College of Health and Human Performance

HHP Celebrates George B. Cunningham, UAA Professor in Sport Management

HHP Celebrates George B. Cunningham, UAA Professor in Sport Management

George B. Cunningham, Ph.D., at the installation ceremony on November 1, 2023. Photo by Brianne Lehan. View more photos.

Nov. 13, 2023

On November 1, members of the University of Florida community and guests celebrated the installation of George B. Cunningham, Ph.D., as the University Athletic Association (UAA) Endowed Professor in Sport Management.

Dr. Cunningham, chair in the Department of Sport Management, highlighted his research on diversity and inclusion in sport and physical activity. Cunningham is the author of “Diversity and Inclusion in Sport Organizations” and co-editor of “Routledge Handbook of Theory in Sport Management.” He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Additionally, he has served twice as the president of the North American Society for Sport Management and is a member of the National Academy of Kinesiology.

In the lecture, Cunningham explained that his research looks at a multilevel view, from individuals to organizations with their own policies and culture, as well as communities which have their own way of doing things. Most of the work related to access and opportunities focuses on gender or race or sexual orientation. In one example, Cunningham shared research showing that gender stereotypes were offset when community members participated in voluntary sport clubs.

Cunningham and fellow researchers have looked at 15 years worth of data correlating a lower life expectancy for women in states with higher sexual harassment claims, higher unemployment and in states where residents held biases against women at work.

The ceremony was the first of its kind held in the College of Health & Human Performance. In his opening remarks, Michael Reid, Ph.D., dean, explained the significance, noting that very few faculty achieve full professor with tenure and even a smaller subset are recognized with an endowed appointment.

“It [endowment] allows so many opportunities,” said Cunningham. “Endowments help support new research projects, bigger projects and novel datasets, supporting students and their research or travel opportunities, and pay for research to be open access and accessible to the public.”

In her introduction ahead of Dr. Cunningham’s lecture, Elisabeth Barton, Ph.D., associate dean for faculty and staff affairs, remarked how ecstatic the committee was to recruit Dr. Cunningham as the inaugural chair for the Department of Sport Management in 2022.

The ceremony and lecture was live streamed and is available on YouTube.

The college has four endowed faculty members. The next ceremony, recognizing Jalie A. Tucker as the Mary F. Lane Professor in Health Education & Behavior, will be held on November 29. Two additional ceremonies will be held in the spring for David Vaillancourt, Orchid Medical Chair in Applied Physiology & Kinesiology, and Thomas Clanton, BK and Betty Stevens Professor in Applied Physiology & Kinesiology.

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