Longtime Appleton educator Ron Dunlap has died at the age of 72, his wife confirmed today. A cause of death was not immediately made public.
Dunlap was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1968 out of the University of Illinois. He played professional basketball in the US and Europe, and became the first Black professional basketball player in Israel.
After his basketball career, we went into education, where he really made his mark. He taught junior high math, social studies and science for eleven years before becoming an administrator in Illinois.
He moved to Appleton in 1990 to become the principal of Lincoln Elementary, one of only three Black school administrators in all of Northeast Wisconsin. Later, he became the director of minority student services for the entire district, and retired in 2009.
The Appleton Area School District now gives the Ronald Dunlap Award to students who overcome barriers to achieve great thing.
He became an elder statesman of the Fox Valley’s Black community. In 1995, Dunlap was presented the Unity in Diversity Award by Toward Community. Ten years later, he was awarded a Rotary Club Charles and Patricia Heeter Outstanding Community Leadership Award in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of our community, country and the world. serving on the board of directors of African Heritage, Inc for many years. He was named one of the 44 most influential Black leaders in Wisconsin by Madison365 in 2016.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.