17 & 18

May 2019

Reducing Mental Health Disparities Through Sustaining and
Strengthening Healthy Communities: Increasing Knowledge through Research, Education and Practice

Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker is a successful businessman, legendary football player, Heisman trophy recipient, and a passionate advocate for mental health awareness. Throughout his career, Walker has established a reputation for honesty and diligence, a sincere commitment to the community, and an unsurpassed passion for excellence.

In high school he led his team to state championships in both football and track. In 1980, Walker participated in the Academy of Achievement program as valedictorian of his class. In 1981, he became the first Academy of Achievement honor student to return to the annual program as a recipient of the Golden Plate Award.

Walker’s collegiate football career is legendary. As a freshman at the University of Georgia, Walker’s performance helped capture the 1980 national football title. He earned consensus All-American honors three consecutive years, set numerous NCAA and SEC records, and capped a sensational college career by earning, in his junior year, the 1982 Heisman Trophy. In 2002, he was voted into the Collegiate Football Hall of Fame and was selected as the second greatest player in college football history, just behind the legendary Red Grange.

In 1983, Walker gave up his final year of collegiate eligibility and turned professional. During his 15 year pro football career, Walker’s accomplishments include a) setting the still standing, single-season, pro football rushing record of 2411 yards, b) leading the NFL in rushing, c) gaining more total yards than anyone in professional football history and d) receiving numerous all-pro and pro Bowl honors.

Additionally, Walker held a world record in the 60-yd dash, participated in the 1992 Winter Olympics 2-man United States bobsled team, is a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and has performed with the Fort Worth Ballet.

The same commitment to excellence that delivered his athletic achievements is now applied to building his many business ventures. Walker is founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of H. Walker Enterprises, LLC (HWE) and Renaissance Man Food Services, LLC (RMFS), a certified minority business enterprise that supplies poultry, pork and bakery products to the food service and retail marketplace, as well as hospitality products to major hotel chains, the United States Military, schools, retail, and concessions organizations. Walker leads and is personally involved in all key aspects of his growing business enterprise, including product sales and development, marketing, manufacturing and promotional events.

RMFS respects its roots and is dedicated to helping others who are less fortunate. That is why a percentage of the company’s profits are given to various charitable organizations serving people in need, including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The Special Olympics, PE for Life programs, the Boy Scouts of America and others. In addition to financial gifts, Walker formed and leads the Herschel’s Famous 34 bike team specifically to support the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The team has raised money by participating in several of the Society’s 150-mile bike ride events.

Walker is also known for his presentations and speeches where he shares his personal story of living with Dissociative Identity Disorder. In 2008, Touchstone Hardcover Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) published Walker’s memoir, BREAKING FREE: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Walker shares personal stories and inspiring leadership lessons he has learned about living with a mental illness diagnosis, teamwork, goal setting, perseverance, initiative, preparation, discipline, and overcoming obstacles.

Following the release of his memoir, Walker became the spokesman for programs specialized in mental health and addiction treatment for United States Military service members. On behalf of the Patriot Support Program of Universal Health Services, Walker has visited 160 military installations sharing his story of hope to thousands of troops.

Walker earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Georgia in 1984. He resides in Texas.

« Back to Speakers


Health Sciences Center Partners