Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Miss Mattie Walker

“I plan to sleep until 8 am or after, enjoy the paper with a SECOND cup of coffee, and then spend the rest of the day doing WHATEVER PLEASES ME AT THE MOMENT!  After all that’s what retirement is for!”  This is what Miss Mattie Walker, head of the Tarleton Department of Home Economics, stated  when she announced her end of the semester retirement in February 1963!

Miss Walker attended Rockwall public schools, received her BS from Texas Woman’s University, received her MA from Columbia University, and did additional graduate work at the University of Chicago.  She taught at West Texas State College, North Texas State College, and Virginia State Teacher’s College before coming to Tarleton.

During Miss Walker’s thirty plus year tenure at Tarleton, the school grew from a junior agricultural college of 500 students to a senior liberal arts college with 1500 students!  She arrived at Tarleton when the Home Economics Building was the Administration Building.  In fact, her office at the time of her retirement was in the president’s old office!  She stated that the Home Economics Building was the only one of the current buildings that was there when she first arrived on the campus!

While at Tarleton she wrote the book Peanuts: the Use of Peanuts as a Food, c1941, which can be found in the Dick Smith Library.  It was edited by Tarleton Dean G. O. Ferguson, and the introduction was written by Tarleton Dean (President) J.Thomas Davis!  In addition, she was a member of the Texas Home Economics Association, American Association of University Women, the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, and the local Zonta Club.

It was impossible to summarize a lifetime of teaching and come up with career highlights, but Miss Walker related her teaching philosophy by saying that a teacher learns anew each year – the same course over the years is not the same – only the basic principles are the same – they are presented and applied in a different manner for each individual student – a lifetime of individuals!

President Howell stated that he regretted accepting Miss Walkers’ retirement announcement and that she would be missed by the faculty, staff, and past and present students – but more importantly, she would be missed by the many who were not yet Tarleton students!

The Tarleton Home Economics Meal Services Class honored Miss Walker with a tea May 10, 1963 in the living room of the Home Economics Building.  Members of the class and faculty who knew and had worked with Miss Walker attended!

Miss Walker would have 26 years of retirement!  Hopefully she slept late, read the paper and drank her second cup of coffee, and did whatever pleased her at the moment!!

, 1963.
JTAC, February 5, 1963, May 14, 1963.

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