About Kaleb McMichen

Kaleb McMichen is a 2001 graduate of The Walker School and serves as the Director of Alumni Relations & Planned Giving. Kaleb received his Bachelor of Arts in political science & communication studies from Furman University and his Master of Public Administration with a concentration in management & finance from Georgia State University. He also holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“Here we go….”

Commencement.

I really do love that word.

Defined broadly as “a beginning or a start,” I am keenly aware that the awarding of Walker’s diplomas during our Commencement ceremony does not mark an end but rather a beginning to the next chapter in the lives of our alumni.

For our Alumni Association, this year’s Commencement marked the tipping point during which Walker welcomed its 2,000th graduate (as well as our 2,001st, 2,002nd and so on).

Like my fellow alumni, I am reminded that my Walker diploma as well as those from my undergraduate and graduate alma maters is a recognition of accomplishment, but it is also a challenge, a charge if you will, to do more — to do better.

An often quoted French phrase, “noblesse oblige,” literally means “nobility obligates.”  Taken in more of a figurative sense, the phrase has come to be known to mean, as President Kennedy once wrote, “to whom much is given, much is expected.”  A Walker diploma is a physical reminder to all of our alumni that much sacrifice and work led to their ability to receive a world-class college-preparatory education.

Our graduates go on to become doctors, entrepreneurs, attorneys, filmmakers, authors and engineers among a host of other professions.  They also go on to become parents and, in the not too distant future, the first of our alumni will likely become grandparents.

As each graduate accepts his or her diploma, crosses the stage, stops at the top of the stairs for their picture and turns their tassel, they continue our proud tradition of sending out into the world well-educated young ladies and gentlemen.  From that point, they spread across the globe to campuses near and far to continue their own journeys.

While their paths will vary, the thing that they all have in common in that moment as their friends and family smile with pride and they descend those stairs for the first time as alumni of The Walker School is that instantaneous epiphany in which each says to themselves, “Here we go….”

The Class of 2012 celebrates Commencement.

The Class of 2012 celebrates Commencement.

Welcome Home

dsc_4074The excitement is beginning to build as we look forward to the festivities of Homecoming (Friday, October 18).  The entire student body will get swept up in Spirit Week and the Upper School students will get to enjoy their Homecoming dance on Saturday night.  Our football team will go out and face off against a rival in what is always a packed stadium at Robertson Field.  But when you trace Homecoming to its roots, it is really a time for our alumni to come home.

The Walker community is comprised of several groups including students, faculty/staff, parents, trustees and more, but our largest group, by far, is our alumni.  With 1,976 alumni spread out across 33 graduating classes, our alumni are a diverse group.  They range in age from late teens to early fifties and reside in some 37 U.S. states and nine other countries around the globe.

As one of those 1,976 graduates, I like to think that what makes Homecoming so special for our alumni is that it is a time to reflect on what has changed and, perhaps more importantly, what hasn’t changed at Walker.

dsc_4108For those who haven’t visited in several years, the changes may seem overwhelming at first.  Relatively new and expansive buildings cover a campus that is more than twice the size it was when the school relocated here in 1977.  Though football is now very much a part of Walker’s fabric, it is still practically a new creation having existed for only the last decade of Walker’s more than 55-year history.

Yet, what remains constant are those friends and those faculty members who, in truth, are more like family.  As with any family, members grow older and new members are added as time passes, but Walker isn’t a place that people return to in order to see buildings.  Walker is a place our alumni come home to each and every year to see each other and see those who have been a part of their lives for years – even decades.

dsc_4067To put on an event the size and scale of Homecoming takes nearly a year of planning and the support of many of our school’s staff as well our Alumni Board.  But what makes all the effort worth it are the scenes you see in the few photos shared here – of old friends reuniting, of children being introduced to classmates, of alumni once again seeing their favorite teacher.  That’s what it means for our alumni to come home to Walker.