In October, we lost one of the all-time greatest advocates for inclusive recreation, Dr. Ed Hamilton. Ed graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with B.A. degree in psychology; the University of Maryland, College Park with a M.A. in Therapeutic Recreation; and Indiana University, with a PhD in Health and Human Performance. He held various faculty and research positions at the University of Maryland and Indiana University. Ed also served as President/ CEO of Virginia Easter Seals. He was presently the Director of Academic Grants and Foundation Relations for Roanoke College.
“I had the honor and privilege to work with Ed Hamilton and assist him and Kathleen M Newman on the swimming pool study in 1996-1997,” said Jennifer Skulski. Today Ed’s research on pools serves as the foundation for the ADA accessibility guidelines for public swimming pools. He conducted significant research studies on the inclusion of people with disabilities in recreation and youth camps; trails and trail surfaces; beach assistive devices and temporary beach surfaces; and interpretive programs. “We shared many laughs and he gave us so much to think about. He could mesmerize a room full of park and recreation professionals, simply by being himself and sharing stories about how accessibility barriers can effect your everyday life.” Ed advocated for “inclusive” recreation before it was fashionable. Thanks to his curriculum development, R270 Inclusive Recreation is REQUIRED for all park and recreation majors. Most importantly, Ed taught us Inclusion IS personal! It is about us. It is about our families and friends. It is because of his lessons that hundreds of practitioners are in the field, fighting the good fight, advocating for the inclusion of people with disabilities everyday.
“There are simply not enough words to describe how heavy our hearts are, how much he taught us, how wonderfully he is loved, and how much he will be missed.”