From the time two state schools in the Midwest devoted spaces and resources to campus recreation, a century of ever-growing commitment to programming, participation, inclusion, and outside-of-the-classroom learning has prevailed for students and faculty in higher education.
As more and more campuses began to offer recreational sports, these programs caught the attention of scholars who were interested in their positive effects on campus culture and students’ quality of life.
Dr. William Wasson was one such scholar, who discovered the value of intramurals studying Physical Education under Elmer Mitchell at the University of Michigan in 1946. He went on to develop his own intramural program at Dillard University, and in 1948 commenced a study, with funding from the Carnegie Foundation, titled “A Comparative Study of Intramural Programs in Negro Colleges.”
The results of his study were shared with the institutions that participated in his research. The discussion culminated in an Intramural Summit at Dillard on February 22, 1950, where the 20 intramural directors gathered there, representing 11 Historically Black Colleges & Universities, formed the National Intramural Association. The NIA was the first organization of its kind, bringing intramural program leaders to share skills and wisdom to advance the good work of their profession.
NIRSA’s origins took root at HBCUs
Most NIRSA members know that this association owes much to the HBCUs that have been part of the Association since its inception. But many may not know that NIRSA has a dedicated HBCU Committee committed to providing resources and avenues for networking for today’s crop of HBCU leaders in collegiate recreation.
The HBCU Committee was established in 2018 after transitioning from a three-year task force, in order to focus on the unique needs of recreation departments at historically black colleges and universities, and to continue the legacy of HBCUs as a central part of NIRSA’s history. The current committee roster includes:
- Rahim Booth, Director of Recreational Sports at Coppin State University and current HBCU Committee Co-Chair
- Taylor Dampeer, Director at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania and current HBCU Committee member
- Ashford Evans-Brown, Assistant Director for Fitness Facility Operations at Florida State University and current HBCU Committee member
- Augustus Hallmon, Assistant Professor at Northwest Missouri State University and current HBCU Committee member
- Jocelyn Hill, Director of Recreational Sports & Fitness at American University and current HBCU Committee member
- Jomah Watson, Wellness & Student Program Director at Howard University and current HBCU Committee Co-Chair
Previous HBCU Task Force contributors included:
- Perry Brown, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation at Dillard University
- Tony Daniels, Director Intramurals & Recreational Sports, Prairie View A&M University
- Mark Guthrie,
- Anthony Jackson, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Southern University
- Charles Judkins, formerly Director of Wellness and Recreation Services at Florida International University-MMC
- Chavonne Shorter, On-site Wellness Coordinator for Virgin Pulse
- Peter Stevenson,
- Cindy Strine, Director of Campus Recreation at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
- Iisha Voltz, Director of Recreation Services at Texas Southern University
- Jordin Williams, Executive Director – Wellness, Recreation & Campus Events at Delaware State University
Connect with the HBCU campus recreation community
In the wake of Black History Month, we invite you to explore three spotlights on HBCU programs and professionals.
“I enjoy being part of NIRSA’s HBCU committee because I want to ensure that HBCUs history in NIRSA continues to be told prominently. Learning from each other allow us to support each other through the challenges we are experiencing in our respective locations. This committee affords me a supportive place to talk about my challenges while passing on my expertise to others,” says Augustus Hallmon, Assistant Professor at Northwest Missouri State University and current HBCU Committee member.
“My time on the committee has been great. I enjoy being able to reach out and connect with HBCUs—which are at the foundation of this association. The committee continues to grow and build relationships and that has been an extremely enjoyable experience for me,” says Ashford Evans-Brown, Assistant Director for Fitness Facility Operations at Florida State University and current HBCU Committee member.
- For more information about the NIRSA HBCU Committee, contact any of the members serving on this volunteer leadership group.
- If you are interested in highlighting your campus or a NIRSA member’s achievements on your campus, pitch us your ideas.