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Professor emeritus Don Hellison passes away





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Wednesday we received word that Don Hellison, KN professor emeritus and former faculty member of the UIC College of Education, has passed away.

Don joined the [then] College of Health, Physical Education and Recreation in the late 1980’s teaching physical education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  The primary focus of Don’s work was improving the lives of at-risk youth through sport and physical activity – using team and individual sports to teach young people to have respect for themselves and for each other.  Don’s books Youth Development and Physical Activity: Linking Universities and Communities and Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility through Physical Activity are still considered must-reads for anyone in the area of urban education.

Dr. Hellison received numerous awards throughout his career, the highest perhaps being the 1995 IOC President’s Prize for significant scholarly contributions to physical education and sports pedagogy.

Don is remembered by his colleagues –

On a professional level, Don achieved the ideal of excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship-based service better than anyone I encountered during my 31 years at UIC. He was the gold standard for faculty. More personally, he possessed a unique combination of compassion, insight, integrity and humor that simply made it a joy to share his company.  He will be missed, by scores of friends and colleagues, more than I can express. – Chuck Walter

Don’s work has international impact in Spain, Greece and the UK in physical education and sport and his students and collaborators have used his work to enhance the experience of thousands of children. He also helped establish a Teaching Personal  and Social Responsibility conference at UIC and helped set up the UIC College of Education’s Youth Development master’s degree.  I was his last teaching assistant. He was my master’s thesis chair and sat on my PhD committee. I owe him a debt of gratitude. – John Coumbe-Lilley

Don and his wife lived in Canton, Ohio, but a local memorial service is also being planned.  Information will be shared when it becomes available.

For more information on Don’s life and work, please read this article, published by a colleague late last year:

On a personal note, Don was instrumental in bringing me back to UIC in the mid-90’s.  He had just assumed the editorship of the journal Quest (NAKPEHE) and needed someone to coordinate the submission and review process.  He was one of the most dedicated professionals I have had the privilege of knowing, and he will be sorely missed.

Randy Stone