Maurice Apprey joined the University of Virginia medical school in 1980 as a newly minted child and adolescent psychoanalyst who had studied with Anna Freud (yes, Sigmund’s daughter).
“In 1982, Dr. Lawrence Burwell, a cardiologist, was the only African-American faculty member,” Apprey said, “and only a handful of African-American students were in the entire medical school.”
A year later, Apprey visited UVA Provost Ed Floyd, telling him, “We have to change that image.” Shortly thereafter, Apprey was appointed associate dean of student affairs at the School of Medicine. He created a medical recruitment and retention program to attract and serve minority students.
As a result, minority representation in medical school entry classes increased by 17%. And for 13 years under his leadership, the medical school retention rate for minority and disadvantaged students was 100%.
More than forty years later, Apprey will officially retire from the university on June 30, having had a significant impact on changing the image of the university, not only at the medical school, but also on the field as Dean of African-American Affairs, a position he held. since 2006.
Time flew by so quickly, Apprey said. He hardly noticed that he had been at the University for four decades. Looking back and wondering, “What makes a person stay in one place for so long? he said the answer goes back to that first conversation with the provost and wanting to improve the experience and success of underrepresented students.
“As sure as the sun rises each day, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the mentorship, initiative and leadership of Dean Apprey.” – Dr. Michael Nelson
In a recent letter of gratitude to Robyn Hadley, Vice President and Director of Student Affairs, he thanked those with whom he had worked: “I want to extend my special thanks to my colleagues, mentors, staff, students and all others who have joined me in the invaluable task of advancing the University’s efforts in minority education from the incomplete experience it once was.
Countless students have benefited from Apprey’s support and guidance over the years. He has taught undergraduate and medical students, psychiatry and psychology residents, hospital chaplains, as well as students in Istanbul, Turkey, where he helped establish a psychoanalytic training institute. Apprey retired from teaching as a professor of psychiatry last year.
Dr. Michael Nelson, a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia, sings the praises of his former professor: “As sure as the sun comes up every day, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the mentorship, the initiative and leadership of Dean Appreciate.
Nelson, the first African American MD/Ph.D. a graduate of the School of Medicine, is now Chief of the Division of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology at UVA Health and the School of Medicine. As a former UVA student who completed the medical academic advancement program developed by Apprey, Nelson said, “His personalized attention to everything he encounters is a legacy that has helped so many people. ” Nelson’s son, Max, who graduated this spring from AVU, has also benefited from Apprey’s mentorship.
Sidney Williams, who in 2020 graduated with a BS in biology and a minor in philosophy, began a mentoring partnership with Apprey his freshman year on Grounds. She sought advice on the best preparation for medical school, her next goal. They met once or twice a semester, discussing everything from course selection to exposure to medical fields. She will attend Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons this fall.
Apprey’s “level of support validated my passion for medicine and allowed me to really imagine myself succeeding,” said Williams, who worked at Project Horseshoe Farm, a community health nonprofit, in Greensboro, Alabama.
Some aspects that have helped him in administration and teaching include becoming interdisciplinary and taking on the best of human nature, Apprey said. He advises others to “study widely and deeply.”
When you encounter obstacles, he added, the creativity to find other ways to work toward goals can be helpful.
Apprey, originally from Ghana, received his BS in Psychology, Philosophy and Religion in 1974 from the College of Emporia in Kansas. He then became one of the few students to have studied child psychoanalysis with Anna Freud at the Hampstead Clinic in London, now known as the Anna Freud Centre. He then received his adult training in psychoanalysis at the New York Freudian Society.
Apprey went on to earn two doctorates: a Ph.D. in humanities research from the Saybrook Institute in San Francisco, and later a doctorate in management (now renamed Doctor of Business Administration) from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. This gave him the opportunity to focus on the study of leadership, conflict management, and nonprofit management research.
With this wide range of academic backgrounds, he regularly prepared data on students and their academic achievements to show the effectiveness of the office’s programs and how they aligned with the University’s strategic goals. He explained, for example, the importance of having the Office of African American Affairs and a multicultural student center on Grounds as follows: the former promotes bonding while the latter offers bridging – and both support students in a complementary way.
When Patricia M. Lampkin, then associate vice president of student affairs, first asked Apprey to run the office on an interim basis in 2006, she had turned to him for some tricky student mediations. She knew he had worked on the 1987 UVA group that produced “An Audacious Faith: Report on the Task Force on Afro-American Affairs.”
Under Apprey’s leadership as dean and associate vice president of student affairs, the Office of African American Affairs has created successful programs that advance the achievements of black students and better prepare them for professional careers, said Hadley and others.
Hadley summed up his impact by writing, “Maurice led a team whose support for black students focused on academic achievement, leadership training, and mastering the skills and competencies to negotiate personal, professional and ethnic.”
From the time he took the position, Apprey determined that a primary strategic goal would be to align the high graduation rates of black undergraduate students that UVA had become known for with correspondingly high grade point averages.
Three key programs implemented the office’s strategic direction: the Peer Advisor program, the GradStar program, and the leadership programs of the Luther P. Jackson Black Cultural Center, as well as strong academic guidance, mentorship, and other guidance on research and resources given by all the deans of the office.
In 2005, 10% of African American students were in the 3.4 to 4.0 grade point average range after one semester of college. Fifteen years later, in the spring of 2021, 70% were in the same category. Now the four classes have more students in 3.4-4.0 category than in the 3.0-3.399 group – a first for African-American students.
“As a result, these students have continued to succeed in college and professional education and in competitive workplaces,” Hadley said.
“The same university that legally excluded black students [in the last century] has become one of the best places for black students to study,” Apprey said.
“There are books that cry to be read and to be written.”
With his training in psychoanalysis, Apprey extended his professional work from helping the troubled individual to healing groups – even down to the level of nations, in his complementary career work as an international mediator.
He was a member of the former UVA Center for the Study of the Mind and Human Interaction, which managed and mediated the transition from 1994 to 1999 of Estonia’s restoration of independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Apprey has published widely in three areas: conflict resolution and social change management, including the book “Framing Social Change Management in Three Movements”; the modern French reception of German philosophy in phenomenology; and the psychoanalysis of children, adolescents and adults, such as the volume he co-edited, “Intersubjectivity, projective identification and alterity” and his English translation of Georges Politzer’s 1928 treatise, “Critique of the foundations psychology: the psychology of psychoanalysis”.
Closer to home, he co-edited “The Key to the Door,” published by UVA Press in 2017, which chronicles the experiences of UVA’s first African-American graduates and also includes insight into the history of workers. black on the ground.
He plans to continue his studies in psychoanalysis, more recent continental philosophy and management.
“There are books crying out to be read and written,” Apprey said, gesturing to his crowded shelves behind him.
Besides books, he wants to spend more time with his family, especially his grandchildren.