UC Santa Cruz honored one of its alums, Ian Walton, who also was one of the original math faculty at Mission College, with the "Distinguished Alumni Award"
Walton received his Ph.D from UCSC in 1977 and quickly found community colleges to his liking. He found "a different world" in community colleges, with his first teaching assignment at that level with an evening algebra class at Monterey Peninsula College in 1977. A year later, in 1978, he accepted a full-time faculty position at Mission, which itself was only three years old and holding classes in an elementary school on Monroe Street.
Walton was Mission's third full-time faculty, following Teri Chiang and Tim Jackins.
In 1979 the entire campus moved to its current location and into the Main Building. He taught at Mission for 33 years, retiring in 2011. He was named the Faculty Member of the Year in 1988, chosen by Mission's graduating class.
One former student wrote, “Students, whether they were in a very basic precalculus course or an upper-division course in differential equations would often make comments to me about Ian Walton's ability to transmit mathematical ideas in a way which would suddenly open up a domain that they had previously been unable to understand. They talked about his uncompromising attitude towards the learning of difficult concepts, yet his willingness to devote whatever time it took so that students would comprehend. He always exhibited a sense of friendliness which was inviting and which encouraged students to ask questions and to seek answers.”
Former Mission College President Mike Rao wrote, "I was reminded of numerous occasions when former students and alumni mentioned the particular name of Dr. Ian Walton as an instructor who made the biggest difference in their lives. Most alumni who I meet on a random basis, seem to independently mention two or three of our distinguished faculty members. Ian is always one of them."
In 1998 Walton began serving on the Academic Senate at the state level. He did that for 12 years, including two years as president. Walton continues to advocate for under-served students, especially in the areas of math. He is also a part of accreditation bodies that regularly evaluate two-years colleges in the Western U.S.
Walton began at UCSC in 1973 as a Fulbright scholar after graduating from St. Andrews University in Scotland.
Walton was also an avid musician, playing the guitar.
UC Santa Cruz UC Santa Cruz Alumni