Southern Indiana Living

JUL-AUG 2016

Southern Indiana Living magazine is the exclusive publication of the region, offering readers a wide range of coverage on the people, places and events that make our area unlike any other. In SIL readers will find beautiful photography, encouraging s

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July/Aug 2016 • 33 I n one of his frst addresses to a crowd at IUS in 2014, newly installed Chan- cellor Dr. Ray Wallace greeted "all the Indianans", only to be met with dead silence. "I didn't know," he said. "I didn't know they were called Hoosiers." He caught on to the proper termi- nology quickly and soon made himself at home at the Indiana University satellite campus in New Albany, becoming a fa- vorite of students and staf alike. Big Man on Campus Wallace, 56, is personable and wit- ty, and enjoys spending time on campus talking with students, faculty, and staf. "People think they see me here more than they actually do," he said. "They see me because if I'm here, if I can get out of the ofce and see what's going on on campus that's great, I'll do that." He often eats lunch in the common area food court, joining students or invit- ing them to join him to share a meal and chat. Sometimes he'll challenge someone to a game of pool in the game room, talk- ing smack the whole time. During an impromptu gabfest with a group of students in the school cofee shop, he snidely remarked, "I like the fact that you're all wearing IUS spirit wear to- day." Not an IUS logo was in sight. He turned to a woman wearing a suspicious shade of blue to ask, "That's not Kentucky is it?" On a stroll across campus he called out to deride a student's decision to wear a Manchester United soccer shirt. The stu- dents all take it in stride and give as good as they get, sometimes pausing to pose for quick selfes with the man "I do know that it's unusual for a chancellor to do that," he said. His sense of whimsy shows up in other ways, as well. In December 2015 he posted a video to YouTube titled "Happy Holidays: Chancellor Wallace Misses You". In the approximately three minute video Wallace wanders an empty campus, plays with action fgures at his desk, stag- es a light saber batle on the Ogle Center stage, and spends some quality time with Gus, the school's Grenadier mascot. The video took fve days to make. "I wore that tie and the same godawful blue shirt for fve days. I threw the shirt away," he said. The necktie – purple with golden dragons – hangs on the back of his ofce door. "I'm never wearing it again." Wallace is also an award-winning nature and travel photographer. His of- fce is flled with photos he has taken and cameras of all vintages he has collected. "My profession is education. My avoca- tion and passion is photography," he said. Among the photos on his ofce wall is a tin advertising sign for the Titanic ocean liner. "It was built in Belfast," he said. "They like to say, 'It was foating when it left here!'" Coming to America Despite 38 years spent in the states, a soft Irish brogue still colors his speech. "I left Ireland in the 70s," he said. "There was, for want of a beter word, an ongoing political strife. It was called the Troubles. A lot of people were geting killed." Wallace said he lived in a bad neigh- borhood, but atended a "good, proper British school. My options were limited." Although he had been accepted to schools in Scotland, Ireland, and Britain, Wallace accepted an athletic scholarship for track at Eastern Illinois University and headed to the U.S. at age 18. "I had a suit- case and a track suit," he said. All he knew of the U.S. he "knew just from TV. My vision of America was "Star- sky and Hutch" and that sort of stuf." He recalls his initial impression of the Charleston, Illinois school. "I was overwhelmed by how much electricity there was. The dorms were lit up. There were lighted tennis courts. In inner-city Belfast – not so many lit tennis courts." "Europe at the time was broke. Power was rationed. Here were all these lights in the middle of nowhere," he said. "It was just amazing." While Wallace was earning his Mas- ter's in English, the Troubles back home got worse. He went on to earn his Doctor of Arts degree in English at Illinois State University. "I really enjoyed studying here," he said. "I loved the student athlete thing. My frst week on the college cam- pus I found a book in the library that was banned in North Ireland. The whole thing was great." His frst teaching position was as an assistant professor of English at the Uni- versity of Hawaii at Hilo. Since then he has spent time at the University of Ten- nessee – Knoxville, Kennesaw State Uni- versity, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Troy University, Clayton State University, and the University of Arkan- sas – Fort Smith. In that time he served in a number of roles including provost and senior vice chancellor, dean of arts and sciences, division head, and writing cen- ter director. Wallace is a "very proud naturalized citizen," he said. "I like the way things get done here. I don't like the class system in Britain. Whatever you were born, you stay. Here no mater what you were be- fore, you can remake yourself." "Years ago I was ofered a job in Ireland," he said. "I have become so acclimatized that I wouldn't ft in." Home for Good Wallace assumed the role of chancel- lor at IUS on July 1, 2014. He said he was atracted to IUS because of its regional outlook. "I could see the potential for growth here," he said. "I saw the willing- ness of the community to get behind its four-year school. This place is going to be even more important in the future." Under his leadership degrees, pro- grams, and more have been added, with more to come. A Sales Institute is in the works. "We are going to be known as the institution in the area that prepares students who need a sales background," he said. "Some of the degrees we're go- ing to ofer – the felds haven't even been invented yet." While the school is growing, it re- mains just small enough for Wallace's comfort. "With a smaller school you can move a litle faster," he said. "You can re- act quite a bit faster." Wallace lives in Charlestown with his wife of 21 years, Susan, a retired col- lege professor. Their son Reed lives in North Carolina with his wife, Jill, and the Wallace's two grandsons, Noah and Zach- ary. When looking for a home Wallace said, "we had searched all over. I loved going out into Charlestown with all the stone fences because it looks like Ireland. I like southern Indiana. I like being close to Louisville. I like the photo opportuni- ties. I also like driving home after work into the country." "My ultimate goal was to be a chan- cellor and I have achieved that at IUS. We love it here," Wallace said. Like many families who move regu- larly, the Wallace's garage is full of boxes that they never got around to unpacking before the last move. Recently he said his wife asked him if this was it, the place they were going to stay. "I said yes. She said, 'good. I'll start unpacking'." So, does Wallace now consider him- self to be an Indianan? Not at all. "I'm a Hoosier!" • "I saw the willingness of the community to get behind its four-year school." Special Section: Education

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