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Walker to step down as Lawrence Tech's president next year

Release Date: July 6, 2011

SOUTHFIELD, Mich.– At the Lawrence Technological University Board of Trustees meeting June 30, President Lewis N. Walker discussed a plan by which he would continue to serve as president and chief executive officer of the University through June 30, 2012.  Effective July 1, 2012, he will serve as chancellor of the University through June 30, 2013, reporting directly to the Board of Trustees and carrying out duties as mutually agreed upon with the executive committee.

The Board unanimously approved this plan.

The Board also authorized its executive committee to begin immediately a national search for a new president and chief executive officer with the objective of filling the position by July 1, 2012.

Walker, 66, has served as Lawrence Tech’s president and CEO since February 2006. He joined the university in 1994 as provost – the chief academic officer – and became executive vice president with the added oversight of financial and business activities in 2003.

“The university has made tremendous progress toward its long-term goals thanks to Lewis Walker’s leadership for almost 20 years, and his tenure as president has been marked with many significant accomplishments,” said Lloyd Reuss, chairman of Lawrence Tech’s Board of Trustees. “The board has valued both his bold vision for the future and his steady hand on the tiller.”

Walker is the sixth president since the private, 4,500-student university was founded in 1932. He expects his final year to be productive.

“This is an exciting time at Lawrence Tech, and we have a number of important initiatives under way. I look forward to working toward their fruition,” Walker said.

Shortly after Walker became president in 2006, Lawrence Tech dedicated the A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center and extensive, environmentally-friendly renovations of the campus quadrangle. The university’s Center for Innovative Materials Research was dedicated in 2008. In May 2011, plans were announced for the construction of the A. Alfred Taubman Engineering, Architecture and Life Sciences Complex. Taubman has committed $11 million for a $55 million building.

The new construction will further strengthen Lawrence Tech’s programs in biomedical engineering and life sciences that have been major initiatives during Walker’s presidency.

Under Walker’s leadership, Lawrence Tech has obtained commitments totaling $65 million toward the goal of $75 million to $100 million for its “Proud Heritage, Bold Future” capital campaign expected to conclude by 2014.

Walker quickly identified leadership education as one of his top priorities as president, putting Lawrence Tech in the vanguard of what has become a national trend. The university has taken a comprehensive approach to undergraduate leadership education that helps all Lawrence Tech students maximize their potential. Students receive instruction and fulfill leadership obligations in all four undergraduate years.

Another major initiative is the development of an entrepreneurial education component for 30 courses that are part of the engineering curriculum.

Walker demonstrated his own leadership style in the fall of 2008 when Lawrence Tech became the first university in the state – and perhaps the nation – to take a comprehensive approach for helping workers displaced by the economic crisis. He and his leadership team quickly put together the “Recovery Starts Here” initiative that ultimately included:


  • Six hundred “Recovery Grants” covering 50 percent of tuition for eligible displaced workers or their dependent children through the completion of a degree program.


  • A series of networking receptions and workshops designed to match displaced workers with college degrees with innovative companies. More than 1,200 attended the first networking reception in January 2009.


  • More than 40 new “fast track” certificate programs designed to help displaced workers make a quick transition to new careers in emerging fields such as sustainability, alternative energy and life sciences.

During the past five years, Lawrence Tech has added more than three dozen new degree programs and now offers more than 100 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs.

Walker’s tenure as president has also been distinguished by a strong emphasis on planning. He worked with a campus-wide committee for more than a year to produce the 2007 strategic plan that is guiding future growth on campus. One goal is to increase residential housing.

“President Walker is noteworthy for his consensus-building style of leadership. He gives people a chance to contribute to the decision-making process,” said Stephen Brown, vice president of advancement at Lawrence Tech. “Lawrence Tech’s faculty, staff, alumni, lead donors and program partners appreciate the leadership he has provided and look forward to working with him on many important projects during the final 12 months of his presidency.”

After a 50-year hiatus, the university will begin a phased return to varsity athletics this fall after Walker led a delegation that won admittance to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics this spring.

Walker also played a key role when Lawrence Tech became the first university in Michigan to provide laptops to every undergraduate student in 2001. Ten years later the university remains unique in Michigan by supplying not only a computer but also all the high-end software programs students need for their courses – all included in the cost of tuition.

Lawrence Tech partners with industry leaders to make sure its students become familiar with the software they will be using when they get jobs in their chosen professions.

As president, Walker travelled extensively in Asia and the Middle East to strengthen Lawrence Tech’s network of international partners. Lawrence Tech has agreements with more than 20 foreign universities, and students from more than 40 countries attend the university.

Walker is a native of Missouri and holds three degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia, including the Ph.D. in electrical engineering. A registered professional engineer, he worked in the utility industry on power system protection and power system dispatch operations.

Before coming to Lawrence Tech, Walker was dean of engineering and assistant to the president at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

Walker serves on the boards of a number of community organizations including the Engineering Society of Detroit, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Automation Alley, the Boy Scouts of America, the Detroit Economic Club, the Southeast Michigan Alliance for Manufacturing, and the Workforce Development Board of Oakland County.

Walker and his wife Nancy live in Plymouth. They have five children and five grandchildren, and one of their sons is an alumnus of Lawrence Tech.

Lawrence Technological University,, offers more than 100 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in the Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, and programs are also offered in Detroit, Lansing, Petoskey, Traverse City and Toronto. Lawrence Tech also partners with universities in Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.