Member Biography

Dr. Gary Ellis

Gary Ellis is Professor and Bradberry Chair in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications in the Texas A&M University System. He joined the faculty of Texas A&M in 2008 and served two terms as Head of the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences. Dr. Ellis was appointed Bradberry Chair for Youth Development in May of 2017. Dr. Ellis served on the faculty of Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at the University of Utah from 1985 through 2008. His appointment included 12 years as department head (1994-2006). He was assistant professor at Western Kentucky University faculty from 1983-1985.

Dr. Ellis holds a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of North Texas (1983) and masters and baccalaureate degrees in Recreation and Park Administration from the University of Kentucky (1979) and Eastern Kentucky University (1978), respectively. He is a Fellow in the Academy of Leisure Sciences, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, and the World Leisure Organization. Among the many leadership positions he has served are President of the Academy of Leisure Sciences; President of the Society of Park and Recreation Educators; Treasurer of the Academy of Leisure Sciences; Vice-Chair of the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions; and Board member of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. Among his numerous community service roles, are treasurer of Experience Bryan-College Station (the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitor’s Bureau), board member on the City of College Station Mayor’s Council on Physical fitness, and University of Utah representative to the Utah State University Tourism Advisory Board. 

Dr. Ellis is recipient of numerous awards. Prominent among these are the prestigious Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt Research Award, which is the highest recognition for scholarship recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association, the Society of Park and Recreation Educators’ Distinguished Colleague Award (the highest honor of SPRE), and the Utah Parks and Recreation Association Outstanding Professional Award. Dr. Ellis is also recipient of many institutional awards for excellence in research and administration. Among these are outstanding Department Head at Texas A&M and College of Health Outstanding Scholar (University of Utah).

Dr. Ellis’ current research focuses on structuring immediate experiences for youth. Well-structured experiences yield value, loyalty, advocacy, and repeat visitation. In the instance of youth development, quality structured experiences may be transformative, particularly when multiple “dosages” of those experiences occur over time. Dr. Ellis has an extensive history of scientific publications, presentations, workshops, and keynote addresses on immediate experiences. He has generated over four million dollars of funding through contracts, grants, innovative projects, and collaborative initiatives with managers in different sectors of the experience industries.