“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou

As I re-read the quote I used to open my first NIRSA President’s Notes blog, I’m struck by just how quickly this past year has flown by. Many of NIRSA’s Past Presidents told me to enjoy it because it’d be over before I knew it. They were right. This has been an awesome (and fast) year of learning, leading, and moving our great Association forward in pursuit of our strategic plan.

Hopefully, you’ve been as blessed as I have and can say this past year was one that has helped you to thrive! If not, then I hope the coming year will offer you opportunities to reflect on and pursue those things that you need to do so. Although not everything went as expected or planned for me this past year, overall we made some good strides and, important for me personally, I grew as a result of my experiences.

We accomplished a great deal over this past year, however more work remains and I look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of the fantastic leaders who have volunteered and joined the ranks of NIRSA’s Board of Directors. Keep an eye on the amazing leaders (both continuing and new) who will lead the Association forward as we continue to develop, grow, and lead!

With warm gratitude

I enjoyed getting to know and working with all of the current board members and will cherish my time serving in the role of NIRSA President. It has been an honor to serve our members with you; thank you for the opportunity and for your dedication to this profession as well as this Association. Without your enthusiasm and preparedness for the work we would not have accomplished near as much.

I would be remiss if I did not specifically acknowledge and thank those who with whom I had the pleasure to serve with over the past three years: Stacey Hall, Bill Crockett, Bill Healey, David Davenport, Janice DeMonsi, Jocelyn Hill, Don Stenta, Leah Hall Dorothy, Kristy Caldwell, and Yvette Kell. Also, contributing a much needed viewpoint from the Member Network at all of our meetings, were Chairs Brian Smith, Jess Gentry, and David Peters, during their respective years.  Thank you all for your time, efforts, and care in ensuring NIRSA continues to be the best it can be.

I would like to thank all of those who were appointed to task forces and committees for your important work and service to NIRSA this past year. It takes thousands of volunteers to do all the work of NIRSA and without you our collective achievements our accomplishments would not be possible.

I also want to thank the leadership of the NSC Board and NIRSA Foundation Board for their respective contributions to our shared strategic plan for NIRSA. These dedicated volunteers are a pleasure to work with, three boards all aligned and moving toward our goals.

I can’t sign off without a huge shout out and thanks to the NIRSA HQ staff and our fantastic NIRSA Executive Director, Pam Watts! Without her support and leadership, we would not be in the place we are now, seated at the head of the table, striving to develop and enhance in the collegiate health and wellbeing.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the invaluable work of all of the members of our NIRSA family. Everyday our members work to enhance the lives of millions of college students by contributing to their professional development; providing safe, fun, and educational recreational opportunities; creating relationships with a variety of organizations on and off of our campuses to improve their students’ experiences; giving various forms of support to students who might be facing unique challenges; focusing on their own professional and personal development to better serve their student population; and serving as examples of dedication to and passion for a cause that they believe in.

The greatest contribution we can make to enhancing the lives of others is our unwavering commitment to their wellbeing. Everyday our members make a choice to show up and work to create experiences to help our students live their best lives. Your efforts are appreciated and valued and are the foundation of NIRSA’s success in supporting collegiate recreation. Thank you for all that you do.

I will leave you with one of my favorite and most personally challenging quotes:

“To the degree we’re not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves.” – Peter McWilliams

As for me, I’m off to my next adventure to become a certified scuba instructor so that I can share my personal passion for underwater adventure with others! Friend me on Facebook for pics!

Director of Campus Recreation at |

Kenneth W. Morton is currently the Director of Campus Recreation at Stephen F. Austin State University and is a Past President of NIRSA. Ken can be reached at mortonkw@sfasu.edu.