Distinguished Alumni Awards

John R. Endwright Alumni Service Award
Nick DiGrino - 2010

Nick DiGrino has a bachelor’s degree in Recreation from Kent State University, a master’s in Recreation and Park Administration from Indiana University, and the PhD in Recreation Resources Development from Texas A&M University. Dr. DiGrino currently serves as Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Western Illinois University – the largest academic college at WIU. He joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Recreation in 1976 and was named Chair of the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration in 1986. Dr. DiGrino was named Associate Dean for Administration in 2004 and Dean in 2009. Reporting directly to the Provost and Academic Vice President, Dr. DiGrino is responsible for the administration of the College. The College is comprised of the Departments of Health Sciences; Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality; Kinesiology; Law Enforcement and Justice Administration; Military Science; Social Work; and Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration; Special Education; Curriculum and Instruction; Educational Leadership; and Educational and Interdisciplinary Studies. Nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students are seeking degrees through these departments. The College also operates a number of centers and institutes.

Dr. DiGrino is well known nationally in the area of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies. Along with presenting his research at state, national, and international conferences and symposia, he has authored or co-authored numerous articles central to the recreation and leisure services field in research journals and professional magazines. His organizational involvements have included Illinois Park & Recreation Association Board of Directors, National Park & Recreation Association Publications Committee, Society of Park and Recreation Educators Board of Directors and Registration Committee Chair, and Illinois Community Educators Association Board of Directors & President. His awards and honors include Kent State University’s School of Exercise, Leisure, and Sport Distinguished Alumni Award; Indiana University’s Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies’ Garrett G. Eppley Distinguished Alumni Award, American Leisure Academy and Senior Fellow for the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration. Dr. DiGrino's career at Western Illinois has been a distinguished one. He has showed both the intelligence and perseverance in the solution of difficult administrative problems. He demonstrates an openness of communication, a candor of insight, and a willingness to work cooperatively with others that is both conducive to effective results and good will.