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Meet 2021 Distinguished Alum: John A. (Jack) Walter '69

Published: 09/21/2021

John A. (Jack) Walter

John A. (Jack) Walter

The Gannon University Alumni Association is proud to recognize five Distinguished Alumni honorees for 2021. For thirty years, the Distinguished Alumni Award has been presented to Gannon and Villa Maria college alumni in recognition of meaningful contributions in their professions, community and the university. It is the highest honor an alumnus can receive.

Read on to get to know 2021 Distinguished Alum, John A. (Jack) Walter '69.


College of Engineering and Business
John A. (Jack) Walter ’69
General Dynamics Corp., retired
Bachelor of Science, Accounting 

John A. (Jack) Walter ’69, retired vice president controller at General Dynamics Corp., received his accounting degree from Gannon College in 1969. While at Gannon, Walter participated in several intramural sports and was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity and of the Army ROTC Advanced Corps. 

Upon graduation, Walter began working for IBM as a cost accountant in Owega, NY. In June of that same year, he was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Field Artillery. Walter and his new bride, Janice, relocated to Fort Sill, Okla. By October of 1969, Walter was deployed to Vietnam, leaving behind his pregnant wife. In Vietnam he served as an artillery forward observer with an infantry company, an artillery liaison officer for an infantry battalion, and an assistant executive officer of his firing battery. Walter was part of the incursion into Cambodia in May and June 1970 and was promoted to first lieutenant while there. For his service in Vietnam, Walter was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, a second Bronze Star with “V” for valor in combat, four Air Medals, as well as the Silver Star.

Walter returned to the United States in October 1970 and happily reunited with his wife and met his six-month-old daughter, Jacquelyn, for the first time. He served at Fort Dix in New Jersey as the executive officer of a basic training company until June 1971, which completed his active-duty commitment, followed by entrance into the U.S. Army Reserve. Walter was promoted to captain in 1973 and ended his military career in 1974 to pursue his graduate studies at Canisius College.

Walter spent the next 36 years in the aerospace and defense industry, including 17 years with Sierra Research Corporation as staff accountant, accounting supervisor, accounting manager, assistant controller and controller. He joined Calspan Corp. as controller in 1988 and remained there for 19 years. During those 19 years, Calspan was merged into Veridian Corp. and eventually was acquired by General Dynamics Corp. in 2003. At his retirement in 2007, Walter held the position of vice president controller of a $500-million-dollar division. His organization of eighty accountants and professional staff were located from coast to coast.

Walter and his wife have been married for 52 and have three daughters - Jacquelyn Dougherty, Judith Dehn, and Mary Colpoys. They also have 10 wonderful grandchildren.

Walter has been involved in several local and regional community organizations. He has stayed involved with Gannon as a past president of the Buffalo alumni chapter, and chair of the Tau Kappa Epsilon’s scholarship fundraising efforts.


The Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented on Sept. 25 during Gannon University's Homecoming and Family Weekend in the Yehl Alumni Ballroom of the Waldron Campus Center. To register for the event, visit