Denise Anderson

As a new member of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, Denise Anderson will work through the academy on mentoring, research and externship programs.
Image Credit: Clemson University

Denise Anderson, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, has been elected to the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. Anderson was inducted recently at the academy’s annual meeting during the National Recreation and Park Association Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

Anderson will be expected to help advance parks and recreation as a field dedicated to improving the lives of people from all walks of life, and she looks forward to working through the academy on mentoring, research and externship programs to achieve that end. Anderson said the academy has been made up of pioneers in the field and her own mentors, so the importance of the appointment is not lost on her.

“I worked with Robert Toalson of the Champaign Park District before I earned my Ph.D., and I had an incredible amount of respect for him,” Anderson said. “To be inducted into the academy that he himself was part of is humbling and incredibly gratifying.”

The academy is a group of distinguished practitioners and educators who are leaders in the field of parks and recreation. In order to be considered for inclusion, inductees must satisfy certain criteria. They must have served for at least 15 years in a high level of administration in a parks and recreation agency, be a recognized educator in parks and recreation administration or they must manage a park and recreation department for an agency with a population of more than 500,000 people.

They also must demonstrate outstanding ability in administration, management or education in the profession; display broad interest with a direct service benefit to the advancement of public parks and recreation; or assume leadership with a keen desire to contribute to the advancement of the field. The academy is limited to 125 active members.

Established in 1980, the academy was formed to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks and encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators to enhance the practice of parks and recreation admin­istration. The academy also aims to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good and conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of parks and recreation administration. Academy President and Five Rivers MetroParks Executive Director Rebecca Benná said she is extremely proud of the 2016 class.

“The class of 2016 is a great mix,” said Benná. “We have urban to small suburban, men and women, varied ages – all with superior career experience and a dedication to improving the quality of life through the provision of high quality parks and recreation opportunities.”

More information on the Academy is available at