Press Release


San Diego State Emeritus Professor to Receive Highest Award from SHAPE America

RESTON, VA, February 19, 2018 —Thomas L. McKenzie, emeritus professor of exercise and nutritional sciences, San Diego State University, will receive the highest award given by SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators at its 133rd National Convention & Expo in Nashville on Friday, March 23. Given in recognition of long and distinguished service to one or more of the professions, the Luther Halsey Gulick Medal, designed by sculptor R. Tait McKenzie, will be presented to Dr. McKenzie at the Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday evening.

“The Gulick Award honors an individual who exemplifies the highest standards in accomplishment, innovation, and leadership,” says SHAPE America President Fran Cleland of West Chester University.  “Thom McKenzie is one of the most sought-after experts in physical education and physical activity research. His work is synonymous with cutting edge research aimed at assessing physical activity levels and in the promotion of physical activity in children and youth through data-driven physical education and recreation programming.”

Others to be honored at the Hall of Fame Banquet will be National Physical Education Teachers of the Year for elementary, middle and high school and National Teachers of the Year for adapted physical education, dance and health. Joan Cronan, University of Tennessee athletic director emeritus, will be inducted into the SHAPE America Hall of Fame. The banquet is sponsored by Sportime, featuring SPARK, a category of School Specialty, Inc., and Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

A former school physical education and health teacher, coach and administrator, McKenzie continues to serve as core investigator in the Institute for Behavioral and Community Health (IBAC) at San Diego State University. Over the course of his long-career he has worked extensively with diverse populations ranging from students in public schools to obese youngsters in residential camping programs and to US Olympic athletes. He has written or co-written more than 250 publications, presented his work at more than 500 international, national and state conferences, and co-founded SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids), a nationally recognized research-based physical education and physical activity program designed to improve the health of youth in grades PreK-12.

McKenzie is a fellow of four professional organizations: SHAPE America Research (#88); American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM); National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK #376); and the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals. Among his other honors, he received the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (RQES) Lecture Award (2016), was inducted into the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) Hall of Fame in 2012, the Weiss Lecturer Award (2004) and AAHPERD Alliance Scholar Award in 2002.

In addition, McKenzie has received the prestigious International Olympic Committee President’s Prize (AIESEP, 2003), the Public Service Award from the International Society of Behavior Analysis (2009), an Honorary doctorate of Sport and Health Sciences (University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, 2013), and both the Lifetime Achievement (2012) and Science Board Honor Awards (2014) from the U.S. President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

In 1976 he received his Ph.D. in physical education teacher education and applied behavior analysis from The Ohio State University.

For more information about the SHAPE America National Convention & Expo, visit and follow #SHAPENashville.


About SHAPE America
SHAPE America - Society of Health and Physical Educators is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives. As the nation's largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let's Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs.

Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our resources provide the leadership, professional development and advocacy that support health and physical educators at every level - from preschool to university graduate programs. For more information, visit

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