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John Datillo


I hope that you are enjoying life in 2009 and that you are taking advantage of opportunities for leisure this summer. Many of our alumni, faculty, staff and students have worked this winter and spring to make us Penn State proud! This edition of At Your Leisure will summarize some of our important accomplishments over the last few years as well as catch you up on activities that have occurred thus far in 2009.

RPTM will be experiencing a change next month; Garry Chick has agreed to assume the role of department head. I believe that Garry will do a terrific job. I will be staying at Penn State in RPTM to focus on my research and teaching. I hope to thank many of you individually for your incredible support but, for now, I want to express more generally my appreciation for all the kindness that has been shown to me these past five years. The thoughtfulness I have encountered from alumni and friends has been wonderful.

RPTM has experienced a variety of personnel transitions over the past five years including five faculty retirements, six faculty hires, 10 staff hires four of which were administrative assistants, three Professors-In-Charge of Graduate Studies, and five faculty sabbaticals. We have successfully navigated these transitions during a time in which the College has had three different deans. In addition, we moved offices and research laboratories into Ford building and soon the Golf Teaching and Research Center will be located in Keller building. The upcoming transition offers an opportunity to reflect on some important developments that occurred within RPTM over the past five years. I would like to share with you some of what I consider to be highlights.

• Becoming a “Department” again. Having been granted department status in 2004, we worked closely with the School of Hospitality to create two distinct units containing unique budgets, personnel, organization, governance, and space. It was a pleasure to work with the newly hired director of Hospitality, Bert Van Hoof, who was refreshingly forthright and fair in our deliberations about allocation of various resources. This monumental task required creation of over 20 RPTM policies that continue to help organize our efforts.

• Focusing on Undergraduate Issues. We worked to place people into roles that facilitate the best possible service to our undergraduates. Burch Wilkes, who completed his Ph.D. in 2008, seamlessly assumed the role of Director of the Golf Management Program vacated by the retired program founder, Frank Guadagnolo. Patty Kleban agreed to be our Undergraduate Coordinator and has effectively addressed student issues by working with Alan Graefe, our Professor-In-Charge of Undergraduate Studies, and our helpful Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Tony D’Augelli. We also shifted academic advising responsibilities primarily to our Academic Advisor, Angela Rothrock, as well as some of our instructors.

• Transforming the Graduate Program. We enhanced the graduate program by establishing and adhering to higher admission standards. Also, we now have clear guidelines about graduation requirements and we are diligent about requiring students to actively progress toward degree completion. Since we are one of a select group of programs in the world to offer a RPTM doctoral degree at a Research One University, we prioritize allocation of resources to support students pursuing their Ph.D. while holding students accountable for high performance and progress.

• Connecting with Alumni and Retired Faculty. Five years ago we initiated the RPTM Recognition Banquet that brought alumni, students, faculty, and staff together in celebration of achievements both past and present. The banquet evolved into an RPTM Super Weekend which now includes networking and formal mentoring sessions between our students and alumni. RPTM and PGM Affiliated Program Groups as well as retired faculty and alumni have made tremendous financial and professional development contributions to RPTM. We now consistently have receptions at our state and national conferences, invite alumni and recruiters to campus, and send electronic and paper newsletters to keep connected with our alumni and friends.

• Supporting and Mentoring Faculty. We have an excellent group of new faculty eager to learn how to make important contributions to our field. It has been fantastic to work with Duarte Morais, Andy Mowen, and Careen Yarnal as I witness them successfully making a positive difference in areas of instruction, research, and service, and, as a result of their success, they all received promotion and tenure. RPTM is fortunate to have five faculty hires including Christine Buzinde, Shawna Doerkson, Eric Handley, Ben Hickerson, and most recently, Brian Soule’ who each add to the positive energy of our department. We were also successful in making positive salary adjustment for all our staff and instructors as well as several tenure-track faculty members so that their salaries are now more consistent with other units in our College.

• Expanding and Coordinating International Efforts. To help RPTM expand our international reach, the position of Professor-In-Charge was established and held by Duarte Morais. Under his direction we developed and currently offer faculty-led RPTM courses in Australia and New Zealand and co-teach and/or give RPTM credit to programs in Brazil, England and Spain. We also led the creation of official institutional cooperation agreements between Penn State and Universities in Tanzania and Namibia. RPTM now holds a reputation on campus for providing valuable international experiences for our students and for conducting meaningful service and research abroad.

• Organizing our Scholarship. When I began as Department Head, clusters of teaching expertise and research being conducted by RPTM faculty appeared to be present. In the ensuing years we organized ourselves into five research laboratories including: Leisure, Culture and Diversity; Leisure and Disability; Leisure and Health; Outdoor Recreation; and the Tourism Research Lab. Later, we added the Golf Teaching and Research Center. These laboratories and the center have helped create a sense of identity and focus to our scholarship.

• Creating a Positive Space. One important task for creating our new department was the acquisition and design of our physical space on the top two floors of the Donald H. Ford Building. Our wonderful location was worth the 100 or so blueprint versions and consistent onsite hardhat visits – I do not know of any RPTM program that has better facilities! We now have space for our research laboratories that are interspersed among faculty offices. We worked with Craig Gruneburg and the Information Systems and Services staff to create a first-class technology enhanced classroom. We enlarged faculty offices and created space for students and faculty to interact casually and in formal contexts all with an inspiring view of Happy Valley and surrounding mountains. This fall we will dedicate the Golf Teaching and Research Center located in the nearby basement of Keller Building. We have patiently shepherded development of this center which has evolved over many years and changed location several times.

• Supporting Initiatives. We have worked to expand ways in which RPTM generates resources that support our instruction, research, and service. One way we have increased our resources is through development initiatives with help from the HHD Development Office, most notably the efforts of Bob Crusciel. We launched the first ever RPTM fundraising campaign to acquire $120,000 to purchase start up equipment for the new Golf Teaching and Research Center. Through the generosity of over 100 alumni and friends, we exceeded our goal. Also, given the escalating costs of tuition, we have made inroads with alumni and friends to establish scholarships for our deserving students.

• Generating Resources. In addition to fund raising, we have expanded our summer school and continuing education offerings. Increasing options for our students and professionals also provides support for our graduate students and instructors. After several years of working closely with Mark McLaughlin, Director of Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center (SCNC), we completed a novel agreement that generates additional resources for both SCNC and RPTM. Since grants that support faculty research are important, we developed policies offering incentives to faculty to fund graduate assistants and generate salary savings.

• Clarifying our Future. Many organizations develop strategic plans that are not used; however, we developed an innovative plan readily available on our web site that is used to provide clear guidance in making decisions in areas such as curriculum, resource allocation, and personnel. We focus our efforts on examining and facilitating equity and disparities in recreation, park and tourism and the role of our field on developing whole communities within sustainable environments. We also address the impact of leisure services on individuals’ health and well being across the life span and effects of these experiences on health of communities. Recently, we completed our first year progress report on the strategic plan that is now posted on our website. We are ready to move forward successfully into the future.

Well, there you have it, some of the important highlights that have occurred during my time as Department Head. It has been an honor for me to serve my alma mater in this way. I appreciate the extraordinary support from so many different people. I am humbled by the experience and appreciate the opportunity to work with all of you.

Warm regards, John

Congratulations Alums

Larry Williamson ’69 ( received the 2009 RPTM Alumni Recognition Award. Larry is about to retire as special adviser to the secretary of Pennsylvania for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) following his position as deputy secretary for conservation and technical services.

Carl Mancuso ’70 RC PK ( is now director for Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh.

Lanny Wagner ’81 RC PK ( is a bureau of land management ranger and field training officer at the Anasazi Heritage Center/Canyons of the Ancients in New Mexico.

Joanne Finegan ’83 RC PK ( received the American Therapeutic Recreation Association Presidential Award for 2008.

Marcia Meehan '88 RC PK received the 2009 APG Deb Kerstetter Outstanding Alumni Award. She was recognized at the 5th Annual Recreation Celebration on March 28.

Chris Saello ’88 ( received this year’s Health and Human Development APG Board Member of the Year award.

Brijesh Thapa, Ph.D. ’00 ( recevied the 2009 Emerging Professional Graduate Degree Award. Brijesh is graduate programs coordinator for the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management and senior associate director of the Center for Tourism Research and Development at the University of Florida.

Chris Phillips ’00 (
• received the 2009 Emerging Professional Undergraduate Degree Award. Chris is director of ticket sales and assistant general manager of the State College Spikes.
• was promoted to assistant general manager and will oversee Spikes' ticket and group sales department while managing other areas of the operation.

Kristy Owens ’05 ( was named assistant director of the Department of Parks and Recreation for Silver Spring Township, Pennsylvania.

Lawanda Kling ’07 ( is a CTRS at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Clinic in Johnstown, PA and is working toward therapeutic riding instructor and pet therapy certifications.

Miranda Weaver ’07 ( is a family readiness support assistant with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in Philadelphia.

Congratulations Students

RPTM graduate students made the following presentation at the Health and Human Development (HHD) Interdisciplinary Research Forum on March 25: Rob Andrejewski “Participant Constructions of Nature: Influence of an Adirondack Outing,” Jaeyeon Choe “The Motivations of Non-Buddhists Visiting a Buddhist Temple,” and Nuno Ribeiro “Using Free-Listing to Analyze Perceptions of a Spring Break Experience.”

Katelyn Belnome, Kathleen Ritter, Jennifer Skrzypek, and Mallory Zingone were chosen to be a member of the 2009–2010 class of the HHD Women’s Leadership Initiative that provides opportunities for emerging women leaders to develop core values, attitudes, and competencies that are the foundation of quality leadership.

Nathan Graeff received the 2008 PRPS Student Honor Award and was recently elected student director for PRPS.

Jason Hartline, Dan Merrell, Rick Martel and Kyle Higgins represented the Professional Golf Management Student Society (PGMSS) as dancers at Thon in February. PGMSS raised over $9,000 for Thon. The PGMSS Thon Committee was comprised of: Taylor Randall (Chair), Dan Merrell, Eric Monos, Mike Conley, Rick Martel, and Marcie Whiston.

Melissa Lennox received the 2009 HHD Student Service Award.

Xinyi Lisa Qian was the RPTM representative on the 2008-2009 HHD Student Council.

Nuno Ribeiro:
• with Careen Yarnal published an article titled “It wasn’t my sole purpose for going down there: An inquiry into the spring break experience and its relation to risky behaviors and alcohol consumption” in the Annals of Leisure Research, 11(3–4).
• was one of ten Penn State graduate students selected to receive the Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award for being an excellent teaching assistant in Introduction to Commercial Recreation and Tourism (RPTM 210) and Tourism and Leisure Behavior (RPTM 300Y).

Xiangyou Sharon Shen received a Professional Development Endowment grant to fund her attendance at three conferences.

Amy Smith
• was selected as the RPTM Student Marshall for spring 2009 and chose Harry Zinn to serve as faculty marshal
• received the HHD Alumni Society Award for Excellence
• received the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society Student Honor Award for 2009.

Joshua Watson was featured in the magazine Penn State Outreach about his involvement with the Inclusive Recreation for Wounded Warriors program, which Tammy Buckley helped to develop. Josh talked to participants of the program about ways that inclusive recreation has helped him readjust to civilian life following his military service in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Eunice Eunjung Yoo was one of four recipients of this year's Northeastern Recreation Research (NERR) Symposium Scholarships.

The following students were selected as the 2009 outstanding students for their option areas:
• Professional Golf Management - Matthew Mileski
• Therapeutic Recreation - Elizabeth Decina
• Outdoor Recreation - Amy Smith
• Commercial and Community Recreation - Jennifer Ketchum
• Graduate Student – Libby Covelli

The following students were scholarship recipients for 2008-2009:
• Fred M. Coombs Scholarship - Matthew Bird, David Trude, and Jennifer Skrzypek
• Jonathan and Judy Mills Trustee Scholarship - Ryan Coury and Jamie Zackavitch
• Mills Family Scholarship - Naomi Nesenoff and Elizabeth Decina
• PGA Professional Golf Management Diversity Scholarship - Gia Fanelli
• Anita N. and Fred M. Coombs Scholarship in PGM - Daniel Joseph
• Pamela Nicholson-Dadey and Kevin Ryan Dadey Memorial Scholarship in PGM - Joshua Sweeney
• Herberta M. Lundegren Graduate Scholarship in Leisure Studies - Nate Trauntvein

PGM students completed their national PGA assessment testing (PGA Checkpoint) March 26–30 averaging a 92% success rate (considerably above the national average of 83%).

The RPTM Student Society officers for the 2009–2010 academic year are:
• President: Jennifer Skrzypek
• Vice President: Jon Goach
• Secretary: Dan Wurtzel
• Treasurer: Tomas Rista
• Social Chair: David Wells
• Professional Development/Career Chair: Holly Smith
• Thon Chair: Anna Sofio
• Community Service Chair: Melissa Lennox
• Fundraising Chair - Will West

PGM congratulates its Spring 2009 graduating class:
• Michael Brown - Meadow Club
• Tom Bull - North Hills C.C.
• Ryan Cameron - Oakmont C.C.
• Mark Chianese - TaylorMade/Adidas
• Mat Conroy - Penn State G.C.
• Nick Corradetti - Woodmont C.C.
• Zachary Dworak - Glen View Club, University of Dayton
• Brian Hershberger - Medinah C.C.
• Kyle Higgins - Greenwich C.C.
• Andrew Homce - Pacific NW PGA Section
• Robert Howie - Wilmington C.C.
• Tom Hunt - Crooked Stick G.C.
• Dan Joseph - The Country Club
• Kellen Marish - Crooked Stick G.C.
• Dan McLane - Turning Stone Resort
• Matthew Mileski - Plainfield C.C.
• Kyle Miller - Aronimink G.C.
• Naomi Nesenoff - Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association
• Alex Nix - Caves Valley G.C.
• Nick Overholt - Woodmont C.C.
• Sean Pender - East Hampton G.C.
• Brett Rhodes - Philadelphia PGA Section
• Sean Sage - TPC Sawgrass
• Ross Sheflott - Ellington Ridge
• Andrew Silver - Centre Hills G.C.
• Joe Stago - Bayonne G.C.
• Scott Wilkinson - Stoney Creek G.C.

Congratulations Faculty

Linda Caldwell:
• joined Emilie Philips Smith and Danny Perkins on their research project, LEGACY Together: Strengthening After-School Programs, funded by the W.T. Grant Foundation (2009–2012) that includes 72 rural and urban after-school programs in elementary schools of diverse racial-ethnic, socio-economic, and geographic backgrounds and examines effects of the Good Behavior Game, an intervention created to combat disruptive behavior, decrease youth aggression, and improve engagement.
• presented the keynote address at the Big Ten Counseling Centers Conference at The Nittany Lion Inn on February 12. Her presentation, titled “More than Beer in the Pink Fridge: The Importance of Developing Healthy Leisure Pursuits,” discussed how students’ use of leisure time affects their health and well-being.

Eric Handley has accepted of the position of Director for the new Golf Teaching and Research Center, scheduled to open in fall of 2009.

Duarte Morais and Christine Buzinde, with the assistance of Anthony Ogden, have developed a toolkit that will help other faculty plan short-term, faculty-led education abroad programs. Read the full story on Penn State Live.

Careen Yarnal wrote an article for the latest Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) newsletter about the WLI training program and her work with WLI trainees.

Susan Hutchinson, Careen Yarnal, Julie Staffordson ’06g, (, and Deborah Kerstetter wrote “Beyond Fun and Friendship: The Red Hat Society as a Coping Resource for Older Women,” published in Aging and Society, vol. 28, pp. 979–999.

Congratulations Staff

Gennifer Blesh and graduate students Nuno Ribeiro and Jihee Kim representing RPTM took 2nd place at the HHD “Iron Chef” competition on March 28. The event raised over $3,000 for the State College Area Food Bank.

Departmental Happenings

Deb Kerstetter, Tammy Buckley, and Duarte Morais, in collaboration with State College Outdoors (a grassroots non-profit board interested in developing and promoting the area's outdoor recreation resources), submitted an application to host the 2010 International Mountain Biking Association World Summit that would allow RPTM to involve students in real-life event planning and management experiences; create a space for dialogue between industry, user groups, and public agencies; and disseminate ongoing research.

Deb Kerstetter, Duarte Morais, and John Dattilo met and discussed possible collaborations with Koert de Jager, president of International Relations at NHTV University of Applied Sciences and faculty from the Breda University of Applied Sciences of The Netherlands: Marlie Van Dun, international officer, and Wicher Meyer, department head for the Tourism Department.

Alan Graefe spoke at the first Penn State Assessment Conference, held at The Penn Stater on January 8. Dr. Graefe shared the Department's recent experiences with assessment in consonance with the strategic plan. Patty Kleban and Nuno Ribeiro also attended.

On April 19, RPTM students provided games and activities for Operation: Military Kids day in State College. Approximately 50 children of active-duty military personnel attended the program to support military families. RPTM students participating in the event under the supervision of Patty Kleban were David Wells, Will West, Scott Mycek, Michael Caltagirone, Jennifer Ketchum, and Joey Suhey. Visit to learn more about this effort.

Over 150 faculty, alumni, and students attended the 5th Annual Recreation Celebration at the Nittany Lion Inn on March 28. The evening featured music by “18 Strings,” recognition of award and scholarship winners, and a senior send-off including the taking of the first annual senior class picture.

The annual RPTM Mentoring Brunch was held on March 28 at the Nittany Lion Inn. The protégés and mentors for 2009 are:

• Rachael Ference with mentor Michael Baker
• Adam Smetana with mentor Carl Hall
• Jamie Zackavitch with mentor Molly Hetrick
• Tomas Rista with mentor Joseph Hoffman
• Jennifer Skrzypek with mentor Jennifer Howard
• Matt Kurz with mentor Joe Hughes
• Megan Murphy with mentor Carolyn Mathews
• Kyle Svenkeson with mentor Denise St. Pierre
• Rachel Koons with mentor Christopher Tomayko
• Maggie Plecenik with mentor Donald Coine, Jr.
• Nicholas Barrett with mentor Edward Fisher
• Jeffrey Onori with mentor Carl Hall
• Eric Sjoreen with mentor James Hennessey
• Andy Wagaman with mentor Monica Hoffman
• Jonathan Raffel with mentor Philip Smakula
• Kati Witmer with mentor Catherine Star
• Julia Davis with mentor James Voigt

RPTM student, Kellye Sweitzer, organized a screening of the documentary Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life on April 2. The documentary follows the travels of Darius Weems, a teenager with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. After the viewing, Darius and his team met with the audience, which consisted of students and faculty from RPTM and from the University community. Proceeds of the event supported research for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Duarte Morais met with three colleagues from the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), Protugal and with the Prorector of the University of Vigo, Spain regarding the current and potential collaborations between our department and the University of Vigo's School of Business and Tourism.

The Travel and Tourism Graduate Student Organization, an interdisciplinary organization that aggregates graduate students at Penn State with an interest in travel and tourism, has been granted official recognition status by the Office of Student Activities. Travel and Tourism Graduate Student Organization Officers for 2008–2009 are:

• Nuno Ribeiro (RPTM) - President
• Lindsay Usher (RPTM) - Vice-President and Secretary
• Xinyi Lisa Qian (RPTM) - Treasurer
• Andrew Purrington (RPTM) - Webmaster

The following people were guest speakers to PGM students in 2008-09:
• Bill Cioffoletti, PGA, PGA of America Director of Recruiting
• Monica Stratton, Head of Staff Programs - Callaway Golf
• Jon and Adam Boland, Fairway and Greene
• JJ Weaver, Augusta National
• Kevin Weist, Kings Creek
• Lauren Schuyler, Woodmont
• Charles Schuyler, Congressional
• Josh Trimble, Penn State
• Kyle Harris, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, Huntington Valley
• Joe Laurentino, Negotiable Golf
• Mike Duffey, Penn State Kinesiology
• Denny DeMarino, Peter Millar
• Dennis Satyshur, Caves Valley Golf Club

RPTM students, faculty and alumni were widely represented among presenters and speakers at the 2009 Northeast Recreation Research Symposium (NERR) in Bolton Landing, NY on March 29-31, one of the leading conferences in the U.S. that focuses on nature-based recreation and tourism planning and management.

• Founders forum address was given by Deborah Kerstetter
• The following RPTM faculty presented: Christine Buzinde, Garry Chick, Geoffrey Godbey, Alan R. Graefe, Deborah Kerstetter, Duarte Morais, Andrew J. Mowen, Careen M. Yarnal, and Harry Zinn
• The following RPTM graduate students presented: Robert G. Andrejewski, Jaeyeon Choe, Youngjoon Choi, Robert J. Cooper, Elizabeth A. Covelli, Toni Liechty, Andrew Purrington, Nuno F. Ribeiro, Nate Trauntvein, Xiangyou Sharon Shen, Eunice Eunjung Yoo.

RPTM Therapeutic Recreation students participated in "Walk with Me" for Easter Seals of Central Pennsylvania on May 2 and raised approximately $2,000 of the total $14,000 for the local chapter. Students who participated were Jason Forsythe, Eden Gilligan, Melissa Lennox, Stacey Mellen, Rose Skiba, Amanda Williams, Samantha Blazer, and Lisa Phillips, joined by faculty member Patty Kleban.

In the News

The January 2009 issue of Town and Gown includes a column about Penn State’s Inclusive Recreation for Wounded Warriors program, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. Tammy Buckley is co-principal investigator of the program, which trains military recreation managers to help injured personnel take part in recreation programs on military bases. Inclusive Recreation for Wounded Warriors also received local television coverage in March. View footage of the Inclusive Recreation television coverage.

The Centre Daily Times on March 30 featured three photographs of Penn State Pride Day at Mount Nittany Middle School that was planned and organized by RPTM students and included games, crafts, food, and games with participation of members of the Penn State football team.

The Centre Daily Times featured RPTM students in an April 20 article about recent programs for children that were planned, organized, and managed by RPTM students as part of Salute to the Military Child events. Read the full story in the Centre Daily Times.

Kelly Bricker PhD ’98 ( is featured in the cover story of the premiere issue of EcoTourism USA, a new tourism industry trade magazine dedicated to sustainable tourism. The story follows Kelly’s journey from young Penn State doctoral student to president and CEO of the International Ecotourism Society.

Notable Quotes

“I really enjoyed all of my experiences with you, your colleagues and students, as well as your guided campus tour (including having ice cream and visiting an art gallery)! I am very humbled to receive such a wonderful hospitality from you.” – Yoshi Iwasaki, Professor of Therapeutic Recreation, Temple University

“I would be remiss if I did not let you know how helpful your staff has been to my son and our family in general. Thanks so much for treating my son like a person and not just a number. We have been so impressed with Penn State in that regard.” –Larry McKenna, father of Penn State student Shane McKenna

“Before entering into the major, I felt like I didn’t really belong [at Penn State]. Once I started taking classes with you guys, I started to feel like I actually belonged somewhere, and believe me, that feeling is priceless. I am extremely proud to be a Penn State grad but even more so to have graduated from this department.”– Noelle Carlin ‘08

“It’s amazing to be part of the great Penn State tradition of success—a testament to the leadership of the PGMSS staff and students. Don’t pass up any opportunities to better yourselves or improve our program!” – Patrick Gunning ‘08

Did You Know?

The Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management has a group on Facebook. Join the RPTM facebook group. Stay connected with your friends, current students, and fellow alumni. If you have any questions, please contact Tammy Buckley, RPTM Coordinator of Alumni Relations (814-867-1756;


If you have accomplished something you would like to share with the RPTM crew, please notify us. Also, if you are aware of accomplishments by our alumni, students, or staff, please let us know so I can share the news. Thank you!