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The George Walker Debate Award  
This page is an excerpt from our 50th Reunion Yearbook (thanks to Tom Carpenter)

Presented to the Outstanding Cadet Debater(s) Each Year

The George W.P. Walker Award is presented annually at the Department of Social Sciences Graduation Week Awards Ceremony. The award honors the top graduating debater or debaters from the USMA Debate Team in recognition of their competitive success and contributions to the team.

George William Patrick Walker was the Glenn Davis and “Doc” Blanchard of Army debate. He won the National Debate Tournament as a Yearling with his partner, Jim Murphy ’57, and lost by a 3-2 vote of the judges in the National Debate Tournament our First Class year. Along the way, George won more regional debate tournaments across the country than any debater from any university in the USA. George graduated at the top of our Class academically, and a number of classmates affirm that they would have never graduated without his unselfish and patient coaching.

George’s parents never finished high school. His father dropped out of the eighth grade and ran a small grocery on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to support his family. These were remarkable people—proud of their children, strong in their Catholic faith, and proud to be Americans. Many in our class called them “Mom and Pop Walker,” because of their closeness to the class.

George was killed in an aircraft accident on 31 January 1959. Two other classmates had their lives saved by a high school janitor who lived next to the crash site and pulled them to safety.

With a generous contribution from the Class Executive Committee, the strong support of Colonel Dan Kaufman, Professor and Head of the Social Sciences Department, and approval of the Superintendent, the George Walker Room was dedicated in Lincoln Hall. The dedication was attended by George’s three sisters, Pat, Karen and Diane; by his debate coach, Lieutenant General Abbott C. Greenleaf, USAF, Retired; his debate partner [Tom Carpenter—ed.]; his family priest, Father Sams; Jim Murphy’s widow; and more than 30 classmates.

In addition to the award given by the Social Sciences Department to outstanding cadet debaters each year, the Walker family established an award for excellence in debate at the national level of competition. The Walker Memorial Trophy is presented annually at the prestigious National Debate Tournament, consisting of the top 74 teams in the nation. After completion of the final round, this rotating trophy is presented to the team finishing in second place.

The National Debate Tournament, 1956. George Walker receives the National Debate Tournament Trophy as the outstanding debater in the nation. At far left: Jim Murphy ‘57, Major Hansen, George, Cpt. Abott Greenleaf, Ray Ketchum ‘57 and Colonel George A. Lincoln, Professor and Head of the Social Sciences Department.

Tom Carpenter with George Walker’s sisters at the dedication of the George Walker Room. L to R: Pat Walker Esposito, Diane Walker, and KarenWalker.

Pete Penczer presents The Walker Award to one of the top two cadet debaters in 2005. The two recipients were Cadet Derek Reeves and Cadet Dongin Piul Soh.