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March 3, 2016
Dr. Jeff Ferguson, associate professor of recreation at Northwest Missouri State, was honored with the Missouri Park and Recreation Association’s (MPRA) Associate Fellow Award at the organization’s annual conference Feb. 25, in Columbia, Missouri.
Ferguson joined the Northwest faculty in 1987 as the first full-time faculty member assigned to parks and recreation and will retire in August. During 29 years at Northwest, his vision and leadership played a central role as the department grew from a handful of students to more than 200 recreation majors across three areas of specialization.
Ferguson believes in the benefits parks and recreation offer to society, encouraging students and professionals to recognize the inherent link our profession has to the wellness of the community.
“It’s really a pat on the back for all of us, for the work we do in our department and for recognition of 29 years of service to the state of Missouri,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson is a long-standing MPRA member and contributor. He serves on the MPR Scholarship Charitable Trust Board of Trustees and has chaired the Leisure Educator's Section four times. He has served multiple terms on MPRA committees, including the Conference Program, Citations and Awards, and Student Professional Day committees. He demonstrates constant involvement in MPRA student initiatives, such as the Student Retreat, and attendance at the MPRA annual conference and Legislative Action Day.
“Jeff's natural ability to build relationships with students has been central to this growth and many students see him as family,” Northwest Professor of Recreation Dr. Terry Long said. “Alumni regularly frequent his office, invite him to weddings and send him family photos. One student even sent him a piece of shrapnel taken from his body after a road side bomb struck his vehicle in Iraq. Through these supportive relationships with students, he has truly impacted Parks and Recreation in Missouri and in many other places.”
The Missouri Park and Recreation Associate Fellow Award is presented each year at the annual conference. The recipient must have at least three years of experience as a leader, instructor, supervisor, or a combination of same in the field of parks and recreation. The recipient must also contribute to the association and display leadership.
The Missouri Park and Recreation Association, whose members work to provide opportunities for all state’s citizens to enjoy quality leisure activities, is dedicated to promoting public support for parks and recreation and public awareness of the contribution of recreation to a balanced life. The association works to ensure the growth and improve the quality and accessibility of urban and rural parks, open spaces and recreation lands, facilities and programs for all Missourians. It promotes research and information dissemination on parks, conservation, recreation, and leisure issues. For more information, visit www.mopark.org.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468