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
“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.”