August 4, 2003

Chace to relax in 2003-04

Michael Terrazas

Former President Bill Chace will take a year’s sabbatical before returning to Emory and the English faculty during the 2004–05 academic year.

Chace, who in November 2002 announced his intention to step down from the presidency, was succeeded July 30 by President Jim Wagner.

Chace, who came to Emory in fall 1994, said he and his wife, JoAn, will spend most of the next year living in Mystic, Conn., along with possibly some time in Italy.

“I plan on returning for either the fall or spring term 2004–05 to teach in the Depart-ment of English, two courses in the one semester,” he said. “I will be do my best to teach and to write, for that is the order of the day for a respec-table professor of English.”

Chace, the author of two books (The Political Identities of Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot and Lionel Trilling: Criticism and Politics), received the Richard W. Lyman Award for extraordinary academic leadership from the Stanford Alumni Association in 1986 while he was on the Stanford faculty, and before that he won a Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Chace began his career in administration in 1981 when he was named associate dean of Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences. Four years later he became the university’s vice provost for academic planning and development, leading the school’s $1.1 billion Centennial Campaign.

In 1988, Chace became president of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., before moving south to Atlanta six years later as Emory’s 18th president.

“The best thing about being president,” Chace said, “is working with the very good—no, excellent—colleagues I have been lucky to have had.

“The worst thing has been, I suppose, not being able to bring to further resolution the perennial problems of higher education,” he continued. “First, its startling costs to everyone, students, parents, researchers, teachers; second, the difficulties in making a university a genuine intellectual community in which knowledge can be more universally shared and understood, instead of being held in separate ‘silos’; and third, the inability to afford to one and all the complete panoply of facilities, instruments, books and space they need to do their best work.”

Chace said he has not had the opportunity to spend much time with his successor, but he described Wagner as an “eminently decent and attractive candidate” for the Emory presidency.

“I have enjoyed this job immensely,” Chace said when asked if he had any final thoughts on his tenure, “even on those rare days when the problems seemed to outnumber greatly the answers. Emory is a fine place, and I feel honored to have been its president. For JoAn and me, this chapter in our lives has been the best chapter.”