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Celebrating a legacy

The College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences’ 85th Anniversary is a yearlong festivity celebrating where we came from — and where we’re going.

commencement in the 1960s

Amid constant change and challenges throughout the history of our institution, state and nation, the College’s calling within the fields of physical activity and sport sciences has remained the same — to create and share knowledge that improves lives in West Virginia and around the world. 

This feature touches on just a few of the monumental changes and chapters that have shaped our College into what it is today. From numerous name changes to new, high-tech facilities, we’ve grown since our inception. And we aren’t done yet.

CPASS through the decades

We may have started small in 1928 — with a handful of students housed in Elizabeth Moore Hall — but our footprint has decidedly grown, with 14 degree programs, state-of-the-art facilities and thousands of successful graduates. 

  1. 1928
    eMoore Hall

    The Division of Physical Education was created, and Elizabeth Moore Hall was opened for women’s physical activity classes.

  2. 1929
    Stansbury Hall

    The Field House, also known as Stansbury Hall, was opened, serving as the men’s physical activity site (photo on page 16-17).

  3. 1937

    The School of Physical Education was created and the Master of Science in Physical Education was approved, with Sara Cree being the first graduate.

  4. 1970
    WVU Coliseum         

    The Coliseum opened with a rock concert on September 19, with women’s physical education relocating there from Elizabeth Moore Hall.

  5. 1973

    Separate Physical Education departments for men and women were eliminated.

  6. 2008

    Official renaming to the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences during the fall semester.

  7. 2014
    CPASS building

    The College moved into the new 65,000 square foot Health and Education Building on Evansdale..

  8. 2015

    CPASS established the Office of Student Success, focusing on advising, recruitment and retention.

  9. 2016

    The College received 15 new building and major planned gifts for its portfolio. It also celebrated 18 scholarship endowments.

85 years and counting

We are more than just numbers, but some of our stats are significant — like the more than 1,100 future physical activity and sport sciences professionals currently in our programs or the many graduates who, throughout the years, have attributed what they learned here to their success.

  • +16,530 ft 2

    CPASS is now located in a new 65,000 ft² building, nearly two-thirds larger in size than its original home at Elizabeth Moore Hall, which is 43,470 ft².

  • 6

    The College started as the School of Physical Education and has went through six name changes before becoming the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences today.

  • 4x

    In the College’s first year (1928), there were seven faculty members. Today that number has quadrupled to 34 full- and part-time faculty members.

What our graduates said then:

  • “My memories of the School are the very best of my life. I think the four years I spent at WVU prepared me not only for teaching, but for getting the most out of life. I made many friends among the students and faculty ... their help was invaluable.” 

    Virginia Giltner Colangelo BA, '33
  • “The picture of the faculty in a recent School newsletter (1961) was one of the most beautiful pictures in the world. I had classes under most of those professors. They knew their subject well, but even more impressively they taught us, by word and example, how to live.” 

    Glen Bowman BA, '62

What our graduates say now:

  • “WVU gave me the opportunity to explore my many interests and piece together how they might fit into one cohesive career that I would truly love. It also provided me with excellent mentors ... .” 

    Carrie Rishell Intern, President’s Council for Fitness Sports and Nutrition Sport and Exercise Psychology, ’14
  • “My degrees from this institution gave me the opportunity to spread my wings and realize the dreams I had about my professional career.” 

    Shane Lyons Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President, West Virginia University Sport Management, ’87

Notable Hall of Fame inductees

The first inductees into the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences Hall of Fame were in 1988. Induction honors meritorious service in an academic discipline, coaching profession, athletic administration or athletic training and highlights the accomplishments of our most distinguished alumni.

  • 1988
    Award-winning journalist

    1988 CPASS Hall of Fame Inductee George J. Esper (’53) graduated from WVU with a degree in physical education. He began his career as a journalist writing a column for The Daily Athenaeum. Esper joined the Associated Press (AP) wire service in 1958, working over 30 years with their international press corps covering conflicts around the world, from the war in Vietnam to the Miami race riots to Operation Desert Storm. Esper taught in the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism and received many awards and honors for his influence on and service to journalism. George Esper died in February 2012.

  • 1994
    Pioneer Coach

    Inducted into the CPASS Hall of Fame in 1994, Kittie Blakemore (’61) was the first women’s basketball coach in WVU history. Starting the women’s basketball program in 1973, her career record was 301-214 over 19 seasons, including the 1989 Atlantic 10 tournament championship, the 1992 regular season A-10 title and NCAA berths in 1989 and 1992. Blakemore coached the famous Georgeann Wells, the first American woman to dunk during an NCAA basketball game (cover image). Retiring from coaching, she served as WVU’s assistant athletic director for sports development and senior women’s administrator until she retired in 1997.

  • 2003
    Leaders and benefactors

    Dolores “Dee” Ware (’52) was inducted into the CPASS Hall of Fame in 2003 and as Outstanding Alumna in 2010. Her husband, Al Ware (’50), was named the 2003 Outstanding Alumnus (he was first inducted into the CPASS Hall of Fame in 1999). The Wares and the Ware Family Foundation support WVU and are members of the Woodburn Circle Society, having supported a wide range of programs and initiatives at the University, including the Ware Distinguished Professorship in Physical Education, Ware Student-Athlete Scholarships, the Ware Presidential Scholarship for Monongalia County, Blaney House renovations and the Erickson Alumni Center among others.

  • 2009
    Nasa Chief

    Judith Hayes earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in exercise physiology in 1982 and 1983. Today Hayes is division chief, Biomedical Research and Environmental Sciences Division under the Human Health and Performance Directorate at the NASA Johnson Space Center. She was a member of the CPASS Visiting Committee, served as chair and was a 2004 commencement speaker at WVU.

    She has earned many awards for her work, including the prestigious Silver Snoopy in recognition of her contributions to mission success. Hayes was inducted into the CPASS Hall of Fame in 2009 and selected as CPASS’s Outstanding Alumnus in 2013.

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