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Photo courtesy of the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity

Distinguished Alumna was adapted physical activity pioneer

Claudine Sherrill, EdD, BS ’55, was known around the world as the “mother of adapted physical activity.” After earning her bachelor's in physical education from Texas Woman’s, she went on to earn both her MS and EdD in physical education from Columbia University in New York City. After teaching at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, at City College of New York, Barnard, and in New York public schools, Sherrill returned to Texas Woman’s in 1961 as faculty in the kinesiology department.

Sherrill’s research focused on changing behaviors and attitudes toward individuals with disabilities through physical activity. She published more than 160 journal articles mainly focused on prejudice, social justice and inclusion. She authored numerous books on adapted physical activity, including the 6th edition of “Adapted Physical Activity, Recreation, and Sport: Crossdisciplinary and Lifespan,” which is known as a quintessential publication on the subject. In 1991, Sherrill was recognized as the inaugural recipient of the Elly D. Friedmann Award for Outstanding Adapted Physical Activity Contributions.

Sherrill was known for her dedicated service to her professional community, demonstrating her belief in the importance of creating a bridge between professionals through her actions. She was a member of the Council for Exceptional Children and the Society of Health and Physical Educators, and held several leadership roles for the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity. She also served on multiple professional editorial boards, including as the issues editor for "PALAESTRA" and editor and associate editor for “Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly.”

She earned many other accolades throughout her career, including the Hollis Fait Scholar Award, the Laurence Rarick Outstanding Researcher Award and the TWU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award. She also received an honorary doctorate in 2004 from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland.

Throughout her 40+ years of service to Texas Woman’s, Sherrill taught biomechanics, research, elementary school physical education and adapted physical education methods. She was the first faculty member to receive a federal grant for adapted physical education, and she was proud to have played a key role in the founding of the university’s specialization for the subject in 1972.

Upon her retirement in 2014, Sherrill earned the title of Professor Emerita. In May 2020, she passed away, leaving a legacy of leadership, dedication and service to her profession. She is remembered as an exceptional teacher and caring individual who made an impact that extends beyond the lives that she touched.