2 bicyclists on a country road

Recreation, Sport, & Tourism

RST 199: Fall 2020 Sapora Symposium, a virtual event, Sport and Social Justice

Students: use the CRN to sign up!

RST 199 SS1 CRN (synchronous): 47481 (Wed@6-7:30PM)

RST 199 SS2 CRN (asynchronous): 62591

1 hour elective credit | 2nd 8 weeks

Welcome to the 2020 Sapora Symposium

Mike RaycraftOn behalf of the Faculty of the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, it is an honor to welcome each of you to the 18th annual Sapora Symposium as we celebrate RST industries and individuals who are leaders in promoting social justice as a vehicle to impact economic development, inclusion, cultural cohesion, gender equity, reconciliation, and ultimately peacebuilding.

The Symposium this year is dedicated to the life of Louis R Henson, the winningest basketball coach in University of Illinois history, and a pioneer in the integration of intercollegiate athletics. The celebration of Coach Henson, led by his family and colleagues, promises to bring new insight to the man inside the famous orange blazer and inspire us all to be trailblazers….. sometimes in spite of traditional norms.

The current virtual learning environment has provided an amazing opportunity to connect civic and industry leaders with University of Illinois students from across all disciplines. Our keynote series will feature change makers and HEROES from professional and intercollegiate sports, hall of fame athletes, and internationally known inclusivity advocates.

The 2020 Sapora Symposium will motivate us all to be socially informed and active members of our community. Equity and inclusion are foundational values of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism. It is a privilege to support and advance these ideals and contribute to campus healing.

Go Illini!

  • Dr. Michael D. Raycraft
  • Director, Sapora Symposium
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

Message from Dr. Carla Santos, Head of the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

Carla SantosWelcome to the 2020 Allen V. Sapora Symposium! While I am disappointed that we are unable to enjoy this event together in person, I am excited that we have been able to create a truly outstanding virtual event for you.

This year, our presentations are focused on the role of sport in fostering equity, inclusion, and social justice, a critical topic at a time when there is so much divisiveness and upheaval tearing us apart. It is all too easy, unfortunately, to forget that we are all members of the same family and to focus on what separates us rather than what unites us. Sport has always been a way to bring people together, as participants and as fans, to celebrate the vitality of amateur and professional athletes and their love of their sports, whether it be a pickup basketball game at the local park district or a World Series championship.

This theme perfectly reflects the overall mission of the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism: to explore and promote leisure as a means of improving the quality of life across the lifespan and throughout a diverse society through impactful research, research-based educational programs that immerse students in real-world experiences, and outreach activities that make a difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

In the series of virtual presentations that make up this year’s Sapora Symposium, you will meet and hear about people who have made a difference through the use of sport, individuals who have used sport’s unifying power to promote gender and racial equity, to raise awareness of disability and gender identity, and to build cultural pride.

I hope you enjoy the program we have developed. I know you will learn a lot.


Dr. Carla Santos

Professor, Head of the Department of Recreation, Sport, & Tourism

About the Sapora Symposium:

Allen SaporaFounded by the RST Alumni Advisory Board, the Sapora Symposium is named for Dr. Allen Sapora, a pioneer in recreation education and research. Dr. Sapora was instrumental in establishing the Department of Recreation and Park Administration at the University of Illinois in 1957 and later served as department head. A Founding Fellow of the Academy of Leisure Sciences, Dr. Sapora was inducted by the National Recreation and Park Association into the Robert W. Crawford Hall of Fame in 2015 in recognition of his lasting contributions to the advancement of recreation and parks.

The annual Sapora Symposium offers undergraduate students a unique opportunity to learn about significant issues in recreation, sport, and tourism while connecting with professionals throughout the leisure industry.


All sessions take place from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, CST.
except December 9th, which begins at 10:00 am CST

Wednesday, October 28

Opening Ceremonies / Lou Henson Tribute / Panel

  • Mary Henson
  • Mark Coomes (Lou Henson nephew, longtime Illini Assistant Coach, UIC Assistant & Head Coach, Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Famer)
  • Ed Hightower (longtime NCAA referee, Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Famer)
  • Rob Evans (Henson Assistant at New Mexico St, Head Coach at Ole Miss & Arizona State)
  • Jim Phillips (former Illini Manager, AD at Northwestern University)

See the video of the Lou Henson tribute panel below.

Wednesday, November 4

Social Justice / Disability

  • Adam Bleakney (UIUC Para Athlete Coach)
  • Tatyana McFadden (Illini Para Athlete)

You can see the video of the event here.

Thursday, November 5

Planning and Designing Facilities for Inclusion

Justin Caron, MBA (Principal, Aquatic Design Group)

Kim Martin (Director, Brailsford & Dunlavey)

Tom Salzer (founder, Bona Vita Architecture)

You can see the video of the event here.

Wednesday, November 11

Social Justice/ Race

Milwaukee Bucks / NBA Response to Jacob Blake

Representatives from the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants baseball teams

You can see the video of the discussion on race here.

Thursday, November 12

Youth Sports and Social Justice

  • Jason Sacks – Vice President of Business Development, Positive Coaching Alliance
  • Rob Dauphinais – Midwest Director of Positive Coaching Alliance
  • Marti Reed – Positive Coaching Alliance

Watch the discussion about Youth Sports.

Wednesday, November 18

Social Justice/ Gender

Theresa Grentz / Mighty Macs

Watch the discussion about Social Justice and Gender here.

Thursday, November 19

NHL Blackhawks – Hockey is for Everyone Panel

Annie Camins / Sr. Executive Director, Fan Development

Ashley Hinton / Senior Director of Community Relations

See the recording of the discussion about hockey here.

Wednesday, December 2

Social Justice/ LGBTQ

Schuyler Bailar

Watch the session led by Schuyler Bailar here.

Thursday, December 3

Equity and Inclusion in Architectural Design

Daniel Budish / Project Developer, Cornell University

Betsy Figgie / Project Developer, Case Western Reserve University

Lauren Tatum / Board President, American Intercontinental University

Dr. Lady J / Director of Programming, Education & Outreach, Case Western Reserve University

Watch the discussion about Equity and Inclusion in Architectural Design here.

Wednesday, December 9

Social Justice/ Religion

Tal Brody

Watch the discussion about Social Justice and Religion here.

The “winningest” coach in University of Illinois history, Lou Henson died this year after a long battle with cancer. He won 423 games over 21 years as head coach at Illinois. His tenure included the Fighting Illini’s most memorable season, when the team compiled a 31-5 record and made it to the 1989 NCAA Final Four. His coaching career began at Las Cruces High School, where he led three of his teams to consecutive New Mexico State High School Championships and a fourth team to the quarterfinals. His college career began when Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, offered him the head coaching position in 1962. As a condition of accepting the position, he demanded that he be able to recruit African American athletes, thereby integrating not only the basketball team but also the campus. He went on to coach at his alma mater, New Mexico State University, before joining Illinois in 1975. Lou Henson is a member of the University of Illinois Athletic Hall of Fame. The State Farm Center court is named for him.

Mary Henson and Lou Henson smiling at each otherMary Henson was married to Lou Henson for 65 years. She and Lou traveled the world, with and without basketball teams, and were actively involved in community organizations. They supported the Boys & Girls Club of Las Cruces, New Mexico, the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club of Champaign, Illinois, and the Cunningham Children’s Home in Urbana, Illinois, and established the Lou and Mary Henson Endowed Scholarship at New Mexico State University and the Lou and Mary Henson Men’s Basketball Academic Assistance Fund at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Mark CoomesMark Coomes spent 33 years in college coaching, including nine years as an assistant coach to Lou Henson at Illinois. He held head coaching positions at Wabash Valley Community College and Southern Indiana University before joining former Illinois colleague Jimmy Collins at the University of Illinois at Chicago as the associate head coach of the Flames from 1996 to 2009. He helped take the Flames to its first three appearances at the NCAA Tournament and its first trip to the National Invitation Tournament. In his head coaching positions, he compiled a record of 145 wins and 30 losses, and led Wabash Valley to three appearances in the National Junior College Athletic Association tournaments. In 2016, Mark Coomes was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Ed HightowerEd Hightower refereed 12 NCAA Division 1 Final Fours and officiated the 1990 World Championship of Basketball in South America, the European Basketball Championship in 1993, and the Goodwill Games in 1994 and 1998. A frequent official in Big Ten and Big East games, he was voted the Naismith Division I Men’s College Basketball Official of the Year in 1992, received the National Association of Sports Officials’ Gold Whistle Award in 1995, and was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998. He retired from officiating in 2013. His other awards include the 1990 Elijah P. Lovejoy Human Rights Award and the 2007 Trails West Distinguished Citizen of the Year. Dr. Hightower earned a PhD in Education Administration from St. Louis University and was the superintendent of Edwardsville, Illinois, District 7 before retiring in 2015.

Rob EvansRob Evans served as head coach at the University of Mississippi and Arizona State University and currently serves as special assistant to the athletic director at Southern Methodist University. He led six of his 14 teams at Ole Miss and ASU to postseason bids and was named SEC Coach of the Year and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year in 1997. In his own playing days, Mr. Evans was coached by Lou Henson after transferring to New Mexico State University. As team captain for two seasons, he led the team to a 38-17 record and two NCAA Tournament appearances. He was hired as an assistant coach after completing his bachelor’s degree in education in 1968, a role he held until Lou Henson left for Illinois. In 1993, he was inducted into the US Bank/New Mexico State Athletics Hall of Fame.

Jim PhillipsJim Phillips became Northwestern University’s 21st director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation in 2008 and within four years had been named Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation. He was the first active athletic director to serve on the Board of Directors and Board of Governors of the NCAA and was elected first chair of the NCAA Division 1 Council in 2015. He is on the Board of Directors of the Fiesta Bowl and vice chair of LEAD 1, an organization made up of athletic directors from the 130 schools that participate in the Football Bowl Subdivision. In July, he was chosen to chair the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Committee for the 2021-22 season. Sports Business Journal named him the 2018 Athletic Director of the Year.

Sport and Disability

Tatyana McFaddenTatyana McFadden is a premiere parathlete, having won 17 Paralympic medals, including seven gold, 24 major marathon wins, including four consecutive Grand Slams (first place finishes in Boston, Chicago, New York City, and London), and having broken five world records in track and field. Both her undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies and her master’s degree in Education are from the University of Illinois. She serves on the Board of Directors of Spina Bifida of Illinois and is credited with the passage of the Maryland Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities Act. She was named to Forbes “30 Under 30” list in 2017 and was selected Best Female Athlete of the 2016 Paralympic Games by the US Olympic Committee. She also received a 2016 ESPY Award recognizing her as the Best Female Athlete with a Disability.

Adam BleakneyAdam Bleakney is the head coach of Wheelchair Track and Road Racing at the University of Illinois. A medal-winning Paralympic and marathon athlete himself, he has coached his athletes to 44 medals in three Paralympic Games, 43 medals in four World Championships, and 13 world records. He has been a consultant on a number of research projects, including BMW’s initiative to create and fabricate new wheelchair racing technology as well as a current effort, funded by the National Science Foundation, to develop a wheelchair that will provide individuals with physical disabilities a new and novel mode of mobility. He was a principal investigator on seminal research on the influence of glove type on performance in elite wheelchair racers. He also has developed curriculum for coaching programs offered by USA Track & Field and UK Athletics Wheelchair Track.

Planning and Designing Facilities for Inclusion

Justin CaronJustin Caron has worked on over 400 projects with municipalities, park and recreation districts, colleges, high school, hotels, resorts, and water parks as they studied, planned, programmed, designed, and constructed new or renovated aquatic centers. He has been particularly active in assisting clients with feasibility, needs assessment, and master plan studies in the early stages of their projects to help them properly size, program, and plan for a facility that is fiscally responsible. Justin received his MBA in 2009. One of the major focuses of his studies was accurately analyzing and predicting demographic and cultural changes and phenomena with regards to aquatic recreational facilities. Justin is an accomplished speaker and author. He has presented multiple educational sessions at conferences for national organizations and regional organizations as well as having over a dozen articles published in national or international publications. Justin has been a project manager for over 300 completed aquatic facilities in 39 states around the country and seven countries around the world and routinely makes presentations to City Council's, Park and Recreation Boards, developers, public forums, and at college campuses relating to aquatic issues. Justin is also a recognized leader in the aquatics industry in regards to helping aquatics facilities be more inclusive and welcoming to anyone who wants to use them.

Kim MartinMs. Martin is a Director with Brailsford & Dunlavey where she leads the Midwest cluster, including the Chicago office, for the firm.  She joined the Washington, DC office of Brailsford & Dunlavey in 2000, and in 2011 she assisted in the opening of B&D’s office in Ohio, where she is currently located. During her tenure she has led over 100 advisory projects across the country (including the University of Illinois ARC / CRCE Renovation and Expansion Projects and the Housing Master Plan). Her focus is on market and financial analyses for quality-of-life facilities. Ms. Martin speaks regularly at conferences and workshops on facility planning, financing, programming, business planning, and implementation. Her professional background is in facilities management and student affairs. Prior to joining B&D she worked for the University of Minnesota.

Tom SalzerTom Salzer is a 1991 graduate of Ball State University with a Bachelor’s degrees in Architecture and Environmental Sciences, with an emphasis on design for those with disabilities.  Tom founded Bona Vita Architecture in 2014, and serves as its President.  His nearly three-decade design career has included work in; cancer treatment design, inpatient hospital design and recreational facility design.  Recent notable projects include:  the Jackson R. Lehman YMCA, the Kokomo Family YMCA, the Miami County YMCA, the Goshen Health Patient Pavilion and the world headquarters for Do it Best Corp.  Tom currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Fort Wayne YMCA, Ronald McDonald House of Northeast Indiana, the YWCA of Northeast Indiana, and Heartland Sings.  Tom is married to Laura and has three children, William, Hope and Grace.

Sport and Race

Milwaukee Bucks basketball team kneeling together, wearing t-shirts that say black lives matterArvind Gopalratnam is the vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Milwaukee Bucks and executive director of the Milwaukee Bucks Foundation. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the Corporate Social Responsibility Department as well as the statewide philanthropic efforts of the Milwaukee Bucks Foundation, which is dedicated to improving outcomes for underserved populations in Wisconsin by providing financial grants, developing innovative partnerships, and supporting impactful ideas in youth education, youth health and wellness, and community betterment. Gopalratnam, a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, joined the Bucks in 2016 as Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. Prior to joining the Bucks, he served as director of communications for GE Healthcare.

Andrew Dean is the manager of ticket development for the St. Louis Cardinals. He builds individually tailored working relationships between the Cardinals organization and businesses and individuals in and around St. Louis, establishing mutually beneficial relationships by focusing on customer service and client needs. A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, he previously worked in ticket sales and promotions for University of Missouri Athletics and as an account executive with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.

Lindsey WeberLindsey Weber is the supervisor of Community relations for the St. Louis Cardinals. As a Video Communications Production Coordinator with the St. Louis Cardinals, Lindsey Weber is responsible for coordinating the production of the team's weekly Cardinals Insider television show and supporting the various related video production projects of the Communications Department. In her position, Lindsey is responsible for coordinating and supporting all aspects of the production of the weekly show that debuted in March 2016, including developing story ideas, writing scripts, maintaining the show run down and excel production tracker, scheduling interviews for the team's video reporters, coordinating numerous logistical details to support the production team, advising the show's video editor and delivering the show files to the various TV stations airing Cardinals Insider. In addition to her duties supporting the multimedia video production team, Lindsey also serves as the weekly on-air host of Cardinals Insider and is learning to shoot and edit video herself.

Youth Sports and Social Justice: Positive Coaching Alliance

Jason SacksRob DauphinasJason Sacks, Rob Dauphinais. PCA is a national nonprofit with the mission to transform the culture of youth and high school sports. Their goal is to use a positive sports experience to develop “Better Athletes, Better People”. PCA partners with local schools and youth sports organizations by conducting workshops and providing education, tools and resources for administrators, coaches, parents and student-athletes.

Sport and Gender

Theresa GrentzTheresa Grentz, former head coach of women’s basketball at the University of Illinois, is a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and USA Olympic Head Coach. She also coached the US women’s basketball team to a bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics. As a player, she scored more than 1000 points, earned First Team All-America status three times, and led her alma mater, Immaculata College, to three straight national championships 1972 to 1974. The 1974 title game was the first women’s basketball game to be televised. She became the first full-time women’s head basketball coach in the nation when she was hired by Rutgers. Among her many awards, she was named the Converse National Coach of Year and the March of Dimes Coach of the Year, and is a four-time recipient of Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year honors.

Sport and LGBTQ

Schuyler BailarSchuyler Bailar is the first publicly documented, openly transgender man to compete at the NCAA Division 1 level. He was recruited in 2013 as a member of Harvard University’s women’s swimming and diving team and offered a spot on the men’s team after transitioning during a gap year. He advocates for inclusion, body-positivity, and mental health awareness through speaking engagements and social media. He serves as an advisor to the leading provider of eating disorder treatment and the first trans-specific healthcare provider and is a research assistant at Harvard. His accolades include the Harvard Athletic Director’s Award, given to athletes who make outstanding contributions to athletics through education, as well as being named to The Advocate’s Champions of Pride list of top LGBTQ activists and the Gold House A100 list of the most influential Asian Americans.

Sport and Religion

Tal BrodyTal Brody was an All American and All Big Ten point guard at the University of Illinois. He was the #12 pick in the NBA draft but before the season started, he and the rest of the American team traveled to Israel where they won a gold medal in the 1965 Maccabiah Games. He decided to forego an NBA career to play with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Over the course of his playing career, he led the team to its first European Cup Championship, 10 Israeli championships, and six Israel State Cups. A sports hero in Israel, he was the first athlete to be awarded the Israel Prize, the country’s highest civilian honor. Since retiring from basketball, he has had a successful career in business and currently is Israel’s International Goodwill Ambassador. In 2015, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Equity and Inclusion in Architectural Design

Daniel BudishDaniel Budish is the President of Gaslamp Capital, a historic tax credit consulting firm founded in 2015. He holds degrees in urban planning and city design from Cornell University and The London School of Economics.

Daniel has dedicated his career to renovating and preserving historic buildings across the country through the implementation of innovative financing structures. As a native Clevelander he has long thought about how he could best utilize his skills in tax credit finance to benefit the LGBTQ community.

This project is a dream come true for Daniel due to its combination of historic preservation, its intense focus on philanthropy, community development, and of course - all the drag.

Betsy FiggieBetsy Figgie is President of Your CFO Resource, a structured finance consulting firm founded in 2005, specializing in tax-credit enhanced projects typically utilizing New Markets Tax Credits.

Having closed upwards of $1 billion in transactions over her career, Betsy is thrilled to be co-developing the LGBT Hub and serving as one of the project's stewards. Betsy believes that one of the most critical elements of the project is ensuring that LGBT youth have a safe place to play, explore, connect and grow.

Betsy has degrees from Ohio Wesleyan University, The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, L'ecole Commerciale de la Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris, and the International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute.

Lauren TatumLauren Tatum is the owner and Creative Director of Bunny Paige, a Cleveland based jewelry design and mixed media art studio founded in 2013. She holds degrees in International Business and Marketing from AIU.

Her original and instantly recognizable Spiked Hearts and forward thinking designs have allowed her to grow from a local business to a thriving brand with an international cult following. Lauren’s work has been featured on celebrity clients, the runways of NYFW, and most recently the stage of Cirque Du Soleil.

Lauren brings a passionate energy to this project which stems from her upbringing as the granddaughter of a judge and civil rights lawyer who served as a member of President John F. Kennedy's diplomatic team and legal counsel to Martin Luther King Jr.

Lauren looks forward to continuing in her family’s footsteps while helping to build a brighter future for the entire LGBTQ community.

Dr. Lady JDr. Lady J, aka Jeremiah Davenport is a non-binary trans woman who is the world’s first drag queen with a PhD specialization in drag performance history. She holds a BA in Music and Culture from the University of Tennessee, a PhD in Musicology from Case Western Reserve University and holds the position of Historian for the Austin International Drag Festival. She is also the creator and host of “Untucking the Past,” a podcast that explores drag history through an intersectional lens.

A pillar of the Cleveland LGBTQ+ community, she represents the city on the national drag scene and leads locally through activism, entertainment and education. Her dissertation “From RuPaul to the Love Ball: The Mainstreaming of Drag in the 1990’s” has been downloaded over 3500 times and her work as a historian has been featured everywhere from Vice.com to the Journal of the American Musicological Society.