Juliette Moore, CRSS, Director at the University of Arizona and a longtime member of NIRSA, will retire from her position in June. Recently she took the time to share some personal highlights from the past 35 years.

Tell us about your education and career arc.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from Xavier University of Louisiana and a master’s in Leisure Studies from the University of West Florida. These are the professional positions I’ve held:

1976-1984: University of West Florida, Assistant Director of Recreation and Sports
1985-1989: Arizona State University, Assistant Director of Recreation, Intramural Sports and Sport Clubs
1989-1991: James Madison University, Associate Director of Student Programming and Recreation
1991-1997: Northern Illinois University, Director of Campus Recreation
1997-present: University of Arizona, Director of Campus Recreation

How did you first decide to enter the field?

I was a Physical Education major at Xavier University (now known as Xavier University of Louisiana), and I was going to teach. But as a graduate student at the University of West Florida, I had a work/study job in the recreation department with Bill Healey as the sport club coordinator. I absolutely loved it and decided to pursue a career in campus recreation.

How has the profession changed during your career?

It has grown so much – it’s so much more than intramurals. The growth of the size of the facilities, the number of offerings, the addition of things like fitness and outdoor recreation has been incredible. The focus on student development has been very gratifying. We had been doing that all along, but never gave ourselves credit for developing our students and providing them professional development opportunities. And the attention to sustainability is long overdue. It’s no longer a fad but a critical consideration.

What moments stand out for you as you look back on your career?

There are so many! But one is hosting a regional conference in 1989 when I was at ASU. I got in touch with Dr. William Wasson, and invited him to be our guest. He was the founder of the Association and served as its first President for several years, but had not been involved with NIRSA for some time. So, his coming to that regional marked his return to the organization. I then ensured that he would never have to pay to attend another conference and NIRSA picked up all of his costs as well as that of his wife Lee to attend all conferences after that one. I also asked NIRSA, and the Board of Directors agreed, to pick up the costs for all of our founding members, including Horace Moody, Ellis Mendleson, and NIRSA’s Executive Director for many years, Will Holsberry.

I’m happy that I was able to serve as NIRSA’s President in 1998 and to work with Moe McGonagle in planning NIRSA’s 50th anniversary celebration.

I’m also very pleased to have founded the People of Color Social in 1990. This was at the urging of Dr. Wasson and Horace Moody. I cut a deal with then-President Judy Bryant that I would lead icebreakers for new members at the Annual Conference in exchange for the use of her suite for the social. After a couple more years like this, it became an official, integral part of the Conference program. Everyone is welcome to come and learn about and celebrate the history of NIRSA.

Describe your relationship with the Wasson family. What is the significance of NIRSA’s history to all members today?

Bill and Lee Wasson were like another mom and dad to me. I lost my own mother in the 1980s when I moved to Arizona. Bill was always so encouraging of me. He’d say, “When are you going to run for President?” After he died in 1991, I realized he was right. In order to get the things done that you want to get done, you need to be active and involved.

It’s so important that we never forget our past. NIRSA has a rich history that should not be lost. Not only is it meaningful to pay tribute to our founders, it’s absolutely critical to see where we’ve been so we know where we’re going. Every member should always understand and learn more about our NIRSA history.

Tell us about your involvement with NIRSA. What has NIRSA meant to you personally?

In addition to starting the People of Color Social and serving as President, I’ve also been a member of the Governance Commission Advisory Group, Past Presidents’ Representative, and a Member of the National School of Recreational Sports Management Faculty. I’ve served on or chaired various committees since 1979, including the Conference Program Committee, Student Professional Development Committee, and the Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Conference (ERSLC) Committee. I’ve been involved in lots of other things along the way.

NIRSA has been a tremendous avenue of professional development for me. I’ve gained so much and met so many wonderful people. NIRSA’s greatest asset is the networking it offers. I’m thankful for the support of my fellow members and that’s why I’ve chosen to be a member of the Legacy Society, where I know my contributions to the NIRSA Foundation will be put to good use.

NIRSA has also forged so many connections between campus recreation and higher education, giving us more credibility at our institutions.

What are your plans for retirement?

I’m moving to Pensacola, Florida in July to be closer to my family and many great friends. That’s where it all started for me and I think of it as home. I’m also going to play conga with my brother’s band in New Orleans – Conga Red is my stage name.

I’ll remain active in the profession and definitely plan to come to the 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans. I still have a lot to give. Who knows? I may decide to seek employment at West Florida, which would be fantastic. That way I can give back to my alma mater in gratitude for providing me the opportunity to get involved in this wonderful profession and also introducing me to NIRSA.