Dr. Walter McConnell '53, graduated with a BS Biology. While a student at Bucknell, he was a member of Phi Lambda Theta Fraternity, ran Track and Field, played varsity soccer, participated in intramural soccer, boxing, cross country, basketball, and was a cheerleader. He joined the Bucknell chapter of the NAACP, the Men's Christian Fellowship, and Alpha Phi Omega (blood donors). Walt met Isabel their first week on campus and they were married four years later one week after their graduation. Walt then went on to serve in the US Navy for two years patrolling Korean waters during the Korean war. Upon discharge from the Navy, and with the benefit of the GI Bill, he went on to earn an M.D. from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1959.
Professionally Walt has spent nearly four decades in family practice and then as an emergency room physician at Dover NJ General Hospital until retiring in 1996. He has written a book about those years called "Malignant Decisions" where he describes how he has seen the level of health care decline. He is currently engaged in the production of a documentary which is based in part on his book.
Walt's devotion to Bucknell in words and deeds has truly been immense. He has attended every one of his class reunions since graduation and played a major role in organizing four of them. He has served on and as Chair of his Class Reunion Gift Committee. At his 50th reunion his personal efforts resulted in his class setting the all time reunion class records for attendance and giving rates. He played a major role in the creation of a special reunion edition of the Bucknellian, which has become an enduring tradition. He and his wife Isabel have been consistent donors of the University. Not to rest on his laurels, Walt joined the Alumni Board in 2006 and serves today on the communications committee and also is a liaison to the Black Alumni Association. A year later came one of his most unbelievable accomplishments for Bucknell. In September 2007, at the age of 75, Walt and four fellow alums participated in a cross country bicycle trip, from Santa Monica, Calif., to Atlantic City, N.J., in 19 days! Walt began by dipping his tires in the Pacific at the beginning and in the Atlantic at the end. Walt and his teammates raised over $1 million for the Bucknell Scholarship Fund!
When he is not engaged with Bucknell activities, Walt and Isabel have traveled, hiked, biked, skied and rafted in over 80 countries. In l989 at age 66.Walt climbed Mt Everest reaching the height of 27,000 feet and carried with him a Bucknell banner and T-shirts, thereby raising Bucknell to new heights! Lately he has concentrated on photography and has spent time as a cruise ship physician. From his love of skiing he wrote "The Snowbird Tram" which a history of Snowbird Mountain Utah.
Walt and Isabel raised four children Barbara,Walter, Wendy, and Jeffrey '81 who like Walt is also an MD.
It is with great pleasure that the Bucknell Alumni Association honors Dr. Walter L. McConnell with its Award for Loyalty to Bucknell.
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