Head of President’s Council on Physical Fitness, foremost expert on aging to speak at URI on Nov. 29

KINGSTON, R.I. — November 18, 2005 — Melissa Johnson, appointed as executive director of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness by President George W. Bush, and Robert Butler, M.D., an internationally recognized expert on aging will speak about the importance of fitness at the University of Rhode Island Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Their talk will be given at 7 p.m. in the Chafee Social Science Center, Barry Marks Auditorium, Room 271. It is free and open to the public. The presentation concludes this fall’s honors colloquium, “Contemporary Sport: Healthy Pursuit or Obsession,” which has examined some of the most important issues relating to sport and society.

Johnson, a nationally recognized leader in physical activity, fitness, and health promotion, manages the Washington D.C.-based Council to support national initiatives to build a nation of healthy Americans through regular physical activity, sound nutrition, prevention, and avoidance of risky behaviors.

Johnson served as executive director of the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from 1997 to 2002, which was formed by Gov. Pete Wilson and chaired by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Prior to that appointment, she was director of operations for the National Fitness Leaders Association, a national not-for-profit organization.

Robert Butler, M.D., an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of aging, is the founding director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a non-profit research and education center that studies the impacts of aging on society.

Butler didn’t set out to become a leader in gerontology and geriatrics. Before turning his attention to his work at the NIA in 1976, he was in private practice as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. But over the years, the ageist attitudes he encountered in both medical school and throughout American society assaulted his sensibilities, sparked his interest, and drew him into the uncharted territory of a career in the field of aging.

Butler has authored or co-authored several books on aging including his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Why Survive? Being Old in America and his most recent How to Care for Aging Parents.

Major sponsors of the colloquium are The Providence Journal, Theta Chi Fraternity, URI Honors Program, URI President’s Office, Institute for International Sport, URI Office of the Provost, URI College of Arts and Sciences, URI College of Business Administration, and the URI Division of University Advancement.

Co-sponsors are the URI Department of Athletics, Multicultural Center, College of Nursing, College of Human Science and Services, College of Pharmacy, Office of Student Affairs, and the Women’s Studies Program.

For more information, visit www.uri.edu/hc or contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381 or debg@uri.edu.

The Honors Program at URI offers learning enrichment opportunities that broaden and enhance the undergraduate educational experience. The program features small classes, a nationally renowned honors colloquium, national scholarship advising, and in-depth study and research with select faculty mentors. URI students must maintain a minimum 3.2 grade-point average to continue participation.

Open access to the Honors Program continues for qualified students throughout their undergraduate years. About 900 URI students participate in the Honors Program. About 60 students are participating in the Honors Colloquium companion course this fall.