Lexington, Virginia • February 14, 2011
June R. Aprille, provost and professor of biology at Washington and Lee University since July 2007, will retire from the University at the end of the current academic year.
Robert Strong, associate provost and William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics, will serve as interim provost during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years. The University will conduct a national search for Aprille's successor during 2012-13.
"I was extremely fortunate that June Aprille agreed to accept my offer to come to Washington and Lee, and her tenure here has been extraordinarily successful," said Kenneth P. Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee. "In a relatively short period of time, she has spearheaded projects that have transformed our academic programs. She has also been instrumental in gaining support for numerous faculty initiatives. W&L was indeed privileged to have such a distinguished educator and scholar choose the University for the capstone of her career."
"As much as I love my work at W&L, I will turn 66 this year, and there are some personal commitments to honor before too much more time goes by," Aprille said. "While it is difficult to say good-bye to this wonderful place and the great people I have met here, I am looking forward to the 'next chapter.'"
Aprille, a nationally recognized cell biologist, had served as provost/vice president for academic affairs and professor of biology at the University of Richmond prior to joining W&L. She was previously at Tufts University, where she became vice provost in 1999 following several other administrative appointments.
She had joined the biology faculty at Tufts in 1977 and was appointed the Henry Bromfield Pearson Professor of Natural Sciences there in 1987. Tufts honored her as an Outstanding Faculty Member in 2001. She was also assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine and a lecturer in biochemistry for pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
In her role as Washington and Lee's provost, Aprille is responsible for all academic units and University-wide initiatives, including the College, Williams School, Law School, Admissions, Registrar, Athletics, International Education, Information Technology Services, Career Services, Leyburn Library, University Collections, Institutional Research and Interdisciplinary Programs.
Among her many accomplishments at W&L, Aprille was the driving force in the University's development of its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for the accreditation process that led to successful reaffirmation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Spring Term Revitalization, W&L's QEP, resulted in the new four-week term that was introduced in 2010. It featured 119 new academic courses, all designed to take full advantage of the shorter term in which students focus intensively on a single course.
During her tenure, the University established its Office of Institutional Effectiveness, revamped its information technology area, establishing a strategic planning process for international education and for the University's collections, oversaw the renovation and reorganization of Leyburn Library and restructured the President's Advisory Committee.
In addition, Aprille has been instrumental in bringing several major grants to Washington and Lee, including a $1.3 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to support the University's undergraduate biological sciences programs, a $650,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to enhance the educational effectiveness of the University's four-week spring term, and a $200,000 grant from the Alfred Sloan Foundation to support work-life initiatives for the faculty. She also played a key role in the development of $17 million in funding for two separate endowments to support faculty: the H.F. Lenfest Endowment for Faculty Summer Support, which supports funding for about 120 individual grants each year, and the H.F. Lenfest Endowment for Faculty Sabbaticals, which funds year-long salaried sabbaticals for up to eight faculty members each year.
As well as being highly regarded as an administrator, Aprille is internationally known for her research. She has focused on energy metabolism at the cellular and molecular level, especially in newborns, when they must immediately develop independent metabolism at birth to survive. Her lab group showed that some newborn infants who do not make the transition successfully have particular DNA mutations that compromise energy metabolism.
With her students over the years, Aprille investigated the role of regulated energy metabolism in several other normal and abnormal physiological adaptations. Most recently, she collaborated in the discovery that control of energy pathways contributes to the mechanism by which fireflies (lightning bugs) switch their flashes on and off in such precise patterns.
Aprille has published more than 85 scientific articles, has presented at many conferences and seminars, and has received more than $2.9 million in grant money for her research.
Aprille has been a reviewing editor of two scholarly journals, the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes and the Archives of Pharmacal Research, and she serves on the scientific advisory board of the National Reyes Syndrome Foundation. Among her many other professional activities, she holds membership in the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Cell Biology, the Society for Pediatric Research and the Biophysical Society.
She received her B.S. in zoology from Washington State University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She held successive postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2003, the Department of Integrative and Molecular Physiology at the University of Illinois honored Aprille with its Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement.