The W.W. Walker Building
Auburn University on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2000, officially named the building that houses its School of Pharmacy for W.W. Walker Jr., who built Birmingham-based Walker Drug Co. into one of the nation's largest independent wholesale drug companies.
"I can't tell you how proud our family is," said James O. Walker Sr., the son of the honoree and an Auburn graduate, who spoke to the 250 in attendance on behalf of his family. "I know that Dad is watching this and it's just a dream come true."
State Sen. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, an Auburn Trustee at the time and a 1965 graduate of Auburn's School of Pharmacy, read from a resolution adopted by the board that cited Walker for his "generous support of the Auburn University pharmacy program throughout his lifetime."
W.W. Walker Jr. joined Walker Drug Co., founded by his father, in 1930 and led the business until his death in 1987.
Walker completed his pharmacy education before joining his father's business and helping build it into an organization of more than 200 employees with a national reputation for nurturing the start-up and survival of many independent pharmacies throughout Alabama. In addition to his financial support of Auburn's School of Pharmacy, Walker also served on the Dean's Advisory Council and was awarded the first Distinguished Service Award by the Pharmacy Alumni Association in 1976.
The Walker family has continued to support the school through contributions to pharmacy building funds in 1975 and 2000, establishment of the W.W. Walker Jr. Endowed Professorship and the Walker Family Fund for Excellence, which funds teaching excellence in the School of Pharmacy.
With several members of the Walker family, including Mrs. W.W. Walker Jr., in attendance, Barron and Tim Bishop, a 1971 Auburn graduate and then-president of the Auburn Pharmacy Alumni Association, recalled how Walker had helped them open their pharmacy practices.
"He taught me how to start a pharmacy with just $5,000," Barron said. "He said, 'Son, that's not a lot of money,' but I told him that's all that I was able to borrow and he helped me get it done."
"Few families have had an in impact on a profession that the Walker family has had on pharmacy in Alabama," Bishop said. "We all know how generous Mr. Walker was. He was always giving and taking care of pharmacists and pharmacies. He co-signed my bill when I went into business."
The naming of the building after Walker, was, according to his son, the culmination of 12 years of work, spanning the tenures of three Auburn pharmacy deans -- Ben Cooper, Bill Campbell and current dean R. Lee Evans, all of whom were in attendance.
Sam Coker, the only other living former dean of Auburn's School of Pharmacy, was also in attendance.
The W.W. Walker Jr. Building was completed in 1976 and currently houses the faculty, staff, administration and the students enrolled in pharmacy degree programs.
Last Updated: February 21, 2017