Career Specialist Audrey Walker passed away suddenly on April 11 about a week after undergoing a heart surgery.
Walker’s supervisor, Career Services Manager Steven Gustis, said that Walker had called him a few days after the surgery saying it was successful then two days after he talked to her, she suddenly passed of unknown causes.
Walker worked in Career Services at the college for 15 years and assisted over 10,000 students and community residents in their search for a job.
According to Gustis, Walker was a friendly and positive person when helping students through the job search process and they always came back thankful for her assistance.
“She was a great listener and provided honest feedback which was sometimes difficult for the student to hear,” Gustis said. “Those students were often the most successful in their job search because they would come back to our office and tell us that she was tough with them, but they understood because Audrey knew it was in their best interest.”
Gustis said that Walker had a unique way to help students make the most of their abilities.
“Audrey helped students develop resumes, work with students on applications for scholarships, help students prepare for interviews and she had a special way of empowering students who felt as though they didn’t have enough experience or skills to attain the goal they were trying to reach,” Gustis said.
Among other colleagues that Walker touched with her loving heart, Associate Professor and Counselor Dana Thompson, was one who said impacted her life.
“Audrey was not just my “colleague,” she was my friend and my mentor,” Thompson said. “She was a loving, kind woman who was always available to lend an ear and help solve a problem. She had the ability to find humor in even the most trying situations [and] her calmness had the ability to help me see situations from a different perspective.”
Thompson worked with Walker for the past 10 years and knew her as the President of the West Town Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and very prominent African-American Women’s Organization member.
“To say that last Thursday was a difficult day would be to minimize what I felt for her. Last Thursday I lost a wonderful soul in my life, as did the college,” Thompson said.
A memorial service was held on Saturday, April 20 at 3 p.m. inside the Grace Episcopal Church on First Street in Hinsdale.
Following the memorial service, to honor Audrey Walker and all that she had done for the college over the past 15 years, the college will lower the flag at half-mast.