CLEMSON — Alumni and former faculty of Clemson University’s parks, recreation and tourism management department will descend upon the campus and join current faculty and students to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
The department will host events both formal and casual on April 8 and April 9 to celebrate the anniversary. Over the course of these two days, Interim Chair Francis A. McGuire expects to see many of the faces that helped shape the department into the thriving academic force that it has become over the last five decades.
“It will be great to see all that history personified in the former department chairs, faculty and alumni in attendance,” McGuire said. “I also love the fact that the events that make up this anniversary will allow us to formally recognize people and have fun doing it.”
The anniversary weekend kicks off with the College of Health, Education and Human Development Engagement Day at the Clemson Outdoor Lab on April 8.
There will be a casual meet up at Joe’s Place in the Madren Center that precedes a ticketed Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Awards Banquet and a post-banquet gathering downtown, which is open to everyone. McGuire said he has worked with students planning the banquet to ensure that both alumni and current students receive their share of attention.
On April 9, the department invites alumni and faculty to an “all day tailgate” to be held in conjunction with the Orange and White Spring Scrimmage Game. McGuire said events such as these during an anniversary are a time when faculty new and old alike can gain perspective on the department and its place in the history of Clemson University.
“I feel that our department has reflected what has happened at the university level over time,” McGuire said. “We’ve evolved, added specializations and become increasingly focused on research and graduate programs just as Clemson University has as a whole.”
The department’s first chair, Herbert Brantley, was joined by only one other faculty member, Thomas Johnson, when the department was first formed in 1966. Back then, it was known as the department of recreation and parks administration, and it offered traditional undergraduate programs in response to concern over the state’s preparedness to reopen state parks the U.S. government had closed three years prior.
Today, the department has 33 faculty members, more than 500 undergraduates and approximately 200 graduate students in Master of Science and Ph.D. programs. The university community recently recognized the department’s Engaging in Diverse Guided Experiences (EDGE) program and innovative approach to undergraduate education with the Phil Prince Innovation in Teaching Award.
McGuire said the department has enjoyed consistent leadership from the beginning, with chairs and interims pushing the department in organic, necessary directions. McGuire would know, as he has served in the department either as faculty or interim chair since Brantley’s time as chair.
“Our department has always been a part of the university and not apart from it,” McGuire said. “We’ve never been out of sync with changes at the university level, and, if anything, we’ve been anxious to lead those changes.”
The HEHD Engagement Day takes place from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 8, at the Clemson Outdoor Lab. The “all day tailgate” is from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. April 9 in the Jervey Meadow near the Clemson baseball stadium. The tailgate will be held in conjunction with the 2:30 p.m. start of the Orange and White Spring Scrimmage Game.
For more information on the PRTM 50th anniversary, visit clemson.edu/hehd/departments/prtm/50_anniversary.
This story courtesy of Clemson University.