Stillman Professor One of Only Four to Ever Receive AAHPERDs Three Highest National Awards
Dr. Donald Staffo to receive highest national award in his profession at the
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance National Convention in Boston
Stillman professor and department chair emeritus one of only four
to ever receive AAHPERD’s three highest national awards
Donald F. Staffo, professor and chairman emeritus of the Department of Health and Physical Education at Stillman College, will receive the Luther Gulick Medal, the highest national award in his profession, March 15 at the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance National Convention in Boston. Already the recipient of the Honor and the Charles Henry Awards, Staffo is only the fourth person in the country to win AAHPERD’s three highest national awards. An educator for 44 years and department chair for 33 years, Staffo has received 4 national, 4 state, 5 distinguished alumni, 1 regional, and 5 institutional awards. Inducted into three halls of fame, including The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology and the SUNY Brockport Hall of Heritage, he is the only person to win all of Stillman’s top awards and the first to be honored with the title emeritus.
The Gulick Medal recognizes noteworthy national leaders who have provided long and distinguished service to the profession and who exemplify the best in teaching, research, service and/or administration and whose contributions inspire youth to live vigorously and courageously. Nominations are received from AAHPERD members in the disciplines of physical education, health, recreation, dance and sport, public school through graduate school, as well as from the public and private sector. Only one Gulick Medal is awarded each year.
“We salute your career accomplishments and are grateful for your commitment to quality sport and physical education programs,” stated Dennis Docheff, president of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
“I am humbled and honored to receive this award, as I am with all the awards that I have received,” stated Staffo. “I thank God every day for everything good that has happened to me, and I thank the people who nominated me and who serve on the various committees who have selected me for awards. National awards are especially meaningful because the recipients of them are determined by your peers from throughout the country.
“I never got into education to win awards. I just have tried to do the best job that I could every day, day in and day out, year in and year out. To win not only the highest award, but to be one of only a very few people to win the three highest awards is something that I could never have imagined.”
Staffo is the author of 10 books, 117 scholarly articles, a health and fitness newspaper column and more than 2,000 articles including over 800 in national and regional magazines. He has made 73 presentations at AAHPERD national conventions, and district and state conferences. He has served on 35 editorial and advisory boards, including the International Journal of Sport Management, International Council of HPER-Sport and Dance Journal of Research, and The Physical Educator. He served as editor of the ASAHPERD Journal, two terms as chairman of the NASPE Youth Sports Coalition, on NASPE’s original Task Force that developed the National Coaching Standards, Alabama Governor’s Task Force for Physical Activity, the 1st Alabama Governor’s Planning Committee Conference for Childhood Obesity and the Task Force that developed the Great South Athletic Conference, among numerous others. Staffo is also a sports journalist who has covered University of Alabama football and basketball for 27 years for the Associated Press as well as for numerous other publications. He has been extensively involved in public service, including for the last several years on the advisory board of the Salvation Army.
When he received a Presidential Citation in February, Stillman president Dr. Ernest McNealey called Staffo an outstanding educator, trailblazer and visionary whose contributions have been exemplary. “Based on your prolific scholarship and professional activities, you have achieved unparalleled recognitions for the quality and dedication of your work…Your many voluntary activities and involvements reflect a commitment that lends to a personal ‘Clarion Call’…Your service to your profession has led to legions of awards and accomplishments…Your service at Stillman is praiseworthy,” stated McNealey.
Staffo for 11 years was a public school physical education teacher, coach and athletic director, as well as a high school referee and city summer recreation director. His teams won three championships and never had a losing season. The recreation programs and the Youth Corp Program that Staffo directed in Little Falls, NY were cited by the mayor, city engineer, common council and school superintendent and included innovations that were nationally recognized. Staffo was athletic director when Stillman restarted its football program in 1999. A former age-group modified triathalon winner, he authored a health and fitness column that was carried in 21 newspapers, including The Tuscaloosa News from 1987 through 2001, and nationally in three publications.
“I think they look at a person’s total body of work when they select the Gulick winner,” Staffo said.
Dr. William Stier, Jr., Distinguished Professor and Graduate Director of Sport at Brockport and one of the people who nominated Staffo stated, “Don is the consummate professional and a true renaissance person who thrives on seeking out professional challenges and then successfully completing them. It is hard to imagine many people matching his overall professional productivity, or accomplishing more in their career. The combination of Don’s extensive body of on-going work over four-and-a-half decades in a wide variety of HPER-athletics areas, along with his physically-fit lifestyle, would provide a standard of comparison for even the best HPER-athletics educators.”
Staffo is a graduate of SUNY Brockport, Western Kentucky University and earned his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. He completed post-doctoral work in the Injury Prevention Center in the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
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