July 29, 2003 by

Richard Walker

1 comment

Categories: Education, Politicians

rwalker.jpgRichard L. Walker, a noted scholar of Asian politics and the former ambassador to South Korea, died on July 22 of cancer. He was 81.
Walker’s interest in the Far East began in his early 20s when he studied Chinese languages at the University of Pennsylvania. During World War II, he served as an interpreter at Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in the Pacific Theater of Operations. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War, and worked in East Asia on numerous occasions for the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Information Agency.
Walker earned a master’s degree in Far Eastern and Russian studies and a doctorate in international relations at Yale University, where he became a professor of international studies. In 1961, Walker founded the Institute of International Studies at the University of South Carolina. Under his guidance, it became a respected research center. The Institute was later renamed in his honor.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Walker as the U.S. ambassador to South Korea in 1981. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, and served five years in the post, longer than any other American diplomat.

One Response to Richard Walker

  1. Lon S. Felker

    I was an undgergraduate student at the Institute of International Studies at USC from 1965 to 1968.
    Dr. Walker was an inspiring influence on me and my
    decsion to pursue an academic career. I came to respect not only his scholarship, but his character and dedication. Dr. Walker was a patriot
    who combined his love of country, deep interest in
    East Asian affairs and commitment to public service.
    My one personal recollection, as an under- graduate assistant: I was sometimes detailed to purchase digestive aids prior to his visits to Taiwan. I recall him joking about sharkfin soup challenging his love of Chinese cusine.
    Dr. Walker will always be a shining example of what has been called “the greatest generation.” His genre of scholar, patriot, teacher and public servant will be difficult to match.

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