Remembering Dr. Catherine Ennis
Catherine Ennis, professor emerita in the Department of Kinesiology and a friend and former colleague to many in the School of Public Health, passed away on April 8 at the age of 63. Department of Kinesiology Chair Brad Hatfield writes, “Cathy Ennis was a remarkable Physical Educator – a builder of the knowledge base in the field that was the foundation of our discipline and the undergraduate major that many of us chose with passion to start our careers as scholars and teachers of Kinesiology.
“She rose through the ranks in the Department, serving the unit and the campus with dedication and distinction from the early 90s to 2008 when she took a position at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro as Professor of curriculum theory and development. She provided leadership on the national level to the National Academy of Kinesiology (serving as president and just completing her term as past president in the fall of 2016) and also served as president of the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) Research Consortium in 2010 – an organization in which she held membership for 40 years. Cathy received numerous honors–she was recognized as the SHAPE/AAHPERD Alliance Scholar, presenting the Scholar Lecture, 'On Their Own: Preparing Students for a Lifetime,' which represented her essential philosophy of physical education. In March, just this past month, Cathy was honored with the Luther Halsey Gulick Medal, which is the highest award given by SHAPE America. She practiced what she preached from a young age as she was inducted into the Lynchburg College Sports Hall of Fame (field hockey and lacrosse) in 1992 from where she received her undergraduate degree.
“It is sad to lose such a great colleague–one who elevated our scholarship, was a major contributor to the field through her scholarly efforts for over 35 years, and contributed to the visibility and national prominence of our Department’s doctoral program. She was truly a thought leader and saw Physical Education as a vehicle for students to learn about the body and the benefit of a physically active lifestyle to health and well-being. All who knew her saw that she practiced and epitomized quality and rigor in all aspects of her work.
“She was a pioneer in attracting federal funding through the National Institutes of Health to support her research through the conduct of clinical trials to understand the impact of the Physical Education curriculum on scientific knowledge through movement and physical activity. Cathy was a translator of the basic research/disciplinary knowledge from our field for the good of young people and she was a mentor to many both undergraduate and graduate students.”
“Like others, I treasured Cathy's outstanding wisdom, collegiality, and friendship,” Department of Family Science Professor Emerita Sally Koblinsky wrote in response to Dr. Hatfield’s announcement. “Her extraordinary scholarship, leadership, and can-do spirit were key in advancing excellence in our college/school, UNC Greensboro, and her discipline. Like so many others, I loved working with Cathy and enjoyed her wit and sense of humor.”
Founding SPH Dean and Epidemiology and Biostatistics Chair Robert Gold said, “Cathy was a great friend, exceptional colleague, and a phenomenal faculty member in all ways possible. Physical Education has lost a great exemplar.”