January 10, 2020
In a little less than five years at Cowley College, Dr. Gloria Walker accomplished some big things during her time as the College’s vice president of finance and administration. She will be taking her talents on to the University of New Orleans where she was recently named the vice president for business affairs and Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
At Cowley, Dr. Walker was instrumental in implementing and completing the signage and wayfinding project. She also served as the College representative and project manager during construction of the Sumner Campus in Wellington, KS; was a major contributor in implementing a new ERP system; turned deficit spending into surplus in her first year at Cowley; and collaborated with colleagues to move the institution forward.
“Leaving Cowley is kind of bittersweet because I have made friends here that I will cherish the rest of my life,” Dr. Walker said. “This is an opportunity for me to get closer to my home of Houston. I have learned a lot during my time at Cowley and have grown as a person. I appreciate the confidence that was shown in me by the president and the Board of Trustees.”
Todd Ray, Cowley College director of maintenance and grounds, said Dr. Walker invested in the professional development of her staff so they would be subject experts in their field.
“Dr. Walker immediately changed our department by having us build our own budgets which really allowed us to become more budget conscious by seeing what amounts of money it takes to run the facilities,” Ray said. “She always had an open door policy for me and the rest of the employees in my department and was always challenging you to grow as an employee.”
Prior to coming to Cowley, Dr. Walker earned the Doctor of Education at Northeastern University with a concentration in Higher Education Administration. Prior to pursuing a doctoral degree, Dr. Walker served over 20 years in senior to executive level management in higher education. Over the course of her career in the areas of fiscal affairs; accounting and financial operations, Dr. Walker developed a solid background in community college administration at Houston Community College and South Florida Community College as (Executive) Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration and Vice President for Financial Services, respectively and Chief Financial Officer; and at Midland College, Midland, Texas in a similar capacity.
Dr. Walker served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Texas Southern University for three years, and served as the Vice President/Consultant for ASBSI, a Houston firm that specializes in financial advisory services for private, public, and governmental entities; and higher education institutions before coming to Cowley.
Dr. Walker has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Accounting from University of Houston, and a Master’s Business Administration in Finance from the University of St. Thomas. Dr. Walker is also a Certified Public Accountant.
She has received numerous awards during her time in higher education and was recently named a 2020 CFO Honoree by the Wichita Business Journal.
Cowley College president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle said his greatest joy in working with Dr. Walker was her ability to help him see situations through a differing perspective.
“Some say that learning begins through seeing life through the eyes of another. Dr. Walker has helped me grow as a leader and as a thinker through our work over these past four-plus years, which has been both very challenging and very fulfilling,” Dr. Rittle said. “Her resilience and tenacity are unmatched as well as her support of those less fortunate. I wish her great success as she continues advancing her career.”
Jody Arnett has served as Dr. Walker’s administrative assistant during her time at Cowley and will be among many who will miss working with her.
“Dr. Walker has a great sense of humor, so she’s very fun to work with,” Arnett said. “She has an amazing ability to deescalate tense situations like nobody I have ever seen. I have never seen anyone so willing to give second chances to people, even those who may have acted in an offensive way towards her. She’s got a heart of gold. I will really miss working with her. She’s made everyone in our little corner of the college a cohesive team.”