Paula Wallace biography

Paula Wallace is the president and founder of the Savannah College of Art and Design, a private, nonprofit, accredited university for creative careers. Established in 1978, SCAD is the most comprehensive art and design university in the United States, with locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Hong Kong; and Lacoste, France; as well as an award-winning eLearning program.

Wallace served as academic dean and provost of SCAD for 22 years before becoming president in 2000. As president, Wallace has led the university in unprecedented growth, from fewer than 5,000 students to nearly 14,000 students. She created and championed many of the university's most popular annual events, including Sand Arts Festival, SCAD aTVfest, SCAD deFINE ART, SCAD FASHWKND, SCAD Savannah Film Festival, SCADstyle, and Sidewalk Arts Festival.

Wallace also founded three teaching museums, SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta, the SCAD Lacoste History Museum in France, and the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah. Her initiatives include the SCAD Alumni Atelier Program, which provides SCAD alumni with an on-campus artist residency program; SCAD Art Sales, which connects SCAD artists with global clients; the SCAD Collaborative Learning Center, which partners world-renowned companies with SCAD students; and SCADFILM, which increases the knowledge and network of entertainment arts professionals.

Under Wallace's leadership, SCAD has earned numerous top programmatic and institutional rankings:

  • No. 1 in the U.S. overall, No. 1 in the world for learning experience, and No. 1 in the U.S. for long-term value for the SCAD graduate luxury and fashion management program and No. 1 in the U.S. for learning experience for the SCAD graduate fashion program in the 2017 Business of Fashion Global Fashion School Rankings.
  • No. 1 undergraduate and graduate interior design programs in DesignIntelligence's annual rankings, including five years in which both programs simultaneously earned top rankings.
  • Best Motion Graphics School in the Rookies' The Best Creative Schools in the World rankings for 2017.
  • No. 1 university in the U.S. and No. 2 university in the Americas and Europe in the 2017 Red Dot Design Rankings.
  • No. 1 university in Universities.com's The Best Illustration Colleges of 2017.
  • Named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News and World Report in 2013.

President Wallace advances the SCAD legacy of historic preservation. The university has been recognized with prestigious awards from the American Institute of Architects, American Society of Interior Designers, Art Deco Societies of America, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and UNESCO.

Wallace authored a memoir, 'The Bee and the Acorn"; two interior design titles, "A House in the South: Old-Fashioned Graciousness for New-Fashioned Times" and "Perfect Porches: Designing Welcoming Spaces for Outdoor Living"; and several children's books.

Wallace is an honorary member of the AIA, a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council, and a member of the National Advisory Board of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She is the recipient of the 2018 Southeast Emmy President's Award, 2017 ASID Nancy Vincent McClelland Merit Award, 2016 Arthur Ross Award for Stewardship, the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2016 Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award, and the 2016 Roger Milliken Honorary AIA Legacy Award. Also in 2016, Wallace was named among Blouin Artinfo's "Power List: High-Wattage Women of the Art World" and Condé Nast's "Daring 25." The French Embassy in the United States of America appointed Wallace a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques, the Georgia Historical Society named her a 2015 Georgia Trustee, the City of Atlanta presented her with the 2015 Phoenix Award, and DesignIntelligence named her to its "30 Most Admired Educators" for 2013.

Wallace earned a Master of Education and Education Specialist degrees from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University. She also was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law from Gonzaga University.

Paula Wallace

President and founder of the Savannah College of Art and Design