Dr. Patrick Durning

Patrick Durning

Dr. Patrick Durning

History Faculty



B.A., Duke University
M.A., Brown University
Ph.D., Brown University

Patrick joins Walker’s history faculty from The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas where he taught World History, Philosophy, and Psychology, among others. At Walker’s, Patrick will teach Advanced Economics, American Identity, and Supreme Court Landmarks. He has an extensive teaching career including teaching in China and Korea as well as at other independent schools including St. George’s and Hotchkiss School. Patrick has also taught at the college level including at Tufts University, Brown University, and Suffolk University, among others. Patrick holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Philosophy from Brown University and a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University. He is a member of the Cluett dorm faculty, a coach for Middle School soccer, and an assistant coach for varsity basketball.

What was it about The Ethel Walker School that made you want to work here?

Walker’s commitment to providing a warm, supportive community where girls develop confidence, understanding, and leadership skills while enjoying their teenage years.

Who is your biggest female role model? Why?

Martha Nussbaum. Through intense work habits and openness to new ideas, Nussbaum became not only an innovative scholar of ancient philosophy but penned influential works on literary theory and the purpose of an education in the humanities. She continues to do work on economics and justice that prioritizes attention to women in the developing world.

What was your favorite subject when you were in middle or high school? Why?

Science. I liked uncovering some mysteries of how the world worked and I was impressed with the humility and power of the scientific method.

What is your favorite part of the subject(s) you teach now?

When I guide discussions where students discover ideas for themselves.

What is your favorite Walker’s tradition?

I appreciated the way the pep rally got all of the students involved, instead of making them spectators.

If you were to give advice to an incoming Walker’s student, what would it be?

Sometimes students are held back by anxiety and a focus on grade point average. So my advice is to know that you are valued here. Your teachers and classmates want you to thrive, develop and enjoy yourself. Instead of looking for your worth in grades, encourage your own curiosity. You will find joy, pride, and increased abilities by focusing on learning and developing your skills for your own sake.

What advice would you give to a graduating Walker’s senior?

Be a good friend.