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Albert J. Petitpas Has Been Appointed 2008-2009 Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics at Springfield College

July 21, 2008

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., July 21, 2008 – Albert J. Petitpas of Kensington, Conn., has been appointed 2008-2009 distinguished Springfield professor of humanics at Springfield College, in Springfield, Mass., where he is a professor of psychology.

In the one-year appointment, Petitpas will examine the college’s guiding philosophy, called humanics, which emphasizes the education of students in spirit, mind and body for a lifetime of leadership in careers and personal pursuits that serve humanity. He will design and implement a project on the theme of community engagement through building relationships.

Petitpas was chosen for the honor based on his excellence in teaching, scholarly work, and service activities, and for demonstrating the humanics philosophy in his work and life. The college solicited nominations from its faculty, staff and students.

In announcing Petitpas’ appointment, Springfield College Vice President for Academic Affairs Jean A. Wyld said, “As a faculty role model, he is acknowledged as one of our most effective teachers, dedicated to his students’ success both at the college and following their graduation. He has an exceptional reputation on our campus and beyond, having been recognized with many professional honors. He has published more than 100 scholarly articles, and has developed research centers at Springfield College. In the area of service, he excels.”

Wyld cited Petitpas’ most significant contribution as developing the Play It Smart Program, by which student athletes receive academic coaching and positive peer pressure to achieve good grades, become engaged in community service, and pursue higher education. The program has been implemented at inner city schools around the country, serving more than 6,000 student athletes, most of whom went on to college from schools where a majority of students did not pursue higher education.

Petitpas also founded the first of its kind master’s degree program in athletic counseling at Springfield College, where he trained graduate students in strategies to promote the personal, academic, and athletic development of athletes at youth sport, college, Olympic, and professional levels of participation. He also helped develop Springfield College’s academic programs in marriage and family therapy and in student personnel administration.

The first recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Contribution to Professional Practice in Applied Sport Psychology Award, Petitpas has been a member of the Springfield College psychology faculty since 1978, and is the director of the college’s Center for Youth Development and Research. He is currently providing consulting services to The First Tee, National Football Foundation, and the Montreal Alouettes, and has also worked with the United States Olympic Committee, the Ladies Professional Golf Association, National Collegiate Athletic Association, United States Ski Team, the National Basketball Association, and other athletic organizations.

A graduate of Bridgewater State College, Petitpas received his master’s degree at Northeastern University and his doctoral degree at Boston University. He is a licensed psychologist, certified consultant of the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology, and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Registry of Sport Psychology.

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