SME endows Walker Foundation Scholarship fund to $2 million

In honoring past Education Foundation chairman Earl E. Walker, association creates $100,000 a year scholarships


"I thought you needed some help,” was a phrase characteristic of Earl E. Walker, CEO, Carr Lane Manufacturing, St. Louis, Mo. and Chair Emeritus, SME Education Foundation. Known for his philanthropic work with numerous schools and charities, Mr. Walker worked full time until a week before passing away on August 26 at age 91.

Honoring his memory, the SME Education Foundation Board of Directors voted to move $835,000 into the Myrtle and Earl Walker Endowed Scholarship fund. The fund will now be endowed at the $2 million level and will pay out $100,000 a year in scholarships. Myrtle and Earl E. Walker established a named endowment in 1988 and have been generous donors of the SME Education Foundation supporting scholarships, grants to colleges and universities and Library awards.

The Myrtle and Earl Walker Scholarship requires applicants have a 3.0 (GPA) on a 4.0 scale, be   full-time undergraduate students enrolled at the accredited trade school or degree-granting institution which offers programs in manufacturing engineering or technology in the United States  or Canada; have completed a minimum of 15 college credit hours or one semester, and be seeking a career in manufacturing engineering or technology. The scholarship can only be used as a credit toward books, fees, or tuition.

U.S. News & World Report ranks public and private engineering graduate schools annually based on the quality of the program, teachers and student outcomes. The 2009-2011 annual in-state, full-time tuition rates, including fees, for the top five graduate schools for engineering programs range from $38,480 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to $13,636 at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (

Since 1998, the SME Education Foundation has provided over $5.3 million dollars in financial support through its various scholarship programs. The Foundation awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors, current undergraduates and masters or doctoral degree students pursuing degrees in manufacturing and related fields at two-year and four-year colleges. The Online Scholarship Application will be available mid-November for the school year 2012-2013.

The board also officially named the SME Education Foundation Founder’s Society the Myrtle and Earl Walker Founder’s Society. The Founder’s Society honors and recognizes the Foundation’s most generous supporters. Membership in the Founder’s Society is based upon cumulative gifts that support the SME Education Foundation.

In 1952, Mr. Walker founded Carr Lane Manufacturing in St. Louis, Mo., with five employees and with his wife Myrtle at his side. Today, the company is a multi-million dollar operation as an international provider of component parts for jigs and fixtures used in all areas of manufacturing, especially the airline and automotive companies. Major organizations and individuals across the country like Earl Walker and Carr Lane Manufacturing have recognized the benefits of supporting an industry that creates the wealth critical to the U.S. prosperity here and around the world.

Companies supporting the future of manufacturing at the $1,000,000 level through the SME Education Foundation include: Caterpillar Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund; E. Wayne & Beulah S. Kay; Siemens PLM Software Inc.; Toyota Motor Corporation, and Allen Weber. At the $500,000 level: 3M; Emerson Charitable Trust; Gene Haas Foundation; General Motors Foundation; Earl E. & Myrtle E. Walker, and Albert F. Wright. For the complete list, click here.

In September 2011, the top line results of a survey sponsored by Advanced Technology Services, (ATS) and conducted by The Nielsen Company among 100 VP-level and C-level executives stated: “55% of the largest U.S. manufacturers polled with $1 billion or more revenue, will be hardest hit by the skill shortage costing $100 million or more over the next 5 years.”

Bart A. Aslin, chief executive officer, SME Education Foundation, said, “Earl Walker was a realist and an astute businessman. He is a case study for entrepreneurial manufacturers. He appreciated the importance of his ROI for his company as well as aspiring engineers. We have many opportunities for individuals and companies to mirror Earl Walker’s efforts. It’s all about smart investing.” 

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