The collection includes correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, brochures, and flyers related to the creation of the Parks, Recreation, and Conservation Program at East Carolina University in the late 1960s and the work of Ralph H. Steele while he was faculty member at ECU.
Ralph H. Steele was born May 20, 1929 in Hamilton, Ohio. He grew up in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Gage Park High School in 1947. After high school, Steele attended Wilson Junior College for two years before transferring to the University of Illinois in Urbana. Steele received both a B.S. in 1952 and a M.S. in 1955 from the University of Illinois. In 1966, he earned a Doctorate in Recreation and Park Administration from Indiana University.
Ralph Steele joined the faculty at East Carolina College in 1960. From 1960 through 1968, Steele taught general courses in the Department of Health and Physical Education. In the late 1960's, he developed a new multi-disciplinary B.S. in Parks, Recreation, and Conservation. He helped develop and taught Coastal Recreation and Tourism courses with faculty in various academic departments at East Carolina University. Steele is considered the founder of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at ECU. Upon his retirement from East Carolina University in 1990, Dr. Steele was awarded emeritus status.
On March 6, 2009, Dr. Ralph H. Steele passed away. In his memory, the Department of Health and Human Performance established the Dr. Ralph Steele Memorial Lecture Series.
The Ralph Steele Papers are divided into two series. The first series documents the creation of the Parks, Recreation, and Conservation Degree at East Carolina University and includes Ralph Steeles notes on the program, correspondence with Texas A&M about their Recreation and Parks program,
The second series documents Ralph Steeles work at ECU in scrapbook form. The material was titled "A Personal Retrospective: Three Decades of An Ever-Changing Profession as Practiced by an Action-Minded Professor." The first decade, 1960-1969, covers his work in Health and Physical Education. The second decade, 1970-1979, covers cross-disciplinary Parks, Recreation, and Conservation and Coastal and Oceanic Arts and Sciences. The third decade, 1980-1990, covers his work in Apostrophe Theory, Systemantics, Principles of Basic Research, and World Leisure. All three decades of the scrapbook include his notes on his work during the decade, news paper clippings, photographs, brochures, correspondence with collegues and students, flyers, and postcards.
The collection follows the original arrangement of Dr. Steele.
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