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George Butler Lecture

The George Butler Lecture is presented at the opening session of the NRPA Research Sessions of the annual National Recreation and Park Association Congress.  It is sponsored by the Academy of Leisure Sciences, and named after a Founding Member of the Academy, GEORGE D. BUTLER (1894-1985).

George Butler's legacy is shared by the parks and recreation profession and by the nation's communities, families, and particularly children and youth. He was one of the first to recognize the importance of parks and recreation to human development. The open space standards he developed in the 1930s guide students, educators, and administrators to this day. Among his six books are Playgrounds: Their Administration and Operation and Recreation Areas: Their Design and Equipment. His book, Introduction to Community Recreation, challenged governments to accept responsibility for public provision of park and recreation facilities and services. Today's park and recreation systems testify to his pioneering wisdom and energy. George Butler was Director of Research for the National Recreation Association (now NRPA) for 43 years (1919-1962), and one of the first and most persistent proponents of research in our field. Working with numerous government agencies, he conducted scores of community recreation surveys as well as a series of nationwide studies of municipal park and recreation resources. We are his grateful beneficiaries.  For further detail about George Butler’s life and legacy, see the text of Daniel Dustin’s presentation at the first Butler Lecture in 2004.

Click on the years below to download the selected years paper.  Documents are in MS Word or PDF format.

2016 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speakers: Myron Floyd, Professor and Chair, Department of Parks, Recreation, and  Tourism Management, North Carolina State University; Monika Stodalska, Professor, Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Title: Race, ethnicity, and immigration in the changing society: Assessing contributions of scholarship to leisure theory and practice.

2015 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speaker: Peggy O’Dell, Deputy Director of Operations, National Park Service
Title: Redefining the National Park Service Role in Urban Areas: Bringing the Parks to the People

2014 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speaker: Dr. Troy Glover, Director, Healthy Communities Research Network Professor, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo
Title: Leisure Research for Social Impact

2013 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speaker: Dr. Vivian Tseng, Vice President, Program, at the William T. Grant Foundation
Title: Forging Common Ground between Research, Policy, and Practice

2012 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speaker: Robert Garcia, Founding Director and Counsel, The City Project
Title: Social Justice & Leisure: The Usefulness of Leisure Research

2011 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speakers: Galit Nimrod, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Isreal and Hanna Adoni, Herzlia Interdiciplinary Center, Isreal
Title: Conceptualizing E-leisure

2010 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speaker: J. Robert Rossman, Texas A & M University
Title: Thoughts on a Crisis or Transition in Parks and Recreation

2008 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speaker: Mary G. McDonald, Miami University, Ohio
Title: Dialogues on Whiteness, Leisure and (Anti)Racism

2007 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speaker: J. Robert Rossman
Title: The Pursuit of Happiness: Programming in the Experience Economy of the 21st Century

2006 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speaker: James F. Murphy, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, San Francisco State University
Title: With Flourish, Humility and Grace: The Contributions of David E. Gray to the Park and Recreation Movement

2005 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speaker: David M. Buchner, Chief, Physical Activity and Health Branch, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Title: Taking Steps Toward Transdisciplinary Research: How Public Heath Priorities Could Influence Leisure Research on Community-Level Approaches to Promoting Healthy, Active Lifestyles

2004 George Butler Lecture
Featured Speaker: Daniel L. Dustin, Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Florida International University
Title: Making Pictures Out of Clouds: Lessons from the Life and Times of George D. Butler

Donate to the Butler Lecture Fund

Visit our donations page to donate to the Butler Lecture Fund as well as the Future Scholars Program.