Dr. Walker's career path was anything but traditional. With little formal education and admittedly "more interested in cars and football" than academic achievement, he didn't plan on pursuing medicine.
"I was born into a family that was economically poor," he said. "I had little formal education and I knew very early in life that college was not in my future."
Funny how plans change.
Dr. Walker wed his high school sweetheart, Donna Ruth Dunlap, the summer after graduating high school and later became the proud father of a beautiful baby girl they named Michelle Marie. With the responsibility of a wife and family, he knew he had to make some decisions. He credits his wife for encouraging him to pursue medicine.
"Not everyone is lucky enough to marry someone who believes you can accomplish anything you set your mind to," shared Dr. Walker. "A wife who believed in me coupled with my first tour in the Navy made me grow up and decide what I wanted to do with my future.
"When the Navy offered me the opportunity to become a navy hospital corpsman, I knew I had found my passion in a career I would follow for the rest of my life. And after graduating from hospital corps school and gaining some experience, I began to realize the physicians I worked with were just normal people, not geniuses-and that I could work at that level if I was willing to study and apply myself.
"Medicine had captured my imagination. It would not let go," he said.
Being accepted to KCU and the interview process that led to it are still vivid memories for him. "The interviewer asked me questions I thought were appropriate and introspective. Not like the previous interviewer at the other medical school I applied to who asked me questions like ‘the definition of Nernst equation.' Of course I didn't know the answer to the question then and I still don't know the answer today.
"I had found the medical school that was right for me."
Dr. Walker says he sincerely enjoyed every day of his four years at KCU. Especially his commencement ceremony and celebrating the achievement of his degree with his family. Those memories and the life he was able to create for his family as a result of his education are what inspire him to give back so generously to the school.
"It is a great opportunity for Donna and me to give back to the things we love and that have brought us so many joys and treasures during our lives. Certainly, completing my medical school education at KCU helped enrich our lives in ways we could only dream of early in our marriage.
"When I am on the KCU campus and see these young men and women frantically scurrying from class to class, I feel a deep satisfaction in knowing that we are involved, if only in some small way, in helping them with their future dreams," he explained.
As a parting thought, Dr. Walker hopes to encourage other alumni to support the school and its future graduates. "We all received the tremendous gift of a great education-now it is our turn to give back. What could be a better time than during our centennial anniversary and planning for the next 100 years."
Marshall D. Walker, DO, is a 1972 graduate of KCU's College of Osteopathic Medicine and served as the University's 13th president and CEO from 2012 to 2013. He was elected Chair of the KCU Board of Trustees in 2013 and continues in that position today.