Gene Hayes student scholarship Award

Gene, “Doc” Hayes, Ph.D, CTRS, FDRT began his illustrious career in 1960 after graduating from Fresno State College. After working in large state mental hospitals for 3 years Gene accepted a Comeback, Inc. scholarship to receive his MS degree from the University of North Carolina, studying under Harold Meyers and Doug Sessoms and worked at UNC Memorial Hospital in the Psychiatry Department.  Gene traveled to Columbia University in New York City and studied with Richard Krause and Elliot Avedon on a Vocational Rehabilitation Grant.

Gene moved to Parsons, Kansas and worked in Parsons State Hospital and Training Center for children and youth with developmental disabilities for two years. After beginning his doctoral studies at Texas Woman’s University Gene completed his Ph.D. in education at North Texas University in 1972. He had short teaching stints at University of Iowa, Fresno State College, and the University of Waterloo in Canada, and Virginia Tech. Gene moved to the University of Tennessee in 1984 where he was a professor in the Department of Exercise, Sports and Leisure Studies until his retirement in 2011.

Gene’s philosophy has always been that we learn more through experiential education and in 1977 developed Camp Koininia, an outdoor and camping program for children with severe disabilities. Building on the success of Camp, Gene developed adapted camping programs for children with spina bifida, visual impairments, Down’s syndrome and for adults over age of 22 with disabilities.  In 1998 he developed a therapeutic recreation program in public schools through a grant from the state.   Over his career Gene has secured over 3 million dollars in federal and state funds and has successfully helped thousands of undergraduate and graduate students who have carried on Gene’s passion for therapeutic recreation.

General Criteria:

The SRTS Scholarship Committee will determine the recipient of the Gene Hayes Student Scholarship Award based on the selection criteria. This award is presented to an undergraduate student studying recreational therapy who has demonstrated excellence in one or more of the following areas:

  • Overall GPA & Major GPA
  • Extra-curricular activities related to recreational therapy
  • Membership/involvement in recreational therapy professional associations and/or clubs
  • Officer positions held in associations and/or clubs
  • Publications in recreational therapy or related health care journals, newsletter, etc.
  • Presentations made related to recreational therapy
  • Recreational therapy related conferences, symposiums, and work-shops attended