Researcher to Discuss Benefits of Parks and Recreation Programs

Community lecture examines positive impact on individuals and municipalities

Bob Barcelona

OXFORD, Miss. – A professor from the University of New Hampshire will visit the University of Mississippi on Thursday (Oct. 24) for a public lecture on “The Case for Public Space: Parks, Recreation and the Common Good.”

Bob Barcelona is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Recreation Management Policy at UNH. His talk, sponsored by the UM Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, is set for 7 p.m. in Garland Annex, Room 102.

Students, faculty and staff, and members of the Oxford community are invited to learn more about Barcelona’s research related to parks and recreation management, with a focus on increasing access and reducing barriers to participation in active recreation, and investigating the individual and community benefits of recreation participation.

“Dr. Barcelona worked at Ole Miss in the late 1990s and led the intramural and sport club program during his time,” said Jason Shirkey, associate director of campus recreation. “He was integral in the planning and creation of the Blackburn-McMurray Outdoor Sports Complex. He also enjoyed teaching and officiating many local sports.”

Barcelona left UM in 1999 to pursue his doctorate at Indiana University and built a career on the teacher-scholar-practitioner model, said Kim Beason, professor and coordinator of sport and recreation administration.

“Starting at the University of Mississippi and later working in California, Indiana, South Carolina and, now, New Hampshire and New England, Bob has become a ‘go-to’ for practitioners and scholars alike,” Beason said. “His work in event planning, youth development and campus recreation are all regarded as examples to be emulated.

“His research is widely cited and often serves as the baseline for improving the park, recreation, tourism and sport fields and industries. His presentations are interdisciplinary in focus and inspiring for professionals working with and within communities at all levels.”

Barcelona was recently selected as a fellow in the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, an organization of practitioners and scholars committed to the advancement of the park and recreation field. Membership in the academy is limited to 125 active fellows.

His research is the centerpiece of the annual Kevser Ermin Memorial Lecture, which honors Ermin, who was an avid racer and Ole Miss doctoral student in HESRM at the time of her death in 2011. For more information about the Kevser Ermin Memorial Lecture Series, contact Beason at 662-915-5555 or email

The School of Applied Sciences, home to the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, offers professional preparation programs that integrate academic study, clinical training, creative research, service-learning and community outreach, leading to the development of leaders whose professional endeavors will improve health and well-being.