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Department of Kinesiology

Department of Kinesiology

Kinesiology History

orginal imc building


The following chapters are reprinted from 100 Years of Kinesiology: History, Research, and Reflections. (1999). John L. Haubenstricker and Deborah L. Feltz (Eds.). Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

From Physical Culture to Kinesiology

The title of the Department of Kinesiology has changed several times over the years, reflecting changes in the department mission as well as societal trends.

  • Department of Physical Culture and Athletics (1899-1916)
  • Department of Physical Training (1916-1921)
  • Department of Physical Education (1921-1944)
  • Department of Physical Education, Health, and Recreation (1944-1954)
  • Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (1954-1981)
  • Department of Health and Physical Education (1981-1985)
  • School of Health Education, Counseling Psychology, and Human Performance (1985-1990)
  • Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science (1990-1997)
  • Department of Kinesiology (1997-present)

Some Firsts in KIN History

  • 1898 – Physical culture classes required of women
  • 1899 – Department of Physical Culture established
  • 1918 – New gymnasium (now IM Sports Circle) dedicated on May 22
  • 1918 – Women move from Women’s Building (Morrill Hall) to new gymnasium
  • 1919 – Physical training classes required of all students
  • 1921 – Summer courses in physical education offered for school teachers
  • 1921 – Physical training classes required of freshmen and sophomores
  • 1923 – Two-year physical education program for upper classmen initiated
  • 1923 – Women’s Physical Education Department created
  • 1927 – Four-year program in physical education and athletic coaching for men initiated
  • 1929 – First graduate of four-year undergraduate program – Harry A. Kurrle
  • 1929 – Four-year program in physical education for women initiated
  • 1932 – Separate annual reports filed by men’s and women’s departments
  • 1932 – Physical education majors club organized
  • 1940 – Jenison Gymnasium and Fieldhouse completed
  • 1945 – First graduate courses offered
  • 1946 – First master’s degree Plan B graduate – Roy Wayne Burkhart
  • 1950 – First master’s degree Plan A graduates – Buford L. Beck and Robert R. Stoppert
  • 1959 – First doctoral degree graduate – Aix Barnard Harrison

Centennial Celebration 1899-1999

The Department of Kinesiology celebrated its centennial year in 1999 with two scholarly symposia, Reflections on Research in Kinesiology at MSU and Youth Sports Into the 21st Century. We honored four outstanding alumni: Dr. V. Reggie Edgerton (Ph.D. ’68), Dr. Richard Nelson (Ph.D. ’60), Dr. Beverly Ulrich (Ph.D. ’84), and Dr. Maureen Weiss (Ph.D. ’81). Other events included publication of 100 Years of Kinesiology: History, Research, and Reflections, a homecoming celebration, and commemorative pins for centennial year KIN graduates.

Gymnasium Building – Dedicated May 22, 1918

orginal imc building

Historical Account of Kinesiology Facilities

The following description of the Gymnasium Building was published in the Michigan State College Catalog from 1929-1930.

The Gymnasium, completed in the spring of 1918 at a cost of $250,000, is a substantial brick and stone building and is splendidly planned to care for the physical, recreative and athletic activities of the college. The second and third floors of the building are given over to the gymnasium room. This room is 165×72 feet and is fitted with all the latest apparatus, such as swinging and flying rings, horizontal and parallel bars, ropes, ladders, bucks, leather horses, etc. It also contains a cork surface running track 100 yards to the lap. The first floor contains the offices of the staff, the examination room, varsity club room, lecture room, rooms for boxing, fencing, and wrestling, and two service suites, one for the home athletic team and one for the visiting teams. The suites are fully equipped with lockers, drying rooms, training room, dressing and bathing facilities. The basement contains the minor sport and freshman locker rooms, stock room, 1,800 steel lockers of latest design, a battery of 24 showers, and ample service and dressing rooms. The gymnasium store is located in the basement where athletic supplies may be purchased.

The west wing extending from the main building houses the women’s department, and the natatorium, 90×30 feet, 10 feet deep at one end and three feet six inches deep at the other. This room is two stories high and is finished entirely in white, the pool and floors being made of white tile. A balcony surrounds the pool for the use of spectators. Convenient lounging, dressing, and service rooms adjoin the pool. The second floor of the west wing contains hand ball courts, dancing studio and room for corrective work for girls, also offices.

The stadium was started on June first, 1923, and although not entirely completed, was ready for the first game in the fall of 1923. The plans were drawn with the future in view, and later the remainder of the horseshoe will be built. The present structure costing $160,000, consists of twelve sections, six on a side, made of solid reinforced concrete. Each side is 336 feet long by 75 feet deep and has 34 rows of seats of 36 seats to the row. The top row is 40 feet from the ground. The seating capacity is about 15,000. A one-quarter mile track with a straight-away twenty-four feet wide and curves eighteen feet wide, surround the gridiron. The completed stadium will be one of the best equipped in the United States. The baseball field which is separate from the stadium is provided with a grandstand and ample bleachers.

The old Armory 90×60 feet, now known as the gymnasium annex, has been used as an auxiliary gymnasium since the fall of 1927. It contains basket ball floors, four handball courts, and the golf driving net. The Assembly room in Demonstration Hall, 140×60 feet provides excellent space for Freshman basket ball practice and the holding of Intramural sports. During December 1929, a portable basket ball floor, 120×60 feet was built on the dirt floor of Demonstration Hall, which measures 280×130 feet. The seating capacity is over 6,000. The ice hockey rink 250×100 feet is located just to the east of Demonstration Hall. It is available for the use of the general student body each evening.

In addition to the stadium the Physical Education Department has twenty-seven acres of additional land, part of which is devoted to baseball diamonds, football fields, hockey and soccer fields, tennis courts, and a one-quarter mile cinder track with a two-twenty straightaway.

The Gymnasium Building is now known as the Intramural Sports Circle Building. This illustration and set of floor plans show the building before the “new” swimming pool addition on the Red Cedar River side of the building and before the office and gymnasium addition on the Beal Garden side of the building.

First Floor of Gymnasium Building

Rooms on bottom of diagram from left to right:

  • Lecture Room – currently Classroom 137
  • Physical Education Director’s and Assistant Director’s Office – currently Offices 138 and 140 (faculty offices)
  • Entry Vestibule
  • Waiting Room – currently Office 101
  • Physical Examination Room – currently Intramural Sports Office
  • Physical Examiner’s Office – currently Intramural Sports Office
  • Wrestling and Fencing Room – currently Office 105 (faculty offices)
  • Boxing Room – currently Classroom 106
  • Swimming Pool showers, toilet, and rest room – currently Exercise Physiology Offices

Rooms on top of diagram from left to right:

  • Home Team Room, showers, toilets, etc. – currently Intramural Sports Equipment Room and Office, and Women’s Rest Room
  • Corridor
  • Visiting Team Room, showers, toilets, etc. – currently Intramural Sports Weight Room and Men’s Rest Room
  • Swimming Pool (90 ft x 30 ft) – not currently in use

Second Floor of Gymnasium Building

Rooms on bottom of diagram from left to right:

  • Multi-purpose Gymnasium and Running Track (1/16- mile) – currently Gym 216
  • Varsity Room – currently Seminar Room 217
  • Band Room – currently Dance Studio 218

Rooms on top of diagram from left to right:

  • Multi-purpose Gymnasium and Running Track (1/16- mile) – currently Gym 216
  • Sick Room – currently a hallway
  • Swimming Pool (upper level/balcony) – not currently in use

Basement of Gymnasium Building

Rooms on bottom of diagram from left to right:

  • Janitor’s Room – currently Office 38 (graduate student office)
  • Store Room – currently Office 39 (graduate student office)
  • Trophy Room – currently Office 40 (faculty office)
  • Linen Room and Check Room – currently a small lounge and kitchenette
  • Men’s Locker Room – the area nearest to West Circle Drive has been divided into a Seminar Room (Room 43) and an office for graduate assistants. Toward the middle of the locker room, a corridor now connects the east and west ends of the building.
  • Staircase
  • Instructor’s Room – currently a Secretarial Office
  • Women’s Locker Room, Apparatus Room, and Toilet – currently occupied by the Human Energy Research Laboratory

Rooms on top of diagram from left to right:

  • Repair Room – currently Computer Laboratory and a corridor
  • Fan Room – currently a mechanical room
  • Corridor – removed in subsequent building renovations
  • Men’s Locker Room, toilets, showers, etc. – the area closest to the Red Cedar River is now occupied by a smaller locker room and an east-west corridor adjacent to the new addition.
  • Toilet – now a storage room
  • Swimming Pool, flanked by women’s showers and dressing area – swimming pool area not currently in use, women’s showers and dressing area now part of Human Energy Research Laboratory