Students participated in several forms of recreation and physical activity even in the early days of the Iowa State Normal School. However, the first time that physical education, or its precursors, appears in an instructional department name was in 1892, with the Elocution and Physical Culture Department. The curious combination of Elocution and Physical Culture may well have been due to faculty member Margaret Baker, whose had training in both of these areas. The Elocution and Physical Culture Department persisted until 1896, when Elocution was integrated back into English and the Physical Culture Department was established on its own. In 1902 the name changed to the Physical Training Department and in 1909 to the familiar Physical Education Department.
The Physical Education Department persisted until the time of World War I, when it went through a an unusual phase. Beginning in 1917 and continuing through at least 1919, there were few men students on campus. The limited number of men who were on campus took military drill instead of physical education. During that period the college catalogues listed a head of a Physical Education for Women Department. But in other parts of those same catalogues, in a listing of authorized instructional departments, the department is listed as the Physical Education Department. Perhaps the revised nomenclature simply recognized the realities of the wartime situation, even though the name was not officially changed.
In 1920 the name reverted to the Physical Education Department. This name persisted until 1929, when the department was split into the Physical Education for Men Department and the Physical Department for Women Department. These two names were stable for fifty years. In 1979 the departments combined to form the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. In 1990 the name was modified to the School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services. This name persists to this day.
Elocution and Physical Culture
Physical Education for Men
Physical Education for Women
School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation
School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services