Springfield College is a home of tradition, history, and legacy, all of which describe Peter V. Karpovich. His dedication to the school will be remembered during this year’s Karpovich Lecture on April 22, in the Fuller Arts Center at 7 p.m.
Most Springfield College students have never heard of this man, regardless of the impressive feats he achieved while on campus. Karpovich came to Springfield in 1927 and immediately started impacting the schools reputation as a Professor of Physiology and Director of Health.
He authored many books and journals in the field of Physiology and Physical Education. Karpovich even invented technology to aid athletic trainers while receiving grants from the government to help him with his groundbreaking research.
Later on he became one of the founders of the American College of Sports Medicine, which is one of the most premiere associations, with Springfield’s exercise science major.
So why does information about such a successful and relevant man seem like foreign knowledge to the community? The School for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation asked the same question, and decide to act.
Every year the department hosts a “Karpovich Lecture” where a guest speaker talks about relevant topics to the major. This tradition was started in 1973 when alumni wanted to find a way to honor the legacy of Karpovich.
This year, the lecture is titled “The Karpovich Legacy is Alive an Well,” and it is the department’s hope to revive the memory of such a great Springfield College figure. The event is not only for people in a relevant major, but also for any scholars of tradition and history of the college.
Tracy Matthews, chair of the Department of Exercise Science and Sports Studies, was presented with the task of finding this year’s speaker. Her father graduated Springfield in 1963, having had the opportunity to study under Karpovich.
Matthews could see how much her father was impacted by the experience based on the stories he used to tell. When she would complain about her teachers to her father, he would tell her stories about how intense Karpovich was as a professor.
“People would beg, asking him to increase their grade from a 89.5 to a 90, and Karpovich would say, ‘listen, if you’re on the 99.5 yard line, do you get the touchdown? No’,” her father said.
With Matthews’ previous knowledge of Karpovich, she called upon Vincent J. Paolone to be this year’s speaker. “I felt like Dr. Paolone could do a really good job at providing a historical context of who Dr. Karpovich was,” she said.
Paolone has been a Springfield Faculty member for 26 years. He received the Outstanding Excellence in Teaching Award as a Professor of Exercise Physiology. His work has been directed by the research Karpovich did many years ago.
The lecture will be in three parts, including how Karpovich’s research affected the growth of Springfield College, how it influenced Paolone in his studies, and how present students in the major are continuing the legacy.
Matthews recognized that there are many alumni associated with Karpovich who won’t be able to attend the lecture. With that in mind, those at home will be able to live stream the lecture online at springfieldcollege.edu through the School for Health, Physical Education and Recreation.