RPLS announces 2023 Hall of Fame

Awards to be presented during RPLS Day, April 14

March 23, 2023 |

RPLS Day logo with the words Reconnect, Play, Learn, Socialize Minnesota State University, Mankato

The Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services will host the 2nd Annual RPLS Day on Friday, April 14, 2023, in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

RPLS Day celebrates the program's 55th year by recognizing the significant contributions of faculty, alumni and professional partners while providing an opportunity for networking and professional development.

Among the highlights of the day is the RPLS Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Induction to the RPLS Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed by the program and honors significant lifetime contributions by members of the RPLS community in one or more of the following areas: Teaching, Research, Service, Volunteerism, Mentoring, and Community Impact.

2023 RPLS Hall of Fame inductees include:

  • Sandy Breuer, former Washington County (MN) Parks Director
  • James Decker, longtime scholarship provider
  • John Frawley, Minnesota Zoo Director
  • Linda McDonald, Mayo Clinic Health System Volunteer Coordinator
  • Mike Pflaum, former Badlands National Park Superintendent
  • Tom Schmitz, New Ulm Park and Recreation Director

Previous RPLS Hall of Fame Inductees include: Dr. Don Buchanan, Dr. Joanne Decker, Todd Hoffman, James T. Jack, Dr. Joy Joyner, Molly Madden, Dolf Moon, Dr. Ron Nickerson, Dr. Jim Petersen, and Keith Young.

“There are few industries that enhance community quality of life quite like parks and recreation,” said Associate Professor Jonathan Hicks. “For more than five decades, the RPLS Department has been at the forefront of evolution of our field. This event showcases the important work of our students, alumni, and partners and seeks to acknowledge their vital contributions to community and culture.”

The mission of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services at Minnesota State University, Mankato is to develop students who value leisure for all and excel as leaders in the RPLS profession. RPLS is the only nationally accredited program of its kind in Minnesota. During its 55 years of existence, it has fostered creativity and inclusion while placing graduates in careers in all 50 states and numerous countries.