During Wednesday's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Awards Banquet at the Pacific Palms Resort, University of Redlands' President Emeritus James R. Appleton was presented with the SCIAC Distinguished Service Award for his many contributions to Bulldog Athletics, the SCIAC, and the NCAA.
"I was much more comfortable completing the work than relishing in the results, but I do thank our SCIAC colleagues for this award," stated Appleton. "It has been my privilege to be a part of NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletics where passing the graduation platform is even more important than passing the goal line."
Appleton served as both the eighth and the tenth president of Redlands, with a term as Chancellor and a short retirement in between stints. He is now fully retired from the university, but remains involved with the community, and his presence and support of the Bulldog student-athlete experience continue today.
"Throughout his Presidency at Redlands, Dr. Appleton frequently shared his belief that the student-athlete experience was a co-curricular activity on the Redlands campus and the coaches were educators in every sense of the word," stated Director of Athletics Jeff Martinez, who co-presented the award with Dr. Christopher Walker, former Faculty Athletic Representative at Redlands and 2012 recipient of the SCIAC Distinguished Service Award. Martinez continued, "His leadership in every setting, his presence at multiple contests, and his daily interaction with our student-athletes illustrated that heartfelt commitment."
With Appleton's leadership and guidance since 1987, Bulldog Athletics added soccer, lacrosse, water polo, and golf as varsity women's sports, while increasing the number of total student-athletes from around 200 to the current 475-plus. He played an incredible role in the fund-raising efforts that led to new facilities for athletic training, strength and conditioning, softball, aquatics, soccer and lacrosse, and track & field. In addition, Bulldog Athletics benefitted from major renovations to Ted Runner Stadium, Currier Gym, and Verdieck Courts under his direction.
"Jim Appleton led changes in athletics by carefully and convincingly communicating to administration, faculty, students, alumni and to other external campus constituencies, the importance of a quality intercollegiate athletic program to each student-athlete and to the campus culture as a whole," Walker stated during his presentation speech.
Appleton's contributions went beyond the University of Redlands, impacting the SCIAC and the NCAA throughout his tenure. He served as the Chair of the SCIAC Presidents Council several times during his presidency and was the Co-Chair of NCAA Division III Task Force to Review the NCAA Membership Structure. Furthermore, Appleton provided informative and helpful input as an integral member of the NCAA Division III CEO Involvement Subcommittee, the NCAA Division III Management Council, and the NCAA Presidents Commission.
"I know of few educators who have more love for and have devoted more time, energy, and leadership to the significant mission of intercollegiate athletics than President Emeritus James R. Appleton," Walker added.
The SCIAC created the Distinguished Service Award in 1985 to recognize a member of the faculty, administration, or coaching staff who has promoted college athletics and the ideals of the student-athlete. The award is given to an individual who has retired or is in his/her final year prior to retirement. To view past recipients, please visit the SCIAC web site.