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New scholarship provides opportunity for women in business

Doris Walker Appleman Family

As a tribute to family heritage and their mother’s emphasis on education, three sisters have created a scholarship for Northwest Missouri State University women aspiring to work in the business field.

The Doris Walker Appleman Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to an entering freshman female. To be eligible for the $1,000 scholarship, which will be awarded for the first time for the 2021-22 academic year, students must be enrolled full-time with a minimum grade-point average of 3.00 and a declared major in any area of business within the Melvin D. & Valorie G. Booth School of Business. First preference will be given to first-generation students. Academic achievement and financial need also will be leading criteria.

Mary Ann Andersen, Shirley Kohlwes and Jan Corriston were inspired to establish the scholarship at Northwest because of the Walker family’s deep connection to the University and the passion their mother, Doris Walker Appleman, had for learning.

“She couldn't go to college because of finances,” Corriston said. “She was certainly capable of attending college, so if there is a woman who wants to go on to school in business, particularly if she’s the first person in her family to go, that would be fabulous because that would really honor Mother.”

Appleman was born in 1910 in Burlington Junction, Missouri, and grew up on a farm as the oldest child with her two brothers and three sisters. Her focus on education was instilled by her father.

“He said the boys could always farm,” Andersen said of her grandfather. “But he insisted that his four daughters receive a college education, which I think was pretty remarkable for that time period.”

Appleman received a scholarship to attend Maryville High School and earned a diploma there, but finances during the Great Depression prevented her from receiving an education at what was then Northwest Missouri State Teachers College.

In addition to two sisters, Mildred Walker Howard and Maxine Walker Nolt, who graduated from Northwest previously, Appleman’s sister, Grace Walker Blackford, studied home economics and earned a teacher certification at the college in 1944. Grace and her husband, Ercille, had two sons, John, a 1968 graduate, and Jim, a 1972 graduate, who have carried on that legacy of learning and are giving back to Northwest in their own ways. A total of nine Walker family members have attended Northwest. 

A need for income pushed Appleman to enhance her business interest, and she began working as a secretary at Nodaway Valley Bank in Maryville. After rearing a family and a move in 1947 to Colorado Springs, Colorado, she developed her clerical and administrative skills and learned about investing with the help of friends. Appleman built a reputation as a hard worker, finding employment with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). 

“She was very efficient and accurate and proud of her work,” Corriston said. “But she always was sorry that she didn’t have a college degree. She never stopped learning, however, and could be found reading business journals up to the time of her death at age 93. Also, she paid attention to her investments. They were small, but important to her.”

Even after moving to Colorado Springs and later to Seattle, where her daughters reside today, Appleman remained connected to northwest Missouri because it represented an unbreakable link to her family. She is buried near Burlington Junction at the Ohio Cemetery on land donated by a Walker ancestor.

“Northwest Missouri and its University are indeed core to the Walker legacy,” Andersen said.

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