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Recreation Conference Set for Nov. 7 and 8

Recreation Conference Set for Nov. 7 and 8


Thomas L. Goodale ’61, who has been honored for his work on the environmental impact of recreation and the sustainability of leisure, will deliver the prestigious Metcalf Endowment Lecture at the 69th annual SUNY Cortland Recreation Conference on Thursday, Nov. 7, and Friday, Nov. 8, at SUNY Cortland.

Goodale, who received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the State University of New York at the SUNY Cortland Undergraduate Commencement exercises in 2008, will discuss “Gold in the Vestibule” at 1:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8, in the Corey Union Function Room.

“I will discuss the principle themes of freedom, truth, justice and virtue, all reflecting the life of the founder of SUNY Cortland’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies, Harlan ‘Gold’ Metcalf,” Goodale said of his keynote lecture.

Thomas L. Goodale '61

The talk is free and open to the public.

"The ‘Gold’ Standard” is the theme of the two-day gathering, the nation’s oldest continuous collegiate-sponsored recreation education conference, to be held in Corey Union. The theme asserts that recreation plays an integral role in cultures, communities, families and individual lives and highlights Metcalf, one of the recreation field’s great leaders.

"More than the founder of what is now the Department of Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies at SUNY Cortland, Harlan Goldsbury Metcalf was a gentle man and a model teacher, professional, citizen and servant, according to conference organizers," Goodale said. "On the right side of history from the beginning, the program he founded championed a physical environment not simply sustainable but spiritually uplifting, and a social environment not simply inclusive but embracing."

"Today we must surmount daunting obstacles if we are to regain our footing on the path to who we want to be," said Esther VanGorder, faculty advisor to the students organizing the conference. "Leisure is our point of entry; freedom 'from' as well as freedom 'to' are pre-requisite; knowing what is true is the foundation of it all. Post-millenials must lead the way."

Goodale, a SUNY Cortland Distinguished Alumnus and renowned expert in the field of recreation and leisure studies, is a Cortland native and professor emeritus of health, fitness and recreation resources at George Mason University.

Metcalf was Goodale’s own professor and mentor. Under his guidance, Goodale sought out the professor’s longtime colleague at the University of Illinois, Charles K. Brightbill, considered by many at the time to be the philosophical leader of the recreation field.

There Goodale earned his master’s degree and doctorate in park and recreation administration.

"The ‘Gold’ Standard” is the conference theme.

After earning his doctorate, he taught at SUNY Cortland, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and University of Ottawa in Canada before joining George Mason University in 1988. He retired in 1999.

Notably, Goodale received the 1990 National Literary Award from the National Recreation and Park Association, a recognition reserved for writers who have made the most significant contribution to the park and recreation field’s understanding of innovations, refined philosophic thought, trends and research in parks, recreation, conservation and leisure.

Goodale after his retirement continued to conduct research in his field. He is the author of numerous books, including The Evolution of Leisure: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives, which he co-authored with another SUNY Cortland graduate, Geoffrey Godbey ’64.

Goodale also wrote Recreation and Leisure: Issues in an Era of Change. He is the author of more than 13 published book chapters on the philosophies of leisure, families and leisure, creating a humane environment and developing quality environments.

Goodale has made many presentations in the U.S. and Canada and received grants to support much of his research.

He has served as editor-in-chief of Leisure Sciences, as associate editor of the Journal of Leisure Sciences and as an advisory board member of TV Free America. The recipient of numerous distinguished service awards, he is a fellow and past president of the Academy of Leisure Sciences.

Goodale founded SUNY Cortland’s Metcalf Endowment, which supports the annual Metcalf lecture as well as other academic initiatives for students in the field.

The conference features numerous presentations in the field, an expo and internship fair, a professional networking social, special workshops and training, two days of professional development sessions with catered luncheons, live entertainment and raffles of local goods and services.

Registration is open to the general public. The registration rate for the conference is $50 for students or $110 for professionals. Registration can be handled online at and same-day registrants will be accepted at the door both days.

The Recreation Conference hosts 300 to 400 students and professionals in the fields of recreation, parks, and leisure studies from all over New York state, the greater New England area and beyond.

Presented by the College’s Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department and students in its Special Events Planning class, the conference in the College’s Corey Union receives additional support for the Metcalf Keynote Address from the Metcalf Endowment Fund. Sponsors also include the Recreation Association of SUNY Cortland, Campus Artist and Lecture Series, the New York State Recreation and Parks Society, the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association, Metro Mattress, Playground Medic, Frosted Bakery and Vision 2020.

For additional information and to register for the conference, visit or call 607-753-4939 or email