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Former AAUP President James E. Perley Dies

By Michael Ferguson

James E. Perley, who served two terms as AAUP president, from 1994 to 1998, died on March 30 in Portland, Maine. He was seventy-seven years old. After earning a PhD in biology at Yale University, Perley began his career at Wayne State University in Michigan. In 1968, he accepted an appointment at the College of Wooster in Ohio, where he served more than three decades.

Perley joined the AAUP in 1972. After becoming active in his local chapter, he chaired the Ohio conference, the conference’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, and the Assembly of State Conferences before being elected national president in 1994. Upon retiring from the College of Wooster in 2001, he was appointed dean of arts and sciences at Millikin University in Illinois. In 2003, he retired from that position and moved to Windham, Maine, with his wife Delene and their sons Thomas and Scott. Soon after arriving in Maine, Perley served a term as chair of the Committee on Accreditation.

Gregory Scholtz, director of the AAUP’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance, first met Perley in the early 1990s when Perley came to Iowa to present a Committee A workshop. “Jim was my first teacher in all things AAUP, and he was especially knowledgeable about Committee A matters,” Scholtz said. “He also gave generously of his time and advice when my colleagues at Wartburg College and I needed help. When he became president, he appointed me to the Committee on College and University Governance, which led to my further involvement nationally and, ultimately, to my ending up on the staff.”

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