Laurel Appel

Laurel Appel

DURHAM, Conn. – Laurel Appel, 50, of Durham, Conn., a Wesleyan University faculty member who grew up in Urbana, died Monday, March 4, 2013, at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Conn.

She is survived by her husband, Michael P. Weir; her daughter, Rebecca L. Weir; and her son, Nathaniel J. Weir. She is also survived by her parents, Kenneth and Carole Appel of Dover, N.H.; her brothers, Andrew W. Appel and his wife, Maia Ginsburg of Princeton, N.J., and Peter H. Appel and his wife, Barbara Zamora-Appel of Alexandria, Va.; her nephews, Avi Appel and Joseph Appel; and her niece, Carmen Appel.

At Wesleyan, she directed the Ronald E. McNair Program, which supports and nurtures first-generation college students and students in underrepresented groups for entry into graduate programs.

Laurel Frances Appel was born July 13, 1962, in Princeton, N.J., and brought by her parents shortly after to Urbana, where she attended Yankee Ridge School and University High School.

She graduated from Oberlin College in 1984 and received a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1993.

She moved to Connecticut in 1993 and married Michael Weir on Sept. 5. Her parents moved that year to New Hampshire, where Kenneth Appel became chair of the mathematics department at the University of New Hampshire. Carole Appel retired as senior editor and journals manager of the University of Illinois Press.

A celebration of Laurel's life took place March 8 at Wesleyan University.

Contributions in Laurel's memory may be made to the Laurel F. Appel Fund for Student Research, c/o Marcy Herlihy, Wesleyan University, 318 High St., Middletown, CT, 06459 or at, noting in the comments that the gift is for the Laurel F. Appel Fund.