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History of the Exercise Physiology Program

The first students enrolled as undergraduate Exercise Physiology majors did so in 1989, in what was then the College of Health and Human Services' School of Recreation and Sport Sciences. In 1990, the program had 38 majors. In those early years, heavy teaching loads and departmental laboratory space limited the program to only one dedicated course for Exercise Physiology majors: HPES 417 - Exercise Prescription (later to become PESS 417). A second dedicated course—PESS 416 - Resistance Training—was added to the major in 1996. By 1997, the program had grown to over 200 majors. After a two-year move out of the building, in 2001 Exercise Physiology returned to a newly renovated Grover Center and our first dedicated laboratory space: Grover E116, the Exercise Science Lab. With the expansion of the program to three faculty members, we were able to add more major-specific courses to the curriculum.

In the fall of 2003, undergraduate student enrollment was over 300, the number of faculty continued to grow, and demands on the Exercise Science Laboratory as a teaching and research space became excessive. So, in early 2004, we began discussions to design and implement new laboratory spaces. In the fall of 2005, the Exercise Physiology Laboratory (Grover E228) opened with a wealth of new equipment (including a metabolic cart, lactate/glucose analyzer, and high-end treadmills) to deliver many of the program courses. Six months later, the Exercise Physiology Lab had an unfortunate christening when a major water leak—the "Great Grover Flood of 2006"—ruined approximately $50,000 worth of equipment. The entire School of Recreation and Sport Sciences moved to the RTEC building until late summer of that year while the building was repaired.

Faculty and more than 400 Exercise Physiology students returned to Grover Center in the fall of 2006. As we continued to add faculty and expand our curriculum, we installed an exercise biochemistry laboratory to the Exercise Physiology Laboratory, offering a benchtop space for graduate student education and research endeavors.

When the College of Health and Human Services reorganized as the College of Health Sciences and Professions in 2010, the Exercise Physiology program joined Athletic Training and Food and Nutrition Sciences to form the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness.

As they have since 1989, our faculty work together to prepare students for a variety of professional careers. Students who meet the eligibility and approval requirements have the option of enrolling in the school honors program.