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JCP: After 50 years at Milligan, retired alum returns to give graduation speech

This article original appeared here in the Johnson City Press.

by Jessica Fuller

Seeger Chapel filled with cheering family and friends Friday night as 113 students strode across the stage to receive their degrees.

Milligan graduate Duard Walker attended the ceremony as a special guest and delivered a speech welcoming the graduates to life after college.

“I’ve just always loved young people,” He said to the crowd of graduates, family and friends.

Even after he graduated from Milligan College, Walker stuck around for 50 years as a coach, administrator teacher and dormitory supervisor. All five of his children graduated from Milligan, and after turning 90 this year he returned to speak at this year’s commencement ceremony.

“I’ve actually lived on this campus for 54 years,” he said to a roar of laughter from the audience.

Walker coached almost every sport at Milligan including baseball and basketball. He listed several of his former students and athletes that have gone on to be successful after their graduation.

“At least three of my former athletes are medical doctors and one of them is my personal doctor,” he said. “I hope he’s in the crowd tonight.”

To close, Walker said he hoped that somewhere among all of the studying, writing papers and taking exams, that students remembered to enjoy their time as college students in Northeast Tennessee. He comprised a list of activities he said he hoped students stopped to enjoy on the way to earning their degree, including hiking and gaining advice from mentors and teachers.

“I hope that you have taken time out of classes to smell the roses along the way,” he said. “Those of you that did will remember that for the rest of your lives.”


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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