Dr. Diana Walton Scholarship
Co-presidents’ (Nat Brunette and Bonnie Roynon) Comments on the Dr. Diana Walton Scholarship and Media Launch
Two of CFUW North Bay’s purposes focus on the pursuit of knowledge and the promotion of education. Many of the actions that our club pursues in fundraising annually are primarily to allow the awarding of scholarships and bursaries for female students in North Bay. As a result, CFUW North Bay was honoured in November of 2021 to have been approached by Mr. William Walton with the sum of $15,000. to be used towards our club's ongoing annual scholarships.
At that time, our executive felt that it was only fitting to create an additional new CFUW scholarship in Dr. Diana Walton's name at Nipissing University. As a result of this generous donation, for the next fifteen years, CFUW will be presenting a worthy recipient with a $1000 scholarship.
Ironically, although Dr. Walton was never a member of CFUW North Bay, in the early 1960's, as Diana left North Bay to begin her undergraduate degree at Queen's University, she was that year's winner of the CFUW North Bay scholarship for high school graduates. Throughout her storied academic career, Dr. Walton remained well known to our members through their professional and educational connections. In May 2001, Dr. Diana Walton also served as the featured keynote speaker at the CFUW North Bay's 60th anniversary dinner held at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 23. Her enthusiasm and supportive words towards CFUW North Bay resulted in new members joining the club the following September.
In Memoriam: Diana Walton
By Kristen Ferguson, Professor, Schulich School of Education; J.W. Trussler Proficiency Award for Classical Studies, 1999
I could write about Dr. Walton’s lengthy career and her impact on provincial and national organizations. I could write about her influence on Nipissing University, her contributions to the early years at the university, her involvement in the creation of the coat of arms and how the fact that there is an Athenian owl on it is no coincidence. But I will always remember Dr. Walton as an incredible professor and for what she meant to my graduating class.
It’s common for students to like a teacher so much that they take more courses taught by that instructor. But we took entire degrees in Classical Studies because of Dr. Diana Walton. There were about ten of us that graduated together. We simply adored her and took every class we could with her.
She was smart and we all knew it. She could recite lines of poetry or plays at the drop of a hat and in multiple languages. She could talk about the Odyssey for hours and was such a good speaker and had such insight, we absorbed her lectures and loved every word of them. If you knew nothing about Classical Studies or literature, by the end of a single course you would know plenty, and you would also love Classics. She was that good of a teacher; her love for literature was forefront. She was also a powerhouse. We knew she was a strong cancer survivor, and she had our utmost respect. We always called her Dr. Walton.
But what made Dr. Walton an incredible teacher was her humanity. She cried in class during the song, “Remember Me” from the opera, Dido and Aeneas and wasn’t afraid to let us see her tears. She also had a wicked sense of humour and an infectious laugh that I’ll never forget. She howled with laugher when a student presented Ovid’s Art of Love and explained how he tried Ovid’s techniques to pick up girls in the library (he got an A+, by the way). She ate pizza with us and joyfully laughed at all the jokes while watching A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a movie she’d seen countless times. She loved telling us about her son who was a Snowbird pilot, whom she frequently reminded us with a tinge of annoyance was named “Marcus” not “John Boy,” which was his Snowbird nickname. She beamed with pride the day her grandson was born.
In our final year, the Classics Club arranged a trip to Toronto to the ROM. Dr. Walton was busy doing Tai Chi in one of the large halls in the museum, and we snuck away to buy her a gift from our graduating class. We went to the World’s Biggest Bookstore where they had one classical book that we knew she didn’t have - a collection of plays by Menander. We all signed it with messages of how much she meant to us.
The years came and went after graduation. She attended my wedding. I even had the privilege of being a faculty member with her during her last year at Nipissing. One of the last times I saw Dr. Walton was at a social gathering, unexpectedly. Surprised to see each other, we beamed smiles at one other, hugged, and just looked at each other for what felt like a long time. There were no words, just the warmest of feelings.
I remember all these things and more. Dr. Diana Walton was simply a wonderful human being who had an immeasurable impact on Nipissing students.
O magister, meminarimus te.