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Linda Wallace

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On December 13, 2009, Linda L. Wallace passed away after a long, valiant battle with cancer. In the end the cancer may have taken her body, but not her brave and graceful spirit. Linda was born on August 7, 1951 in Colorado. She received her BA in Biological Sciences from the University of North Colorado, her MS in Botany from the University of Wyoming, and her PhD in Botany from the University of Georgia. Her work as a postdoctoral research associate was conducted at Syracuse University and the Serengeti Research Institute in Tanzania. Professor Wallace's long-term research interests revolved around the ecology and interactions of grasslands. She did work in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Preserve and Yellowstone National Park. Within the last decade, Professor Wallace's research interests turned to examining the effects of global warming and climate change on grassland ecosystems, and most recently she was part of a working group investigating the ecological consequences, and dubious sustainability of cellulosic ethanol. Professor Wallace was a member of the Organization of Biological Field Stations, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Range Management Society, and the Ecological Society of America (ESA). In 2004 she was Chair of the Rangeland Ecology Section of the ESA. In 1981, Dr. Wallace came to the University of Oklahoma as an assistance professor, becoming a full professor in 1994. Professor Wallace taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in botany, plant ecology, ecology and environmental quality, and physiological ecology. Professor Wallace also enjoyed team teaching interdisciplinary courses with colleagues from across the university. Linda leaves behind a number of important projects and legacies to the University of Oklahoma, most of which are collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature. Her research work in grassland ecosystems and in interdisciplinary teaching and research led to the establishment of the 350-acre Kessler Farm Field Laboratory in central McClain County. In addition, Linda was one of four faculty members who founded the Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Environment program. She was an excellent teacher, well-respected by colleagues and students for her creative methods for getting students engaged and involved in discussion. She served on and chaired numerous master and doctoral student committees. Her excellence was recognized by the University with the Regent's Superior Teaching Award, as well as the five-year Samuel Roberts Noble Presidential Professorship. In addition to being a dedicated researcher and teacher, Linda had a wide and varied circle of friends. Over the course of her life, Linda raced bicycles, showed Appaloosa horses, played the piano, gardened, cooked, played poker, enjoyed good beer and raunchy jokes...she was giving and caring, helping out friends, neighbors and acquaintances in so many ways. As one friend noted.."she was smart, wickedly sharp, funny and very caring." She will be sorely missed.A memorial celebration of Linda's life will be held on Friday, January 22, at 4:30, in Ellison Hall, Room 132, at the University of Oklahoma. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Linda Wallace Fund for Student Activities at the University of Oklahoma, , Morris Animal Foundation or the Kessler Farm Field Laboratory of the University of Oklahoma.

Published in The Oklahoman on Jan. 17, 2010
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