Tony A. Mobley

Dr. Tony A. Mobley retired in 2002 after a Distinguished career as the Dean of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at the Indiana University. He is currently serving as the Executive Director of the National Recreation Foundation. Mobley retired with the distinction of having served one of the longest tenures of any school dean in the history of Indiana University. During his 26 years at the helm of the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Tony helped transform the school from a campus unit of fewer than 1,000 students to a school that ranks today as the fourth-largest academic unit on the Bloomington campus. The School of HPPR now has approximately 2,000 student majors, serves more than 12,000 students each year in service and elective courses, and generates over 60,000 credit hours annually. The school provides the recreational sports program for the entire campus, in which approximately 27,000 students participate each year. Under Dean Mobley's leadership the school has earned a reputation as the finest of its kind anywhere in the United States. Dean Mobley is himself regarded as the field's premier administrator.  

Fundamental to Mobley's successful leadership was his unique ability to embrace all segments of the academy--from highly accomplished research professors and dynamic classroom instructors to valuable members of the professional and support staff. In Tony's mind, all people are important, and his daily administrative style has reflected that attitude. Tony's genuineness is what made him special to all the people who worked with him.

Tony Mobley's life began on May 19, 1938, in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. The first of two sons born to Cecil and Beatrice Mobley, he spent much of his childhood as a helper on the family farm before moving into town with his family at about age twelve. Like many others in his generation, he aspired to reach new levels, both vocationally and intellectually. After attending the public schools in Harrodsburg, Tony entered Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, in the fall of 1956. Over the next four years he completed course work leading to a degree in physics and physical education, graduating cum laude in 1960. In 1961, Tony wed Betty Weaver.  

Shortly after his wedding, Tony matriculated in the master's program in recreation and park administration at Indiana University, where he completed the degree in 1962. One year later he completed another master's degree, in religious education at Southern Seminary in Louisville. From 1963 to 1965, Tony completed course work leading to the doctorate in recreation and park administration at Indiana. During the years of his higher education he held many roles, including camp director at the Lexington YMCA, elementary teacher and coach at Unionville School in Monroe County, aquatics director for the Lexington Department of Parks and Recreation, and recreation leadership positions in Kentucky and North Carolina.

Mobley's first professional appointment following graduate school was as assistant professor of recreation and park administration at Western Illinois University in Macomb in 1965. He was promoted to associate professor in 1969 and served as chairperson of the department from 1968 to 1972. At Western, his leadership was instrumental in transforming the department's offering from just two courses to a full curriculum up through the master's degree, with 240 students and 10 faculty members. In 1972, he departed Western to become chairperson of the Department of Recreation and Parks at Pennsylvania State University. Promoted to full professor in 1975, he oversaw at Penn State a program with approximately 850 undergraduate and graduate students, and 26 full-time and 8 part-time faculty members.

While at Penn State and Western Illinois, Tony began what would later become an extensive research portfolio at Indiana. In addition to publishing over sixty research articles, he has delivered over seventy-five professional and scholarly presentations, including the keynote address at Indiana University's December 2001 Commencement ceremony.

Tony Mobley's professional career at Indiana University began at the time of our nation's bicentennial in July of 1976. Appointed as the fifth dean of the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, he took charge at age thirty-eight of the nation's oldest school of its kind and it most prestigious. Today, the School of HPER is consistently ranked in the top tier of similar schools nationwide.

During his career, Tony has served in numerous professional association leadership capacities. These include presidencies of the National Recreation and Park Association, the Society of Park and Recreation Educators, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, and the Association for Research, Administration, Professional Councils and Societies of the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Tony was also instrumental in the establishment of the National Institute for Fitness and Sport, located in Indianapolis.

Tony has received an array of awards and recognitions including, among many others, the National Distinguished Professional Award from NRPA, the Distinguished Fellow Award from SPRE, the R. Tait McKenzie Award from AAHPERD, and the Honor Award and designation as Nash Scholar Lecturer form the American Association of Leisure and Recreation. He was presented with the prestigious Cornelius Pugsley Award in 2006. Tony is also a Kentucky Colonel and a Sagamore of the Wabash. He has held memberships in numerous professional organizations and has served on the boards of local and regional organizations, including the Monroe County YMCA and the Monroe County United Way.

Abstracted from comments prepared by: David M Skirvin , Indiana University