Invasion of Privacy: Christopher Annala brings West Coast sensibilities to Western New York

After growing up on the West Coast, professor of economics Christopher Annala transplanted to Geneseo, bringing his passions with him and education.

“I don’t have a favorite team, but my favorite sport is baseball … unless it’s the Yankees, then they should lose,” he said. “I love giving the Yankee fans a hard time; it entertains me greatly … that’s the best part.”

Walking into Annala’s office, it’s obvious he is a music buff. His reggae posters on the wall are hard to miss.

“I have a reggae affliction,” he said. “For years, that was my thing,” adding that he would love to one day teach a class on the history of reggae music.

“I always wanted to do it in one of my classes for a day and go through 40 years of reggae, but I don’t like anything after 1985,” he said.

Even though Annala has over 1,200 reggae CDs, he is also a fan of Grateful Dead and Widespread Panic. According to him, Widespread Panic is a must-listen for all college students. Following in the footsteps of Jerry Garcia and Michael Houser, Annala also enjoys playing the guitar.

“I’m nearly not as good as you would think for how many hours I had spent practicing,” Annala said. Despite this, he still has a love for playing and collecting guitars.

Being a California native for a large portion of his life, moving to New York was a change of pace.

“I grew up near Los Angeles, did my undergrad at Chico State, which is in northern California, then graduate school in Washington State,” he said.

Annala did not always have ambitions to become a professor, however.

“In my undergrad, I started as an accounting major because I thought, you rarely ever see a homeless accountant,” he said.

“I love teaching, when you are in graduate school there’s basically two ways that people go. Some people want to do research and be in a classroom or be in their office all day. I wanted to teach because that’s what I enjoy doing.”

According to the economist, Geneseo was idealistic because of its emphasis on teaching, an aspect of his profession that he enjoys most.

“I’ve known the job I wanted to have since about my third year of college and was going to do whatever it took to have that job.”

As to how upstate New York compares to the West Coast, he said, “It’s different … I don’t know if you can put your finger directly on it, but there is something different about the whole atmosphere.

“When I was in school and my friends said there is a difference between west coast and east coast people, and I thought people are the same wherever they go,” Annala said.

After he moved to the Northeast, he realized it was not completely different from what he was used to.

“I went to state schools that look like Geneseo; small campus in an agricultural area is kind of what I’m used to,” Annala said.

He now considers Geneseo his home and said, “There is no place else I’d rather be.”