An Inspiring Pioneer Leader of TESOL
I was deeply shocked and saddened when I heard the news of Dr. Jim Alatis’ passing. I still remember the TESOL’s leadership luncheon we had together at TESOL 2014 in Portland. Anthony, his son, told me that Dr. Alatis was so looking forward to the 50th Anniversary of TESOL in 2016. It seems like yesterday . . .
I met Dr. Alatis many times over the years at the TESOL conventions and the first few times, I was so timid and didn’t even dare to approach him as he was always surrounded by passionate TESOLers right after the Alatis plenary presentations. I’d just stand outside the circle admiring him as I knew he was instrumental in forming the association and that TESOLers call him and his wife Penny the founding father and mother of TESOL. Later I started to approach him.
One of the nice conversations we had was at the TESOL 2007 convention in Seattle when I served as the local affiliate WAESOL president and local convention co-chair. He and Penny told me how much they loved TESOL and how coming to TESOL convention was their favorite family reunion. They also encouraged me to get more involved with the TESOL family, and I promised them that I would. I hope I didn’t let them down. Dr. Alatis has inspired me and so many TESOLers over the years on so many levels. His vision, legacy and influence will always be with us and the TESOL community. The accomplishment that TESOL enjoys today is a direct result of his pioneering leadership over its first two decades.
Dr. Alatis will be deeply missed.
TESOL President, 2014-2015