in memoriam

Passing of Professor Nina Roberts

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:

Passing of a colleague Carol Morgan Severin

Passing of a colleague Carol Morgan Severin

Carol Morgan Severin, professor emerita in the Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism (RPT) at SF State died Tuesday, July 9, 2019. She was 90 years old.

After receiving a Master of Science Degree in Recreation from SF State in 1961, Carol began a 42-year teaching career for the RPT Department (1961-2002). Every class she taught introduced students to recreation, parks, and tourism through experiential education. Examples include: (1) being the first faculty to bring students to Chamonix, France for a class on outdoor recreation where they skied and discussed the environmental and economic impact of tourism from the 1924 Winter Olympic games, (2) working with Janet Pomeroy (another RPT alumna from SF state) to strengthen one of the first recreation centers for people with disabilities – the 1952 Recreation Center for the Handicapped (now the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehabilitation Center), and (3) bringing students to see a play produced by inmates at San Quentin.

Her distinguished career has been recognized throughout her career including the prestigious Pugsley Medal by the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration in 2000, a Fellowship Award for her professional service from the California Park and Recreation Society in 2013, a lifetime achievement award from the national Society for Outdoor Recreation Professionals in 2014, and the Jim Meredith Award of Distinction from the California Association of Recreation and Park Districts in 2014.

Upon retirement, Carol found herself continuing the work of bringing people and parks together as the director for the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District Board for 14 years followed by an elected, Board of Directors position for 20 years at the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). Her leadership was directly responsible for expanding recreation programs and opportunities across East Bay’s 122,000+ acres of 773 regional parks, recreation areas, wilderness, shorelines, preserves, and land bank areas; significantly increasing access and usage among park visitors particularly youth, seniors, and underrepresented populations; creating loop trails within Alameda and Contra Costa parks to facilitate access and engagement with nature; and most recently, establishing an internship program where university students continue Carol’s work of connecting people with the outdoors.

Carol Severin was a charismatic and resolute pioneer within the recreation and parks profession. Her contributions, impact, and love for students, people, and parks are laudable examples of SF State’s mission and will continue to be remembered through the EBRPD internship program and their Foundation’s endowed Carol Severin Scholarship. Carol . . . you will be missed.