NRPA and AAPRA Announce Latest Inductee to the Recreation and Park Hall of Fame

Ashburn, VA (August 30, 2023)

Dr. H. Douglas Sessoms nominated to Hall of Fame for his service to parks and recreation

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the nation’s leading advocate for parks and recreation, in partnership with the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), is proud to announce a new inductee to the Recreation and Park Hall of Fame, Dr. H. Douglas “Doug” Sessoms.

For over four decades, Sessoms exemplified extraordinary, lasting, significant and passionate leadership and service to the profession of parks and recreation. As a visionary, Sessoms helped build institutions that define the profession today. His early involvement helped establish the NRPA and AAPRA and facilitated the establishment of the Society of Park and Recreation Educators as a branch of NRPA to build strong connections between universities and practice. Sessoms also helped develop formal accreditation of professional preparation in park and recreation degree programs, which Dr. Tony Mobley identified as “one of the most important developments for colleges and universities at that time” and today.

Wholly embodying NRPA and AAPRA’s missions of public good and quality of life for all people, Sessoms brought awareness to needs and rights for recreation and leisure of under resourced populations to potential recreation service providers. His contributions extended beyond enhancing practice to preserving the profession’s history by establishing the Academy of Leisure Sciences historian position and writing NRPA’s history of professional preparation in parks and recreation. Dean Tice, former Executive Director of NRPA, stated that “few people were better qualified than Doug to detail this history.”

Sessoms impacts exist today through academic accreditation, NRPA and AAPRA’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice, and in the myriads of students, colleagues, practitioners, and public officials who carry on his work as professional leaders, advocates and mentors, today.

The Recreation and Park Hall of Fame was conceived in 1987 by the late Robert W. Crawford and was named in his honor.  The concept was expanded and refined by the Joseph Lee Memorial Library Committee with startup funds provided by a grant from the National Recreation Foundation.  The first induction ceremony took place at NRPA’s National Congress and Exposition in 1988.  Since then, 43 individuals have been added to the prestigious collection of leaders and pioneers in the field of parks and recreation. The Hall of Fame is a fitting memorial to those leaders in the park and recreation movement who have enriched our philosophy and enhanced our environment.  Forty-three individuals have been inducted to the Hall of Fame as of 2018. Sessoms will be the forty-fourth, the first since 2017.

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About the National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit