RIT mourns death of alumnus

Anthony (Tony) Wallace ’08

To: RIT community
From: President Bill Destler
Date: Aug. 29, 2010
Subject: Anthony Wallace

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Anthony (Tony) Wallace, an RIT/NTID alumnus and former officer with RIT Public Safety.

Tony died Saturday night while on duty with the Hoonah (Alaska) Police Department, where he served as an officer since 2008. According to officials, Tony and a colleague were confronted by a lone gunman, and both officers died as a result of injuries suffered in the attack.

On behalf of the RIT community, I extend condolences to Tony’s family, friends and colleagues. We recognize that his passing creates a void that cannot be filled, but we hope there is comfort in an outpouring of support. Efforts are underway to plan a memorial service to be held on campus, and details on that will be shared as soon as we have them.

Tony, who was hard-of-hearing, proved remarkable at many levels. After graduating, he joined the staff of RIT Public Safety. He later went on to attend the police academy and graduate as class valedictorian. He was also an accomplished athlete. An All-American wrestler during his student days, he would become a 2008 inductee to the RIT Athletic Hall of Fame.

During an interview last year with University News, Tony expressed hope that his accomplishments could serve as an inspiration for others. “I hope that people who are in the same situation as I am see my story and begin to believe that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it,” he said. “Anything and everything is possible, it’s just a matter of how bad you want it and how far you are willing to go to prove to people that you are worthy of whatever career you want to pursue.” (See Sept. 1, 2009, RIT: The University Magazine story.)

Too often we are reminded of the dangers associated with police work, and that reality comes sharply into focus when it takes the life of a member of our community. In Tony’s memory, I hope we can find time to appreciate all the members of law enforcement who put their lives at risk for us everyday.