O’Rourke elected to American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration

  • Thursday, November 14, 2013


Tom O’Rourke, executive director of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, has been elected to the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. He was inducted in October at the Academy’s Annual Meeting during the National Recreation and Park Association Congress in Houston, Texas.

The academy is a group of distinguished practitioners and educators who are leaders in the field of park and recreation. They must have served for at least 15 years in a high level of administration in a park and recreation agency or as a recognized educator in parks and recreation administration. They also must have demonstrated outstanding ability in administration, management or education in the profession; displayed broad interest with a direct service benefit to the advancement of public parks and recreation and assumed leadership with a keen desire to contribute to the advancement of the field. The Academy is limited to 125 active members.

Established in 1980, the Academy was formed to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators to enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and conduct research, publish scholarly papers and/or sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration.

“The Class of 2013 is exceptionally talented,” said 2013 Academy President Tom Lovell, administrator of Parks and Recreation in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. “The distinguished new members represent park and recreation agencies of all sizes and demographics as well as academia. The future of the Academy is bright.”

More information on the Academy is available at www.aapra.org.

Tom O’Rourke is the executive director of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission. His agency has been nationally recognized for operating an ever-expanding park system utilizing the enterprise approach, while still holding true to the “Recreation for All” value system. O’Rourke has the direct oversight responsibility for over 10,000 acres of parkland consisting of a very diverse offering of parks, programs and services. Prior to joining Charleston County PRC, he was the director of the Mount Pleasant Recreation Department and also established and served as the manager of the Sports and Recreation Division for Seamon Whiteside and Associates a Landscape Architect and Engineering firm. O’Rourke’s first job was as a high school athletic director and coach. Currently he spends a significant amount of time educating park and recreation professionals. In the past three years he has spoken at 11 different state association conferences and has presented sessions at the NRPA Congress for the past 12 years. He is on the Board of Regents at the NRPA Revenue School, The NRPA Directors School and a past member of the Supervisors Managements School Board. O’Rourke has served on the Board of Trustees of the National Recreation and Parks Association. The National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, The South Carolina Recreation and Parks Association, and is currently on the Advisory Board for the Clemson University and N.C. State University School of Parks Recreation and Tourism Management. Recreation is his profession, but his passion has always been coaching. He currently is the Pole Vault Coach at Hanahan High School.

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