Kinesiology Launches Walter Kroll Lecture Series

Walter Kroll
Commonwealth Professor Walter Kroll

The Department of Kinesiology hosted the 1st Annual Walter Kroll Memorial Lecture on April 19, 2012 in the Integrated Sciences Building. The Department launched the annual lecture series to honor the many contributions made by Commonwealth Professor Walter Kroll, one of the founding members of the Department of Exercise Science (later, Kinesiology) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1965.

For over three decades, Professor Kroll conducted novel research in Motor Integration, taught undergraduates in courses such as “Psychology of Coaching,” and mentored graduate students, many of whom began careers in higher education. His continual study of technical advances in a wide variety of fields helped him disseminate research concepts that had a major influence on others. These concepts included the use of intra-class correlation analysis of variance as a reliability instrument, the fractionated reaction time model, the use of multivariate statistical techniques to study, for example, the athlete personality, and neuromuscular stimulation as an impetus for Sensory Imparted Learning.

In the mid-1970s, Walter Kroll was named a Commonwealth Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He was the author of two widely acclaimed books, Perspectives in Physical Education and Graduate Study and Research in Physical Education, and he published over 50 papers during his illustrious career.
Faculty and friends of Commonwealth Professor Walter Kroll

The inaugural lecture focused on “The Legacy of Commonwealth Professor Walter Kroll.” Department Chair Patty Freedson kicked off the event by welcoming the Kroll family, including Walter’s wife Jackie Kroll, and several professor emeriti (all former colleagues of Walter Kroll) who had turned out for the occasion.

Two of Professor Kroll’s doctoral students, Kinesiology Professor Gary Kamen and Robert Gilbert, Associate Professor of Exercise Science and Physical Education at Montclair State University, shared their remembrances of their former faculty advisor. Both noted Kroll’s passion for research and analysis, his unparalleled thoroughness of preparation, and his dedication to his students. He was a demanding mentor, “old school” in many respects, who challenged his students and motivated them to set their own expectations higher.

Waneen Spirduso, Ed.D., Professor Emerita in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at the University of Texas-Austin, delivered the keynote lecture. Spirduso, another protégé of Professor Kroll’s from their days at the University of Texas, noted how Professor Kroll changed her career trajectory and that of their department at the University of Texas, and how his vision and pursuit of excellence helped create a top-five doctoral program at UMass Amherst. His research output was prolific in the pre-computer and pre-Internet days, and his methodology helped set the standards for research design and statistics in the field of Kinesiology. Kroll was a champion of the profession, Spirduso added, who supported the field by publishing in professional journals aimed at “scholars, professionals, and practitioners.”

Most importantly, Kroll left a tremendous heritage of PhD graduates of the highest order. Of his more than 20 doctoral students, she noted, half hold leadership positions and continue to impact the next generation of students, who will then impact the generation after that, and on exponentially.

“The impact of a standout professor never ends,” Spirduso concluded.

In addition to the lecture, the Department also acknowledged three of its exceptional graduate students who had received awards from the American Kinesiology Association. A reception immediately followed the lecture.

For more information on this event, contact Department Chair Patty Freedson by email at psf@kin.umass.edu.