University of California: In Memoriam, 1986

Richard Dunlop Walter, Neurology: Los Angeles

Professor Emeritus

Richard Dunlop Walter died on September 26, 1986, at the age of 65. Dr. Walter was born in Alameda, California. As a young man he worked as a logger and became interested in studying medicine to help care for people in El Dorado County. He enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley, and after graduation in 1943, entered St. Louis University School of Medicine, received a medical degree in 1946, and returned to a rotating internship at the Highland-Alameda County Hospital. After two years of military service in Japan and another year of internship, he became a resident in psychiatry at the Palo Alto VAMC for three years. In 1953 he was granted a two-year research fellowship in psychiatry by the National Institute of Mental Health which he served at the University of California Langley Porter Clinic in San Francisco. During these years in psychiatry he became intensely interested in the neurophysiology of emotional disorders and decided that he would pursue a research career.

He was attracted to electroencephalography as a practical mechanism for investigating brain physiology and in 1954 he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study bioelectric signals. In 1955 he came to UCLA to develop an Electroencephalographic Laboratory for the Division of Neurology with an appointment as instructor in medicine (neurology). For two years, in addition, he served as resident in neurology to complete American Board requirements for certification in both psychiatry and neurology. In those early years, Walter's exceptional talents in teaching and his interest in research solidified his academic career. He was appointed chief of the Neurology Outpatient Clinic for epilepsy, and soon thereafter in collaboration with the Division of Neurological Surgery, he applied for and was granted a well-funded study by the National Institutes of Health in Clinical Neurophysiology. This fine grant was repeatedly renewed and the scientific productivity of the team brought national and international recognition for the Department of Neurology.

Among the accomplishments of the group under the direction of Walter were: 1) the adaptation of a seven-channel device to permit radio-telemetry

of EEG data 24 hours a day of unrestrained patients; 2) the classification of ictal patterns of focal-type onset which became the principal criterion for surgery; and 3) the closed-circuit television and audio-monitoring. This video-EEG analysis of spontaneous limbic seizures improved the efficacy of temporal lobectomy and it is now employed in many national and international centers.

From instructor in medicine (neurology), Walter was promoted in steps. He became professor of medicine (neurology) in 1969, and, then, professor of neurology in 1970 when neurology was made a department. In 1974 he served as acting chairman of the department, and in 1975 he was appointed chairman--a position he carried with distinction until his elective retirement in 1983. Walter served many functions in the American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, the American Electroencephalographic Society, and in a number of other local and national organizations while also serving on many University committees. He was author or co-author of 222 scientific publications.

In recognition of the many academic and scientific contributions to the University made by our deceased colleague, Richard Dunlop Walter, be it resolved that the UCLA Academic Senate extends appreciation in his honor and memory.

Paul H. Crandall Christian Herrmann Jr. Augustus S. Rose

About this text
Courtesy of University Archives, The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000;
Title: 1986, University of California: In Memoriam
By:  University of California (System) Academic Senate, Author
Date: 1986
Contributing Institution:  University Archives, The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000;
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