Dr. Ray Wallace, 61, former chancellor of Indiana University Southeast died on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, at his home in Charlestown, IN.
Born Brian Raymond (Ray) Wallace on March 28, 1960, in Antrim, Northern Ireland, to Harry and Eveleen Rooney Wallace, Dr. Wallace came to the U.S. in 1978 to run track on scholarship at Eastern Illinois University in Charlestown, IL. Prior to coming to the U.S., Dr. Wallace ran in international competitions for Northern Ireland.
Studying English became a way to quell his homesickness, and writing education became his passion. After completing his undergraduate degree and Master of Arts, he went on to obtain his Doctor of Arts degree in English at Illinois State University. Dr. Wallace held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the University of Tennessee Knoxville, Kennesaw State University, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Troy University, Clayton State University and the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. He served in several administrative roles, including as a provost and senior vice chancellor, two deanships of arts and sciences colleges, a directorship of a states designated honors college in the Liberal arts and sciences, a division head, a director of writing and as a university writing center director.
Dr. Wallace assumed the role of chancellor of IU Southeast on July 1, 2014, stepping down from the position due to a worsening health condition on July 31, 2021. His intent was to resume teaching following a brief sabbatical.
Dr. Wallace was a proud naturalized citizen of the U.S. taking the oath of allegiance in 1989. He had a great respect for democracy and the veterans who serve our country.
Dr. Wallace was larger than life with a wicked sense of humor; a genuine character who could light up a room with an Irish brogue tempered with a southern drawl and his infectious smile. A true foodie, he enjoyed visiting local restaurants to partake of their fare while he would raise a glass of Guinness or Jameson’s to all he met and regaled with a story or three. He was known for his “baking” on campus (really Jeff’s Bakery), but he would prepare complex gourmet meals, including Turducken for the holidays.
Dr. Wallace had a voracious competitive streak when it came to the Harvest Homecoming parade float competition or overachieving against his colleagues at other regional campuses of Indiana University. Known to cajole people from their offices to participate in campus charity walks, while he cheered from the sidelines, he loved calling the chancellor at IU Kokomo or other campuses to inform them “he” had surpassed their performance.
A photographic artist, Dr. Wallace traveled the globe capturing its beauty from behind his lens. He had a stellar eye and way to capture subjects in a most captivating way. He frequently shared his craft in area photography shows and through a photographic feature in the IU Southeast Alumni Magazine. He studied under internationally renowned photography masters including Peter Turnley, Jess Lee, and Tamara Gooch.
Above all else, Dr. Wallace loved to mentor and lift-up young people. His happiest days of the year were Induction Day, where he welcomed new students to campus, and commencement, when he celebrated the success of each graduating senior. He would frequently be seen on campus welcoming students with high fives or playing billiards with them in the campus game room. He encouraged all students to live their best lives, explore every opportunity and learn continuously throughout their days. He frequently started conversations with new acquaintances by asking what books they were reading.
Dr. Wallace is survived by his wife Susan, of 26 years, son Reed Stuart (Jill) and was “pop” to Noah Robert, age 17, and Zachary Raymond, age 14; his brother Des Wallace (Jillian), nephews Adam and Phillip and numerous cousins, aunts and uncles. He also leaves behind his faithful canine companion, Seamus, named after Northern Irelands poet, Seamus Heaney. He is preceded in death by his parents.
A celebration of life will be held at the Paul W. Ogle Cultural and Community Center on the IU Southeast campus on Friday, Sept. 10, at 3 p.m. The family ask that in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to the Chancellor Ray Wallace memorial Scholarship, with checks made out to the IU Foundation and sent to the IU Southeast Office of Advancement, 4201 Grant Line Rd. US-155, New Albany IN 4715. (indicate Ray Wallace Scholarship in memo line). Those wishing to share memories of Dr. Wallace may share them through his tribute page at https://www.ius.edu/wallace-tribute.
Dr. Wallace’s ashes will be returned to Northern Ireland where they will be spread in the Tardree Forest, where he ran as a young athlete. We know he is roaming the countryside with his camera, capturing the beauty of his homeland and raising a pint to his friends.
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