Baker College culinary student recognized by city, Rotary as outstanding citizen Full-time student makes time for helping others, advancing healthy eating initiatives

MUSKEGON, Mich. – George W.C. Walker III, a student at Baker College of Muskegon’s Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM), is the recipient of a 2016 Outstanding Citizenship Award presented by the City of Muskegon and the Muskegon Rotary Club.

“The award supports the belief that the future of Muskegon lies in the character and civic participation of its community members,” said Bruce Konowalow, CCE, CIM Muskegon dean of culinary arts. “George’s exceptional level of integrity and selfless service to others set the bar high for all to emulate.”

At only 21 years of age, Walker has already compiled an impressive list of community service activities that improve others’ lives. He has done this while attending school full time and working to enhance his skills for a career in the food service industry.

Jamie LeRoux, CIM director of the culinary arts and food and beverage management programs, nominated Walker for the award. She agrees with the award organization’s summary of Walker: “George is undeniably an outstanding citizen and a beacon of light to his community and his peers.”

LeRoux cited many of Walker’s accomplishments – as a community volunteer and as a student – in Walker’s nomination application she submitted. They include:

  • Serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), a judge-appointed volunteer who watches over and advocates for abused and neglected children in the complex legal and social service systems. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.
  • Helping found and implement two programs that expand the community’s perspective on healthy eating through the COGIC (Community Organization Giving Individual Care) Community Center: Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen, which provides free, nutritious hot meals to the needy, and the class “The History of Food and Regional Culture,” which highlights different foods, cuisine, cooking and nutrition for youth and seniors. Walker used personal funds and a grant to launch and offer the free class.
  • Serving as a dedicated youth leader and Sunday school teacher at Holy Trinity Church of God, Muskegon.
  • Volunteering at wine, food and beer events to gain industry knowledge.
  • Sharing his passion for healthy foods and the farm-to-table connection.
  • Holding positions in hotels, country clubs and one of Michigan’s top-ranked eateries, Grove Restaurant, Grand Rapids.
  • Twice earning Employee of the Month at the Holiday Inn Muskegon-Harbor.
  • Earning professional certifications from ServSafe®, Cicerone and TIPS®.
  • Achieving Level 1 Master Sommelier certification at the age of 21.

George has earned an associate degree in food and beverage management at the CIM and plans to complete a bachelor’s in the same major in 2017. He has recently accepted a new position working with i-lixir Beverage as its new Greater Grand Rapids wine distributor – the youngest in Michigan to hold such a position,

For more information about programs at Baker College of Muskegon’s Culinary Institute of Michigan, contact Kathy Jacobson in the admissions office at or 231.777.5200, or visit

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a not-for-profit higher education institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It serves more than 23,000 students on multiple campuses and online. Baker College grants certificates and associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in more than 100 programs across diverse academic fields, including business, health sciences, engineering, information technology, education and human services. An impressive 97 percent of available graduates are employed. Every Baker College graduate receives Lifetime Employment Assistance—free and forever. Baker College is a pioneer in distance education and offers students the option of completing a degree 100 percent online, without ever visiting a campus. For information, visit or follow Baker College on Twitter, @bakercollege, or on Facebook,

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