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Firsts: Milestones in PRTM

In the past 50 years of Clemson PRTM, traditions have formed, curriculums have been enhanced, friendships have been made, goals have been met and boundaries have been exceeded. Initially known as the Clemson University Department of Recreation and Parks Administration (RPA), the current Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management honors its beginnings by remembering the monumental "firsts" that led it to its 50th anniversary.


Photo fromFemales in RPA

An excerpt from The Tiger published on November 7, 1969, titled "Clemson Coeds Retain Femininity" features women in the spotlight and details their perspectives on being some of the first women to enter the RPA program at Clemson University. 

In the article mentioned above, several female students spoke out regarding how they were adapting to life in RPA.

Diane Tuttle:

"Diane Tuttle, whose father is a political science professor at Clemson, best sums up the girls' attitude about the required campcraft and hiking. 'For people who are specializing in recreation, it's good to have some experience in all areas of recreation activities.'

Patti McCuen:

"One of the best parts about the RPA curriculum, says Miss [Patti] McCuen, is that a student really gets to know the people in her classes because it's not strictly a classroom lecture situation. Friendships with classmates are made easily when you have the opportunity to go camping with them and compete with them in sports labs."

In the perspectives from the students above, both writers referenced "people" rather than "he" or "she" in their explanations of why RPA was the major for them. This speaks volumes of the level of acceptance they felt as females in a male dominated major. 

At the time of the article, the RPA department was the fourth largest in terms of undergraduate enrollment despite its recent emergence as one of Clemson's newest academic departments, with twenty-two of the 310 students being females. Three years after it became a major department, sixty students - including four females - went on to graduate with their bachelor's degrees in RPA. 


Program Credo

Pictured below is one of the first known credos used to motivate and inspire the beginnings of the RPA department. The statement, retrieved from the original RPA scrapbook from 1971 to 1972, embodies the foundations of the PRTM department's growth and represents the values and ideas that drive the program forward. 

PRTM CredoThe credo reads:

" I Believe –

THAT RECREATION is of, and for, all the people; and that therefore the purpose of my profession should be to administer Recreation as a public trust, so as to multiply opportunities for happiness regardless of age, race, sex, creed, or condition in life.

THAT FAIR PLAY is the keynote of my profession, and that by my example I should strive to instill its spirit in those under my supervision; that the spirit will be evidenced in my respect for self, loyalty to employer, allegiance to governing authority, regard for the general public, comradeship with the many who work in the recreation movement, and in my conception of society.

THAT THROUGH the enrichment of my own life, I should commit myself to the pursuit of happiness, well-being and self-expression for other people, to the end that all children may have a chance to grow, to stay normal, and to find life both good and satisfying.

THAT BECAUSE of the recreation movement, more men have a song in their hearts and sing it out, sense more of the drama of the world, see beauty more clearly in all about them, feel the poetry of the world, like to be among the trees, find joy in watching the plants grow, have pride in their bodies, want to be more skillful in the use of their hands and all their powers, are happy to use their minds for just the fun of it, enjoy people more, find satisfaction in serving their neighborhoods and their cities.

THAT I SHOULD be proud to be a recreation worker, proud of the growth the profession has made in adding to life’s dimensions, proud of its humility and its readiness to criticize itself, proud that it recognizes its own shortcomings and desires to improve its standards of work.

THAT BECAUSE of my pride in my profession I should strive, by my life and work, to keep the standards its great leaders before me have set."


A Sign of The Times

When the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management first began in 1966 under the title of Recreation Park Administration (RPA), Clemson was still developing as a University as well. The partnership that the University and the PRTM program has maintained over the years is a truly special one. The image below shows what the times were like at Clemson during the emergence of the RPA department in terms of cost of living, student body size and community details. 

Cost of Living

Photo Sources: RPA Scrapbook, 1969-1971; The Tiger Newspaper Publication, 1969


First Program Emblem

First Program PRA PRTM Emblem First dubbed the Department of Recreation and Park Administration, the program's first noted emblem came in the form of the logo for the RPA Club, published in the 1969-1971 RPA Scrapbook and pictured here. This hand drawn illustration was done to show what the RPA Club felt was best representative of their field of study and future careers.

Photo Sources: RPA Scrapbook, 1969-1971; The Tiger Newspaper Publication, 1969