Passing of Professor Nina Roberts

Author: Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism
March 29, 2022
Nina Roberts
Photo Credit: Dudley Edmondson

Farewell Dr. Roberts, it is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of an RPT family member - our beloved friend and colleague, Dr. Nina Roberts. Nina's physical body was taken on March 28, 2022, by cancer, but her gritty New York spirit will be visiting each one of us advocating for equity in our parks. So, let’s not disappoint and continue her legacy! And to truly honor Dr. Nina, get outside, visit a local park, and reflect on nature’s beauty and how we can increase access to our parks.

Professor Roberts’ research was highly regarded in the areas of race/ethnicity, culture, and natural resources. She was also nationally known for her work pertaining to urban youth, women, and girls outdoors, including the connection to developing healthy lifestyles. Roberts was widely acknowledged for her commitment to social and environmental justice work, including her advocacy for breaking down barriers — especially relating to diversity, park access, and recreation opportunities on public lands.

Roberts joined the faculty at SF State in 2005 after spending 22 years of her career in the field. A Fulbright scholar, Roberts joined the ranks of higher education from the National Park Service, where her employment stemmed from a graduate internship in the Intermountain Region while completing her Ph.D. at Colorado State University. At SF State, her leadership positions included serving as director of the Pacific Leadership Institute, and most recently, as the current faculty director of the Institute for Civic & Community Engagement.

Roberts was a prolific researcher and author of numerous publications in areas including outdoor programming and leadership, youth development, and race/culture and gender issues. She conducted youth development research with a variety of organizations including the U.S. Forest Service, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and East Bay Regional Parks. Roberts also served on numerous boards, including Yosemite Institute, GirlVentures, UC Berkeley’s Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity, and the Lawrence Hall of Science.

With over 75 publications, 200 presentations, and nearly a million dollars in grants/contracts, Dr. Nina has been recognized and honored for her contributions at the international/national/regional/state/local level including the 2007 Kurt Hahn Award, which is “presented annually to a person who has contributed to the development and advancement of experiential education with the tenacity and conviction that was exemplified by Kurt Hahn”).    

Post Your Thoughts, Stories, Remembrances, or Donate to Nina Roberts Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund: