With great sadness, TESOL International Association mourns the loss of Dr. James E. Alatis, a founding member of TESOL and its first executive director. Jim Alatis touched many lives during his tenure as TESOL executive director and throughout his career.
The first time I met Jim, I didn’t know it was him! It was 20 years ago, at my first TESOL Convention, in 1995, at Long Beach, California. I was overwhelmed with the scale and scope of the conference, as it was the biggest event I’d ever attended at that time. I remember talking with someone who said to me, “It’s OK. Joining TESOL is like becoming a member of an extended, international family.” I was comforted by that, and I later learned that the person I’d met was Jim Alatis. That brief initial encounter has stayed with me all these years and helped to shape everything I’ve done within the association since then.
Dr. Alatis will be sorely missed. For more about his life and work, please read the statement from TESOL.
Please feel free to share your memories of Dr. Alatis in the comments.