On warm summer days, you might come across Donald L. Walters in period dress wearing a tri-cornered hat as he leads visitors on the Historic Lancaster Walking Tour.
Walters taught education administration at Temple University for 36 years before retiring in 2002. When he interviewed at Temple, the school was looking for someone who could teach school business administration, research design and statistics.
“I couldn’t have written my job description any better,” he says. “That’s what I wanted to do.”
Following his retirement, he and his late wife, Nina, lived in South Carolina for three years. After her passing, he moved to Willow Valley Communities in 2005.
In addition to his role on the Historic Lancaster Walking Tour, where he also is a board member, Walters serves as a tour guide at Wheatland, Rock Ford and Boehm’s Chapel.
Age and hometown: 82, from Kokomo, Indiana.
Family: Son, Mark; wife, Nina, is deceased.
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University; doctorate in education from the University of Miami, Florida.
Why I became a professor: I always thought the best job was to be a student. In about sixth or seventh grade, I went to a summer school program at the Indiana University. One guy asked me what I’d like to be. I said I’d like to be a professor.
You taught education classes, yet have lectured on history. How did that occur? History has always been my hobby.
Favorite historic sites: I enjoyed Philadelphia because of all the history, and that’s one of the things that attracted me to Lancaster. But Virginia is full of historic sites. So many of the presidents were born there or lived there.
What my library looks like: It has a lot of books about history, many of which are related to presidents, particularly (James) Buchanan. I have at least one book for each of the different presidents.
The last book I read: I started “American Emperor.” It’s about Aaron Burr — what a rascal he was. I’m re-reading “James Buchanan and the American Empire.” It’s about his diplomatic experience before he became president.
Why Buchanan was not the worst U.S. president: He certainly had problems, but I don’t see how anybody can put him below John Tyler, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, Millard Fillmore, even Warren Harding.