Remembering Geoffrey Wallace

Profile photo of Geoffery Wallace

La Follette School professor Geoffrey Wallace passed away unexpectedly on July 16. Wallace’s contributions to the La Follette School were extensive and extraordinary.

In addition to his brilliant research and teaching on race, inequality, and poverty, Wallace has been a leader in the transformational changes occurring at the La Follette School. Particularly noteworthy was his service as the Kohl Chair of Undergraduate Policy Instruction, where he guided the design and delivery the school’s first undergraduate certificate programs.

As an economist, Wallace studied issues related to labor, marriage, and the family, especially entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Wallace identified disparities in ability to accumulate resources for retirement, a precarious time for many older Americans. He found that retirees face rather low probabilities of experiencing health shocks early in retirement, but racial minorities, retirees with low levels of education, and people who retired on Social Security Disability Insurance are at substantial risk for shocks to physical and cognitive health. In 2018, Wallace received the Jerry and Mary Cotter Faculty Fellowship for his research on cognitive impairment among older people in the United States and the implications for household wealth.

Originally from Milwaukee, Wallace received his doctorate in economics from Northwestern University and joined the UW–Madison faculty in 2000. Wallace led an active life, and loved playing soccer with his team, the Husky Lads. He also played golf in the Middleton golf league and enjoyed cycling around Dane County. He is survived by his wife, two sons, and many other loving family members.

A memorial service for Wallace will be held at a later date, and he will be honored at the La Follette School’s 2023 Alumni & Friends Reception. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to Millennium Soccer Club of Madison or Neighborhood House of Milwaukee.