After more than 20 years of service to the Institute of Disability Studies (IDS) at The University of Southern Mississippi – including the past six as executive director – Dr. Royal P. Walker Jr., has announced he is retiring, effective May 30.
“During my 22-year journey at IDS, I have met and worked with so many great people,” said Walker, who has served as executive director of IDS since 2008. “I am grateful for the opportunity that IDS and the University have provided me to labor in the disability arena. Serving people with disabilities and their families in Mississippi has been good work for me.”
As executive director for the Institute, Walker is responsible for the daily operations of its Hattiesburg, Jackson and Long Beach offices. He joined IDS as associate director and instructor in 1992, and served as co-director from 2007 to 2008. IDS serves as Mississippi’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.
“Royal Walker has provided distinguished service to USM and the folks of Mississippi though his leadership as executive director of the Institute for Disability Studies,” said Dr. Gordon Cannon, vice president for Research at Southern Miss. “I am very sorry to see him leave but wish him well in his new endeavors, and feel privileged to have had the chance to work with him over the past several years.”
Walker was appointed by President Barack Obama on May 1 to serve a four-year term on the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency that recommends disability policy to the Administration, Congress and other federal agencies.
During his tenure with IDS, Walker has served on the Governor’s Interagency Coordinating Council for Children with Special Needs, the Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities, the American Task Force for the Homeless and chaired the Mississippi March of Dimes. He is a past president of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Walker received a B.A. from Jackson State University and a J.D. from Texas Southern University.
For information about the Institute of Disability Studies, visit http://www.usm.edu/disability-studies