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Former UTC Chancellor Bill Stacy passes away

Sent on behalf of Chancellor Steve Angle:

Dear UTC colleagues,

With deep sadness, I am informing the campus community of the passing of Dr. Bill W. Stacy, chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga from 1997 to 2004. Dr. Stacy passed away in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on Jan. 4 at the age of 85.

After I first arrived at UTC in 2013, Dr. Stacy took me under his wing and was instrumental in introducing me to key members of the community. He was easy to get along with, always entertaining, and committed to bettering the lives of those around him.

I had the pleasure of introducing him as the featured speaker for the fall 2017 commencement ceremonies. It allowed me to extol his virtues while talking about his incredible impact on this campus; he was a truly transformational leader.

Dr. Stacy worked hand-in-hand with Scotty Probasco and the UC Foundation on building South Campus housing, changing UTC from a commuter campus to a residential institution. During his time as chancellor, over 1,600 beds were built, changing the trajectory of this institution. Just as significantly, he grew the stature of the University academically by establishing UTC’s first Ph.D. programs.

Kim White, Vice Chancellor of Advancement, lauded Dr. Stacy’s role in involving the Foundation in student housing.

“He was a visionary and very forward-thinking. He thought big and backed it up, changing both our campus and the Foundation with his big vision for what UTC could—and has—become,” she said. “He was a fantastic fund- and friend-raiser for our campus, helping close out some major gifts, and he stayed active both on the Foundation board and as an ambassador for UTC after retiring as chancellor.”

Dr. Stacy was born and raised in Bristol, Tennessee, becoming the first person in his family to attend college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication at Southeast Missouri State University and master’s and doctoral degrees in the same discipline from Southern Illinois University.

Dr. Stacy’s road to UTC began at his alma mater, Southeast Missouri State, where he spent 10 years as president. He then had a rare opportunity in higher education, helping launch a new university from scratch as the founding president at California State University San Marcos.

Dr. Stacy arrived in San Marcos in 1989 to preside over building the nation’s first state university since the University of Texas-San Antonio was established in the mid-1960s. Among his many duties, he was responsible for the construction of the campus’ physical plant, building a curriculum, assembling a faculty and recruiting a student body.

After eight years in California and accomplishing most of what he sought to do there, Dr. Stacy accepted the UTC chancellor position and moved to Chattanooga.

Growing the campus, then a 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday commuter college that virtually all students left for the weekend, was a top priority when Dr. Stacy took office. As he often said, he was struck by the constraints on growth that UTC’s urban setting faced, but he had the vision to expand across McCallie Avenue.

The expansion brought South Campus housing into existence. When Dr. Stacy took office, UTC enrollment was around 8,000 students, compared to nearly 12,000 today.

After his time as UTC chancellor, Dr. Stacy remained in Chattanooga and became the headmaster at Baylor School, a position he held until retiring in 2009.

Dr. Stacy is survived by his wife of 34 years, Dr. Sue Stacy, and three children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Services will be held at 11 a.m. CST on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Ford and Sons Funeral Home in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, with a livestream on Facebook. A private burial service will be held at the Fairdealing (Missouri) Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to United Way.

Our condolences go out to the Stacy family on behalf of the entire UTC community.


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