Alvin E. Walz Chemistry Scholarship
Dr. Alvin E. Walz joined the CLC faculty in 1963 when the college was still in its infancy. He was a career educator in chemistry, but he made what was perhaps his most memorable mark as a professor who genuinely cared about his students both before and after graduation. He was simply and affectionately referred to by everyone as “Al Walz.”
Al Walz was born in Hot Springs, South Dakota, in 1919. He received his bachelor’s degree from Northern State Teachers College and then earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Iowa. At Cal Lutheran, Al Walz was a true colleague. He loved teaching but he also accepted responsibilities in college governance. Through his 27 years on the CLC faculty he served on nearly every faculty committee and was elected faculty chair by his colleagues. As faculty chair he was the first in that capacity to serve on the CLC board of regents. But his first love was teaching, and he considered his greatest reward to be the continued success of his former students, many of whom went on to conduct original research, practice medicine and teach.
In 1989 at the age of 70 Dr. Walz made the decision to retire. At that point, his friends and colleagues began to realize just how much he had contributed to the institution. To honor Al and his significant contributions to the life of CLC, then faculty chair Kenneth Pflueger launched a campaign to create and endow a chemistry scholarship in Dr. Walz’ name. The response was heartwarming, and gifts came in from faculty, staff, students and alumni. In his quiet, unassuming manner, Dr. Walz had indeed touched the lives of everyone with whom he had contact. Following his death in 1996, friend and colleague Dr. Ernst Tonsing described him in these words: “Al Walz knew the wonder, the awe, the vastness of God’s creation as well as the microscopic detail of the electron. God was great and we, small.”