Ever since he was 16, Davey Walker wanted to come to Multnomah. But once he graduated high school, he changed his mind and opted for a different college. Over the next few years, he switched his major six times. Nothing felt right.
In the fall of his junior year, he felt stuck. Then MU popped into his head. Deep down, he’d always dreamed of becoming a pastor. “I’m a relational person,” he says. “I love seeing change in people.” And then there was the basketball team he could join. The reasons to go kept adding up. So Walker enrolled, added a pastoral ministry major (now called church leadership) and never looked back.
“Starting anywhere is awkward at first, but the people here are warm and welcoming,” he says. “I have a solid group of friends now.”
Walker has been playing for the Multnomah Lions, the men’s basketball team, for three years now. Over the seasons, he’s gotten to travel with the team to Alaska, Florida, Missouri, New York and California. He’s loved every minute of it. “Being able to spend countless hours with the guys is great,” he says. And even though he commutes to school, Walker doesn’t feel like he’s missing out on the campus experience; his friends often invite him to stay the night in the dorms.
Being at Multnomah has not only given Walker a close set of friends and a valued place in the community — it’s caused his faith to grow substantially. One of the distinct highlights of his education has been his Bible and theology classes. The courses are setting a strong framework for the pastoral road he’s traveling. “My eyes were opened to a lot more truth than I’d originally known,” he says. “When people ask me questions now, I can answer with theological and biblical evidence. [It’s] solidified what I had and helped it to grow even more.”
Outside of his classes, Walker is getting firsthand ministry experience by volunteering at The Bridge, a church-based ministry in downtown Portland. He recently discovered a passion for teaching college-age believers. “I feel like college is when people find out who they are and what course they want their lives to take,” he says. “I want to influence that for the better, and I want people to remember how they changed through their relationship with me.”
Relationships are exactly what have characterized Walker’s own journey at Multnomah. The transition from a large, public college to an intimate, private university was a change that brought many benefits, including an increased access to faculty members. “It’s so nice I know all my professors,” he says.
And Walker doesn’t just know them. He has genuine friendships with them. “MU hires well-educated teachers who invest in their students,” he says. “And when you build relationships with them, it adds validity to what they teach.”
But it’s the simple actions — not just words — that have struck Walker the most. His professors have lunch with him. They’ll check up on him if he’s absent for a few days. “You’re not just a face in the crowd to them,” he says. “You’re a name and a story.”