the opportunity for young students to see his philanthropy and his role in the success of the ME field. There is no one better than Mr. Walk, born and bred in Louisiana and successful in his career, to serve as a role model for LSU students. His gift made it possible to have a top-flight space and allow more alumni and high school students to come participate and observe future ideas. All this is made possible by Mr. Walk’s generosity,” stated Sinclair.

Graduating from LSU at the age of 20, Frank Walk was commissioned as an officer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the age of 21. In 1944, graduating from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School at the age of 23. He served with distinction in Europe, and the South Pacific, attaining the rank of Colonel at the age of 26. He served as a member of the War Department General Staff in Washington as a member of General MacArthur’s staff in the Pacific and as the Traffic Control Officer on Omaha Beach on D-Day in World War II. He founded Walk, Haydel and Associates, Inc. at the age of 38 and grew the company to over 700 engineers and technicians by the age of 45.

He belongs to more than 20 boards, councils, and committees dealing with business, education, and church and civic affairs. He is a Member Emeritus of the Mississippi River Commission, a consulting Engineer, business executive, religious and civic leader and has served as Chairman  of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Council, the World Trade Center , and the LSU Foundation. In 1988, Pope John Paul II named him a Knight of St. Gregory and in 1990, he received an honorary Doctor of Engineering from the University of New Orleans. He has received over 100 awards, commendations and recognitions for outstanding leadership, dedication and accomplishment in professional, military, religious, civic and educational endeavors. Mr. Walk holds memberships in many professional and honorary societies. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a Fellow of the American Consulting Engineers Council and in other professional societies. He is a registered professional engineer in both mechanical and civil engineering.

Frank Walk came from humble beginnings, earning his way through college by working on Mississippi River Steamboats. His father completed the third grade in school and rose to Chief Engineer of River Steamboats, and his mother attained a high school degree. Mr. Walk is married to Consuelo Faust (nee), has five children: Wendelyn Ellen Walk Michell, Karen Abaunza Walk, Frank H. Walk, Jr., Edmond Wade Walk, and Wesley Albert Walk, in addition to ten grandchildren, the most recent born on June 20, 2008. His ability to accomplish outstanding achievement serves as inspiration to others seeking a degree in ME at LSU.

Walk expanded on his LSU ties stating “I have been all around the world, and I have encountered engineering grads from LSU who have been successful in top positions. That speaks well of the University and the degree attained.”

Richard J. Juneau, (ME, 1960) ME Advisory Board and ME Campaign Steering Committee Chair, exclaimed, “Mr. Walk deserves the maximum honors for his outstanding individual efforts.  Louisiana can be proud of staking claim to him as a successful native. He has helped with the Forever LSU campaign, devoting time and attention, and stepped up to the plate with a generous donation to benefit students of LSU.”

Article by Mimi LaValle, LSU College of Engineering, 225-578-5706, mlavall@lsu.edu

- 30 -

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • Reddit