Indiana State University Newsroom

Awards, three-day power outage highlight professor's trip

March 21, 2012

During more than 40 years in higher education, Indiana State University faculty member Tom Sawyer has attended dozens of conferences and conventions, but a recent event in Boston may be his most memorable - and not just because he received national recognition.

A March 13 fire at an electrical transformer in the city's Back Bay area led to a widespread power outage. That meant no electricity - and therefore no hot water, heat or air conditioning - at the Sheraton Boston hotel where Sawyer was staying. The power outage canceled most of the five-day gathering of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD).

Sawyer took the events in stride.

"My time in Boston was like an old fashion camping trip - light by candles and ice cold baths in the pond," he said. "I was disappointed that the conference was cancelled; but, it gave me ample time to experience a revived Boston. What better place to be, except maybe Dublin, Ireland, on St. Patrick's Day."

Thanks to backup generators at the hotel, the alliance was able to conduct the 127th annual meeting's general session and awards programs March 15 and 16 and Sawyer, professor of kinesiology, recreation and sport, came away with two awards.

The American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAPAR) presented him with a Presidential Citation while the National Council on Facilities and Equipment (CFE) honored him with the CFE Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Presidential Citation recognizes Sawyer's mentoring of AAPAR leadership during the past decade, a period that saw him complete six years of service as the AAHPERD Board of Governors representative for AAPAR. He also served on the AAPAR executive committee and board for the past six years. From 1999 to 2001, he was president of the American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness, which merged with another organization in 2006 to form AAPAR.

The CFE Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Sawyer's service as an author, editor, and organization leader. He served as editor-in-chief and contributor of the ninth through 12th editions of the council's "Facility Planning and Design for Health, Physical Activity, Recreation and Sport" and was recently appointed editor-in-chief and contributor for the 13th edition. The publication is considered the decisive text for planning, designing, constructing, and managing activity based facilities.

Sawyer is also editor and contributor of the first and second editions of the CFE's "Facility Management for Physical Activity, Recreation and Sport." In addition, he is editor of the "Journal of Facility Planning and Development," a new professional Journal that will debut in late 2012. Sawyer also served as chairperson-elect, chairperson, and past chairperson for the CFE from 1992-98.

"I have been fortunate to be recognized for my academic and leadership efforts at ISU, throughout the state, and nationally," Sawyer said. "Every time I receive recognition I reflect on all those people before me who supported me and lead me down the correct paths. The Lifetime Achievement Award from my peers is icing on the cake that has taken 40-plus years to bake. I am humbled by the recognition of my academic achievements and by the recognition of my leadership and mentoring achievements from my younger colleagues."

A faculty member since 1984 in Indiana State's College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services and the former College of Health and Human Performance, Sawyer has frequently been recognized by the university. He received the Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research/Creativity Award in 2010, the Faculty Distinguished Service Award in 1997 and the Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award in 1995.


Contact: Tom Sawyer, professor of kinesiology, recreation and sport, College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services, 812-237-2645 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or


Story Highlights

A fire and resulting three-day-long power outage made for an interesting time in Boston for Tom Sawyer, but the professor of kinesiology, recreation and sport managed to pick up two awards during a recent national convention.

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