Apr 4, 2006

Kent Walter: Inquisitive, compassionate, intelligent, quaint and stylish

by Linda Laferriere
If I didn’t already know the English professor whom I was interviewing I would have been thoroughly confused when a stylish looking 23-year-old walked up and apologized for being two minutes late.

At first glance you may think Kent Walter is part of the student body. In all actuality, Walter is a college professor, who at 23 makes for the youngest professor at Liberty University. Walter may not have always known he wanted to be a college professor, but one thing he knew is that he had a passion for English, which is why he switched out of his journalism major, which he explained as too confining.

When talking about his change in major, Walter explained, “People are living into their 80s. Either you will have time, or you won’t, and it won’t matter. God gives people passions for a reason.” His passions include writing and teaching others to write, which explains why he wanted to take on his current job as an English professor at Liberty University.

Before coming back to Liberty, Walter taught seventh and eighth grade for a year. Spring break came along, and Walter decided to come to Liberty to visit his old professors and friends, thinking that it would be just a normal spring break.  Little did he know, a conversation with Dr. Mark Harris ended up changing his life. The conversation went something like the following according to Walter:

“You’re going to teach middle school again next year?” asked Harris. 

“No, it has been rough,” answered Walter. 
“We need professors for basic composition.” 

“Ok, I’ll pray about it.” 

Walter called back the next day, filled out a long application, and a few weeks later he was hired to teach basic composition.

Walter’s life doesn’t seem to be too much different than the typical college student. His evenings are an assortment of working on writing, playing piano and reading. That is if he goes straight home after work. If he doesn’t go home after work, then he is probably spending time with any  one of his best friends, such as Aaron Stone. The weekends are spent with friends preferably “fencing,” which is beating each other with sticks Kent explained, with a smile.

“I met him (Kent) my first day of college and after only a half hour he invited me to go rock climbing, and he has been one of my best friends,” said Aaron Stone. “He is a little different than most people and is the sort of person who stumbles in and out of spiritual talk as if his life is lacking the compartmentalism that sadly rules the modern American Christian church.”

Walter has been a Christian since the age of 5, but it wasn’t until he was 14 years old when he was on a mission trip to Brazil that he started really understanding what it meant to be a Christian. His life wasn’t a wreck before, but the mission trip to Brazil along with the one to Malawi the next year, definitely boosted his walk with the Lord.

When talking about the places that he has been, Walter got excited and wanted to share them in alphabetical order, which just shows his passion for English. He laughingly calls himself a nerd. The list of destinations Walter has been is as follows:  America, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, England, Japan, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia.

The trip to Japan was intended for Walter to see if it was somewhere he wanted to live. He went there for two weeks and spent time praying and scoping out the country. Walter left with one of his funniest memories, and the realization that Japan was not for him, for now. While in Tokyo, he stumbled across this karaoke bar. 

“It was this really posh place (referring to the karaoke bar), and there I was in shorts,” remembers Walter.  Walter was looking forward to relaxing while listening to others do some karaoke, but he was in for a surprise when he was led into a little room with a small stage, and sound proof walls. 

It didn’t take Walter long to realize he had just reserved a sound proof room for him and his friends to partake in some karaoke. The only thing is Walter wasn’t there with his friends; he was there by himself, which didn’t stop him.  He just belted out the karaoke at the top of his lungs for about an hour.

During the interview, I asked Walter to explain himself in five words. One of his close friends, Josh Mezanno overheard the question and asked, if he could explain Walter instead. The words that Mezanno came up with were, “inquisitive, compassionate, intelligent, quaint and stylish.”

Walter is obviously adored by many.  While walking around campus I have heard more than one person say that Walter is their favorite professor. Also, there is even a group on Facebook.com devoted to him-called “The Man They Call Kent Walter.”

The description on the group claims that Walter is the best English professor at LU, and has a modest 33 members.

Kent is not only loved and adored by his students, but also by his friends.

When asked if he had any last comments he wanted to add about himself, Walter mentioned his self-proclaimed annoyingly good memory. “I feel like my brain will get cluttered.”

On a more serious note, Walter, on one of the many times that he just couldn’t help himself but talk about God mentioned that, “The little things we do for God, mean just as much as the big things.”  Walter obviously means what he says, since his  friend, Stone says, “I don't know many people who are more willing to give you the shirt off their backs or front you band money so that you can  order T-shirts, not that this has ever happened.”

Contact Linda Laferriere at ldlaferriere@liberty.edu.     

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