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The Apples

Endowment established in honor of plant pathologist J. Lawrence Apple

In ceremonies Jan. 15, the J. Lawrence Apple Endowment was created in honor of Dr. J. Lawrence Apple, professor emeritus of plant pathology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University. The endowment was established through a gift from Apple’s wife, Ella, and will support graduate fellowships in the Plant Pathology Department of the College.

Dr. James L. Oblinger, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, described the endowment as “one of the most flexible, yet targeted, endowments that I’ve seen. It will be built to benefit plant pathology, focusing on enhancement of graduate education through assistantship dollars.

“At a time when the university has made a decision to grow its graduate program, these dollars are appreciated,” said Oblinger. Terry Wood, vice chancellor for University Advancement, said, “The enduring legacy of this endowment will help people remember what wonderful people Lawrence and Ella are and his service across the university.” Apple is also widely known for his work in international agricultural development.

A native of Guilford County, he holds three N.C. State degrees: a 1949 bachelor’s degree in agronomy, as well as a 1953 master’s and a 1955 Ph.D. in plant pathology. He served as superintendent of the Lower Coastal Plain Research Station in Greenville from 1949 to 1951. From 1955, he served as an N.C. State faculty member in the Plant Pathology Department and became professor of plant pathology and genetics in 1963. That same year he was plant pathology adviser to the university’s mission to Peru, laying a foundation for a research program that would deliver sustainable solutions to world hunger, poverty and degradation of natural resources. He served as chief-of-party of that mission from 1965 to 1967. In 1967 he became assistant director of research and academic affairs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and in 1976 he was named assistant director for biological sciences and international programs at N.C. State. He went on to serve as the College's director of the Institute of Biological Sciences and then as associate director of research and international programs. He retired as the university's international programs coordinator in 1991. Still professionally active after retirement, Apple was elected secretary general of the International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences in 1999. He has been listed in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, American Men and Women of Science and Personalities of the South.

At the endowment-signing ceremony, Dr. James Moyer, head of the Plant Pathology Department, told Apple, “Those who have worked with you closely know you were prominent in the formation of the department in a critical time. Now your helping in this way ensures your role will be remembered for years to come.”

Noting Apple’s efforts from development of the College’s plant pathology program to support of NCSU Libraries to international activities, Moyer added, “He’s always been there when needed.” -- Terri Leith