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Vol. 19, No. 2

Department of Kinesiology, San José State University - KIN Student Major Newsletter

December 2006


Did you know that next year will be San José State University’s sesquicentennial (150th)? Here’s a brief department history, in reverse. How much of this can our readers remember person- ally? In 2004, we changed our department’s name from Human Performance and the most recent additions to the department were Sport Management in 1991 and Athletic Training in1980. In 1978 we had changed our name from the Department of Physical Education, which was a brief interlude following the separate departments of Physical Education for Women, and Physical Education for Men that had existed since 1927. If you ever wondered about the geography of YUH and SPX, it may make more sense if you know that the west end was originally the men’s building (complete with pool, now dis- used), and the east end was originally the women’s building. You can still just see where the old name used to be if you look very closely outside the doors into the courtyard.

non-teaching concentrations, in science, dance, sport, or humanities.

In the 1920s, the university rejected a complete move to south campus, so as to support the local merchants. The land at South Campus cost $25,000. There was a rise in enrollment following World War I (and II) but most of the students were women, so the numbers were not greatly affected. Numbers were much more affected by the 1917/18 influenza pandemic which gave rise to concern about student health and to our first college physical education requirement. In 1901, Swedish Ling gymnastics was popular, beating out the more stunt-oriented German gymnastics. Women’s sports from England (such as field hockey) became popular alongside those from the US (such as basketball). For the men, football and baseball were popular but there was often a problem finding enough men for either team, since women outnumbered men by about 10 to 1.

Briefly, there was a separate Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, with its own AD, parallel to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for Men. Before that, Men’s Athletics was housed within Men’s Physical Education, and Women’s Athletics (in a somewhat less competitive format known as the Women’s/Girls’ Athletics Association) was within Women’s Physical Education. If you go back to the 1920s and 1930s, women’s sports was sometimes conducted via tele- graphic meets where, for example, San Jose State College (as it was in those days) might have its women swim in the Women’s Pool at, say, 3 PM, while at the same time, another college’s women swimmers were racing at their own pool. Only later, when times were telegraphed, did the competitors know who won. This was designed to keep the women’s sports less highly competitive because such competition was thought to be both unladylike and unhealthy for women.

Our department also gave rise to the separate Dance Department in 1974, because their goals were more perfor- mance-oriented than were ours, and to the Recreation Department in 1957 because it was less concerned with the physical education perspective. Also in the 1950s, we hired our first professor with a PhD, Dr. William F. Gustafson, who still visits the department from time to time.

Only in 1871 had the State Normal School (as it was then) moved to San Jose from San Francisco because the people were “intelligent, hospitable and moral” according to the cata- logue. And so we get back to 1862, when a lady named Adele Parot offered the first classes in Physical Culture. She had been trained at the only US-based institution where such teachers were educated, the Dio Lewis Normal School in Massachusetts. That she made it from Massachusetts to California, before there was a transcontinental railroad, and before the telegraph, is little short of miraculous but from her small beginning came the first state physical education require- ment anywhere in the US, in California in 1866, and from that, eventually, came you!

Look out for the many historical events in the spring and fall of 2007, commemorating the university’s founding. This will be a very special year to be associated with San José State University and I hope you will take part in some events and thus be part of the unbroken chain. Check out http://www.sjsu. edu/150TH/events.html for more information.

Shirley H.M. Reekie, Chair

All of our faculty until quite recently had their professional preparation in Physical Education teaching with perhaps a spe- cialization in their area of expertise, be it measurement, philos- ophy, or exercise physiology. Indeed, it was only in the 1930s that SJSC offered its first non-teaching degree in any subject. At that time, enrollment was 2,700, the population of the City of San Jose was 80,000, and fees were $9 per quarter. By com- parison, today the enrollment is approximately 30,000; the city’s population is over 1 million, and fees are $1650 per semester. It wasn’t until 1968 that Physical Education offered

Upcoming event! AEROBICTHON 2006

An aerobic event filled with FUN, a way to reduce STRESS, and condition the BODY as you enjoy HI/LO AEROBICS, KICKBOXING, CARDIO HIP HOP, LATIN AEROBICS, and more. Fabulous instructors, great entertainment, and refreshments. Come and participate in these different styles of aerobics. Friday, Dec.1, 2006, 4:00 to 6:00pm, SPX-C 44B (gym). Admission: $5 . Contact Ms. Carol Sullivan for more information.

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