& Department Chair
Ph.D., University of Illinois
3101 University Blvd, Ste.234
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Dr. Peter Gifford joined Southern Methodist University in 1973 as the Director of the graduate program in Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Tenured in 1980, he became the Chair of the Department and responsible for the organization and administration of the undergraduate, graduate and required service programs in that same year where he has remained, despite numerous curricular changes, for nearly three decades in this leadership position.
Prior to coming to SMU he spent two years teaching physical education and coaching basketball, cross country and gymnastics at the high school level in Aberdeen, South Dakota before returning to graduate school at SIU and the University of Illinois, Champaign. His graduate school training focused largely on exercise physiology. He served as a research fellow in the exercise physiology laboratory.
Peter has taught classes in nearly all aspects of sport and physical education ranging from individual sports such as badminton, tennis, racquetball and table tennis; team sports such as football, basketball and soccer; professional content courses such as exercise physiology and research methods; and more recently wellness concepts. Peter was instrumental in the development of the very popular and innovative Choices for Living Wellness program, a requirement for graduation of all SMU students since 1980.
Over the years, Peter has championed many program initiatives including an innovative class called Inward and Outward Bound. This was a holistic, physically rigorous collaborative effort with the Colorado Outward Bound School. Peter also was instrumental in the founding of the popular faculty/staff wellness program which has since been transferred to HR and is now known as Wellpower. Peter has also been instrumental in planning the APSM space in the new Simmons Education Building due to open in 2010.
Peter and Lynn Jacobs are the creators of the Applied Physiology and Sport Management major. Their training in the sciences is revealed in the philosophical construct of the program that blends science with management principles. Their vision included the hiring of nationally known faculty to implement their ideas, as well as oversee the development of a world class research facility aimed at the study of human performance.
Peter resides in Dallas with his wife Diane, and is the father of six children.