Value of play to be topic of 2017 Schmitt Russell Lecture

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — R. Scott Kretchmar, professor emeritus of exercise and sport science at Penn State, will present the 2017 Pauline Schmitt Russell Research Lecture, “Why Useless Play is so Useful,” at 4 p.m. on Nov. 1 at the Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building, on the University Park campus.

The event, sponsored by the College of Health and Human Development, is free and open to the public. A reception will be held at 3:30 p.m., and the public is invited to attend. Kretchmar’s lecture will focus on adult play and its value in health and quality of life.

“Play for children is broadly accepted, while its status for adults is more often contested,” Kretchmar said. “I argue that both the nature of play and its value require cross-disciplinary research. I will propose a ‘systems view of play,’ that is, a holistic account of how play affects everything from our cells to our hopes and dreams.” 

Kretchmar is a leading researcher in philosophy of sport, a discipline he helped found and nurture for nearly five decades.

He has published works in coaching and public school physical education journals on how to “grow good playgrounds,” a concept he first articulated decades ago.

In addition to his nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles, Kretchmar has published seven books and 38 chapters in anthologies.

Kretchmar received his bachelor of arts degree in physical education from Oberlin College, and his doctoral degree from the University of Southern California.

The Schmitt Russell Research Lecture is delivered each year by the most recent recipient of the Pauline Schmitt Russell Distinguished Research Achievement Award, which recognizes the career-long research contributions of a distinguished faculty member whose research has had a profound impact on an identified field of study.

The award was established by Leo P. Russell, a 1941 industrial engineering graduate, to honor his late wife, Pauline Schmitt Russell, who received her home economics degree from Penn State in 1948.

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Last Updated October 12, 2017