Gordon in the News: last updated 03/19/2013

Triple Honors for Recreation and Leisure Studies Program

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2013

Media Relations Contact
Cyndi McMahon
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA—Over the spring recess, the Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association (MRPA) held its annual three-day conference for New England's most esteemed leaders, practitioners and faculty in the field of recreation at the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center. While high attendance is always a guarantee at an annual conference, what wasn't anticipated was the hat trick of honors for the Gordon College community.

Peggy Hothem, professor of recreation and leisure studies, received the Peter O'Brien Humanitarian Award, the MRPA's highest honor. This is the second time Hothem has received the award. This year, the top honor included a special citation for lifetime achievement. Hothem has been an active part of the MRPA (a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, development, and improvement of all recreation and park services for the Commonwealth) since its beginnings over 30 years ago.

In addition, Gordon alum Peter Coleman '03 received the Professional of the Year award for his work in the Lexington (MA) Recreation Department, and Marcos Castellano '13 of Lynn was named the MRPA Student of the Year. "This award is quite competitive," said Hothem who nominated Castellano for the honor. (Nominations pour in across the state from other programs such as Springfield College, Salem State University, Bridgewater State College, and the University of Massachusetts.) "I am confident he will serve the recreation profession well in the future."

Gordon's program, though the smallest as compared to other recreation majors in the state, puts an emphasis on personal instruction with experts in the field and the results are clear. Over the 18 years that the MRPA has given this award, Gordon College students have won the Student of the Year honor 50% of the time, testimony to the quality of Gordon's program. "Gordon has produced the most recipients of the Student of the Year award with 9 folks receiving this award since it was started in 1990," said Bruce M. Doig, chairperson for the awards committee. "Marcos' background and work in recreation so far was very impressive and the Awards Committee felt he was very deserving of the award. He was an excellent example of the fine students that come through Gordon with not only a great understanding of the recreation profession but also have a history of working in the community and giving back to their communities."

Though multi honors in one day are rare at the conference, it wasn't surprising to the awards committee that the cream-of-the-crop this year were from Gordon College. "It is unusual for three award recipients to come from one organization," said Doig, who also serves as director to one of the most beautiful ocean adjacent park and recreation programs in the state. "I think this success is a direct result of the great work Dr. Hothem has done over the past 35 years," said Doig. "She has created a great Recreation and Leisure Studies program. Her active involvement in the MRPA over the years has helped many students network within our industry and not only get valuable internships and training but go on to become outstanding recreation professionals."

Hothem joined the faculty in 1979, and initiated Gordon's first Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in 1990. Her academic interests include studying the philosophical and cultural integration of leisure, work, time, family and quality of life issues. Today, the Recreation and Leisure Studies department has a dynamic internship/cooperative education placement program to help students move from the classroom to the work environment.

For information on the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department at Gordon College, contact Cyndi McMahon, cyndi.mcmahon@gordon.edu, in the Office of College Communications.


Gordon College is one of the nation's premier Christian colleges and located just north of Boston. We offer students extraordinary access to leading-edge opportunities for intellectual, professional, and leadership development to address the increasingly complex challenges of a global society. Gordon stands apart from other outstanding institutions in New England by combining an exceptional education with an informed Christian faith.


Gordon College sweeps awards at annual conference