Applied Health Sciences to ring in 50th year on campus

By Michael Logli

Homecoming Week at the University is traditionally a time for football games and bar crawls. This year, it is also the 50th anniversary of the College of Applied Health Sciences. Founded by the Board of Trustees in 1957 as the College of Physical Education, its name was changed in 1975 to the College of Applied Life Studies. In 2006, the name was changed again to its current form.

Each name change reflects a change in the focus of the college, said Sara Kelley, assistant dean of development and alumni relations for AHS. The weekend will celebrate these changes and achievements of the college, she added.

“We changed our name to reflect the needs of society,” she said. “We want to live a higher quality of life.”

The anniversary celebration begins at noon on Friday in 112 Huff Hall. The Alumni Speaker Series will be the first installment of the celebration. The 2007 winners of the AHS Distinguished Alumni Award will talk about their success within their respective fields and offer advice to students during the series.

Many of the invited alumni have had impressive careers, Kelley said. One of these is Ann Cody, director of public policy at BlazeSports America in Washington D.C., a company that provides athletic competition and training to disabled people. Cody, a three-time Paralympian, advocates for policies that improve the lives of people with disabilities, Kelley said.

Later in the evening, a reception and gala event will be held in the Illini Union. The event will showcase a presentation of the Harold Scharper Awards, a campuswide award sponsored by the University that recognizes outstanding service and achievement.

On Saturday the college will hold a pregame event before the Fighting Illini battle Ball State University, and after the game it will hold campus tours and parties in various places on campus. A majority of Saturday and Sunday, however, will be dedicated to the wheelchair basketball tournament in the Huff Hall Gymnasium.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on both days, this event will feature 10 total male and female teams from around the state. Two teams are from the University and one is from Champaign. Spectators have increased steadily over the past few years and Maureen Gilbert, coordinator of the office of campus life and overseer of the wheelchair athletics program, said she believes that many people will come to enjoy the event this year.

“It’s great for the players,” she said. “(Wheelchair basketball) is probably the second reason they come here behind academics.”