Senator Lynne Walz '94 Selected for 2019 Alumni Achievement Award

Senator Lynne Walz '94 Selected for 2019 Alumni Achievement Award

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Lynne Walz loves helping people. As a teacher, social worker, realtor, legislator and mother of three, Walz has dedicated her life to helping serve others.

A 1994 Midland University graduate, Walz is being recognized with an Alumni Achievement Award.

No matter where her career has taken her, Walz’s focus has always been on the people around her. “I love people and I’ve always had an interest in helping them,” Walz says. “I’ve had so many different jobs, but I’ve loved all of them because of the people I’ve been able to meet.”

Walz took the non-traditional path to Midland. After graduating from Arlington High School, she began working with Encor in Fremont where she moved in and helped three women with developmental disabilities. Walz took a few college courses on the side. After she married her husband, Chris, and was pregnant with their first child, she decided it was time to pursue her degree. “I wanted to finish my degree and Midland was a great fit for me,” Walz says.

As a non-traditional student expecting her first child, Walz recalls getting a few odd looks sitting in the classroom. “It was the spring semester and I was pregnant with our first son,” she says. “I remember sitting in this class with all these football players and they were probably looking at me like this women is going to pop at any second. I was also in swimming class at Midland at the time, so being pregnant and in a bathing suit was pretty hilarious.

“I had to take two weeks off right before finals to have my baby and Midland was very accommodating. I could not have done this at any other school.”

She graduated from Midland in 1994 with a degree in elementary education and a coaching endorsement and would return to social work, serving as an administrator with Bethphage in Columbus. She eventually found herself in the classroom, teaching elementary students at both Northside Elementary School and Bell Field Elementary School in Fremont. Her work as both a full-time teacher and substitute spanned a decade.

With her family continuing to grow, Walz decided she needed the flexibility to be at home for her young daughter and began work as a realtor. She has spent the past 17 years as a realtor and partner at Don Peterson & Associates in Fremont.

Her career would take one more interesting turn in 2016, thanks to a phone call from State Senator Steve Lathrop. “I didn’t even have a vision of running for the state legislature,” Walz recalls. “I get a call from Steve Lathrop in the middle of dinner, asking me if I want to run for the legislature. I remember telling him “I wouldn’t even know what to do.”

As it turns out, she did know what to do and was elected as a representative for District 15, serving all of Dodge County.

“At first, I didn’t think I had the background,” she says. “Then I started thinking that as a teacher and a parent, I have the experience I need to advocate for people.”

It’s a decision she looks back on fondly as she found yet another way to help those around her.

“I have really embraced being part of the legislature,” she says. “I’ve learned to listen to both sides and it’s allowed me to embrace the people and the issues. I feel like I’ve grown so much. I’ve got a lot more tools in my toolbox to do the job.”

Walz says it was “an unexpected surprise” to receive the Alumni Achievement Award from Midland. She is appreciative for everything the University has done, and will do, to make lives better for its students and community.

“Looking back, it was tough going back to school as a non-traditional, pregnant student,” she says. “My teachers were always motivating me and cheering me on. I think being in smaller classes really helped and you got to know the students in your study groups.

“This year, they have a record number of students and that’s so exciting for Fremont. I’m super excited for what’s going on and I think things are going to get better and better.”