James Wallace, professor emeritus and director of Teacher Education at Lewis & Clark, died October 9, 2017, at age 88, after a long illness. He will long be remembered for his influence on the college and on progressive education in the Northwest. After studying at Earlham College and Haverford College, Wallace worked as a teacher in New Jersey and New Hampshire. He went on to Harvard University, where he earned an MEd in 1963 and his EdD in the history and philosophy of education in 1966.
With his doctorate in hand, Wallace came to Oregon to teach in the MAT program at Reed College. When Reed closed the program in 1972, he worked at the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. In 1975, Wallace accepted a faculty position at Lewis & Clark, where over the course of the next 24 years he served as a faculty member, department chair, and director of Teacher Education. In addition, he served as the associate dean of the Graduate School of Education and Counseling.
Throughout his career and well into retirement, Wallace was an engaged and active scholar. Deeply committed to John Dewey’s vision of progressive education, he was the author of four books and some 25 articles.
Associate Professor Kim Stafford remembers him this way: “Jim was a wise mentor in the field of education, but also a lively guide in how to be a teacher and a friend: how to be serious without being somber; how to inject humor and buoyancy into a meeting, so that stress evaporated and our best work could be done. He demonstrated the sustaining pleasures of continuing to learn. The generous insights of his saint John Dewey flowed through Jim’s practice to all of us, so that the experience of education was everywhere, and cold certainty never crowded out friendship.”
Acknowledging Wallace as a major figure in the graduate school’s history and development, Dean Scott Fletcher says, “His spirit lives on in our teacher education program and our campus community.”
Wallace is survived by his wife, Mary Guenther; his children, Tina Tau BS ’81 and Richard Wallace BA ’84; stepdaughter Anna (Lila) Guenther; and six grandchildren. Two daughters, Kathryn Cramer BA ’88 and Barbara Conde, predeceased him.