2019 Hall of Excellence Inductees Being Honored

Four graduates and a former faculty member representing kinesiology, health and human services programs at the University of Northern Iowa will be inducted into the school's Elinor A. Crawford and William R. Thrall Hall of Excellence at a luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 5, in the UNI Commons Ballroom.

This is the 16th annual ceremony, with more than 130 current inductees with the addition of this year's class. The following alumni will be inducted this year: 

Leland J. Wise Jr.  (B.A. ‘67, M.A.,’70); served as superintendent for 21 years in districts in Iowa, Ohio and Virginia after beginning his career teaching physical education and coaching at Decorah High School. He previously served on the Iowa High School Athletic Association Board of Control and as a State High School and NCAA National Wrestling Tournament official. 

Emily Jones (B.A. ‘04, M.A. ‘06); a physical education teacher education professor at the University of West Virginia who received the BigXII Faculty Research Award in 2015 and the SHAPE American Mabel Lee Award in 2016-17. She has authored or co-authored more than 30 national or international publications and presented at national and international conferences. 

Rochel Rittgers’(B.A. ‘81); honored in 2013 as the most distinguished athletic trainer by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. A member of the Illinois Trainers Association Hall of Fame, she served as medical director for Division III National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) wrestling and cross country championships. She is currently senior minister of the Infinite Living Holistic Health and Spirituality Center, Bettendorf, Iowa. 

Jianyu E. Wang, (M.A. ‘00); a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University-Bakersfield, where his primary focus is on physical education teacher education. He has received numerous honors in research and teaching from positions in CSU-B and the Guangzhou Institute of Physical Education and the Guangdong Higher Education Department. 

Christopher Edginton received an honorary award in recognition of his efforts as director of the School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services from 1991-2010 and his leadership with William Thrall and Carol Bean in guiding the Hall of Excellence ceremonies for 10 years. Edginton recently retired from UNI. 

Inductees are chosen using the following criteria: demonstrated mastery of their profession; significant contributions to their profession; demonstrated scholarly activity through publications and presentations related to their profession; positions held in professional organizations; and completion of at least 10 years of service to their profession.

UNI has one of the oldest health, physical education and leisure services programs in the United States, going back to the Department of Physical Culture which was established in 1896. Coursework in physical education dates back to 1878 at what was then known as the Iowa State Normal School.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the ceremony on Saturday, contact Kelli McCarthy at 319-273-5141 or kelli.mccarthy@uni.edu