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Dept. of Physical Education (1895-1987)


The University of Illinois first offered physical education to women through the School of Domestic Science in 1874. A physical education program became mandatory for female students in 1876. In 1896, the trustees voted to change the department head's title from director of Physical Culture for Women to director of Physical Training for Women. During this year, the department began cooperating with the Department of Physical Training for Men in an effort to provide "uniformity of theory and practice." In 1919, the Department of Physical Training for Women was renamed the Department of Physical Education for Women. It became part of a larger School of Physical Education in 1932. The school was overseen by a director; the Department of Physical Education for Women offered a professional curriculum, required physical education, faculty recreation, and intramural sports. It awarded the B.S. to those who completed its curriculum; a master's degree program appeared in 1942. In 1957, the School of Physical Education became the College of Physical Education, and a dean replaced the director. During this reorganization, a new Department of Health and Safety Education and a new Department of Recreation took responsibility for some of the instruction offered by physical education for women. The department began offering a dance curriculum in 1961; this B.A. program was transferred to the College of Fine and Applied Arts in 1968. In 1972, the Department of Physical Education for Women merged with the Department of Physical Education for Men; the two formed a single Department of Physical Education. This department changed name to the Dept. of Kinesiology in 1987.

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