When Tasha Wallace (pictured), PhD 12, a faculty member with the Department of Management, died in a tragic scuba accident at the start of the 2017 fall term, the Concordia community memorialized her as “one of a kind” and “larger than life.”
“Tasha was the happiest person at the John Molson School of Business,” said Linda Dyer, Wallace’s department chair and thesis supervisor, and a catalyst behind the Tasha Wallace Graduate Teaching Award. “No question.”
Others who knew Wallace shared similar sentiments. Online tributes, of which there are many, describe an uncommonly vibrant and positive person who had boundless reserves of energy.
“I will always keep you in my heart as an inspiration to be a better scholar,” wrote one grief-stricken friend.
John Molson dean Anne-Marie Croteau remarks that Wallace was “always generous with her time and capable of finding the right words of encouragement.”
“We were lucky to have her as a caring and engaged member of the John Molson community,” Croteau adds. “We miss her.”
Robert Wallace says that the woman with whom he enjoyed more than 43 years of marriage had a special effect on people.
“It was not unusual for us to walk to or from the YMCA in downtown Montreal — Tasha loved sports and fitness — and encounter one of her students,” he recalls. “These exchanges were such a thrill for me, because I got to see first-hand how much she cared about them and how much they gravitated towards her.”
A lifelong learner, Tasha Wallace’s journey to Concordia included a mathematics degree from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from McGill University. She also held key roles at Bell Canada, Canadian Industries Limited and Canadian National Railways.
Her doctoral thesis at John Molson earned Wallace the Joe Kelly Graduate Award. Named for a long-time management professor who passed away in 2013, the annual award is given to a PhD candidate whose thesis in management is judged to be of exceptional merit.
The Tasha Wallace Graduate Teaching Award now, too, encourages John Molson PhDs. Recipients thus far include: Najib Sahyoun, PhD 19; Raghid Al Hajj, PhD 21; Karen Naaman, PhD 21; Nelson Javier Dueñas Gil, MBA 16, PhD 22; and doctoral candidate Dandan Fang.
Kick-started with funds raised by Wallace’s colleagues through Shuffle, Concordia’s annual walkathon, the endowment in her name has since been bolstered by Robert and other donors, who together have contributed more than $50,000.
All to support future teachers who display the kind of passion for the profession that his late wife was so beloved and admired for, he says.
“Tasha just loved to teach. At the end of the day, she considered her students to be her legacy.”