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WCE Celebrates Jim Applefield’s 40-Year Career at Watson

Monday, June 05, 2017

On April 19, WCE faculty and staff gathered for a reception in honor of Jim Applefield, who has served as a department chair, associate professor and assistant professor of the Watson College since 1977. He retired in May.

Joanne Nottingham described Applefield as a valued mentor, who is “brilliant, caring, open and sharing” at her retirement celebration in December 2016. At the celebration in April, many current and former faculty colleagues echoed her sentiments.

“I thank Jim for his role as a faculty member and leader in the college,” said WCE Dean Van Dempsey. “Every conversation was informative, an education and a history lesson.”

Department chair Kathy Fox reflected on the thousands of students whose lives Applefield touched, and professor Martin Kozloff said he places a high value on “Jim’s intelligence, integrity and friendship.”

Lou Lanunziata, coordinator of WCE’s special education program, also joined the WCE faculty in the 1970s. He recounted WCE’s history, called the 70s “the greatest decade of foundations at the local and state level” and acknowledged Applefield and emeriti faculty Andy Hayes, Hathia Hayes and Noel Jones as “people who for 30 years sat in those tiny closets in King Hall building UNCW’s education program.”

“Jim, I have gratitude for you and for others in this room for making the Watson College what it is today,” Lanunziata said.

Hathia Hayes hired Applefield in 1977. “As Jim’s department chair, I appreciated that he was always thoughtful and honest,” she said. “Jim considered the positions he took and he always gave you a straight answer.”

Noel Jones, Maurice Martinez, Mahnaz Moallem, Katie Schlichting and Brad Walker also spoke at the event. Several joked about Applefield’s unique organizational system, described as “piles and stacks.”

“Although Jim is allergic to filing cabinets, he has been a blessing to the Watson College,” Walker said. “What I like so much about Jim is that it has never been about him. It has always been about what we need to do to help students and colleagues be successful.”

Applefield presented the Watson College with Apple: An Abstract/Pop Art Poster by Roy Lichtenstein for the Artist’s 1983 Paris Exhibition at the Gallery Daniel Templon, to add to the WCE art collection.

He also read an original poem.


Looking back to see going forward
Learning anew from what has happened
Gaining insight from past performance
Seeing more clearly how best to advance

When we rush forward without glancing back
When we accept what's done as irreversible fact
When past achievement drives unquestioned satisfaction
Then we limit the future, what can be, smart progression.

Reflection needs time and having patience
Quiet, concentration and a thoughtful persuasion
To be keenly objective is essential too
And the amazing result is perspective and truth.

Good reflection, to be sure, takes self-awareness
Also high standards to measure what we've done
And a personal commitment to adapt, revise, take action
That can guide our decisions to change course or carry on.

Dr. Jim Applefield

“It has been a joy to be at the table at this organization,” he said at the close of the celebration. “It’s very meaningful to know that I have made a mark on students and colleagues in their professional and personal lives. There are many memories that I will cherish.”