A Lasting Legacy: Celebrating the Career and Contributions of School of Kinesiology Director, Melinda Solmon, PhD

July 31, 2023

BATON ROUGE - Culminating more than 10 years of leadership and 29 years of service to LSU, the LSU School of Kinesiology bids farewell to a visionary leader, Melinda Solmon, PhD, who recently retired from her role as Director. With her unwavering dedication, profound expertise, and exemplary leadership, Dr. Solmon leaves an indelible mark on the field of Kinesiology and the LSU community.

A Trailblazing Career

“ Throughout Dr. Solmon’s career, she fostered the success and growth of the LSU School of Kinesiology, as well as tirelessly championing the importance of physical activity and health. ”

Her work significantly contributed to the advancement of the field of Kinesiology; whether it was through the more than 60 collegiate courses she taught over her career, her work for organizations like the Louisiana Special Olympics and the National Senior Games, or her membership on the Louisiana Council on Obesity Prevention and Management, Dr. Solmon showcased the vital impact of kinesiology on everyday life. 

Photo of Melinda SolmonDr. Solmon’s contributions to LSU have been recognized through numerous awards including the Roy Paul Daniels Professorship (2002);  H. M. "Hub” Award for Faculty Excellence, BASF Professor of Excellence Award (2013), College of Education Distinguished Faculty Research Award (2011), and the College of Human Sciences and Education Outstanding Faculty Service Award (2015), and an LSU Rainmaker Award in 2008, a prestigious honor that celebrates outstanding research, scholarship and creative activity, as well as their impact that work has had on the faculty members, their department, and their academic community. Dr. Solmon has also received national awards from professional organizations recognizing her scholarship and service including the Distinguished Service Award from the Research Council of SHAPE America (2015), Curriculum and Instruction Honor Award from the National Association for Physical Education and Sport (2011), and the 2007 Scholar Award from the Special Interest Group/Research on Learning and Instruction in Physical Education for AERA.  She was inducted into the National Academy of Kinesiology as an active fellow in 2006.

Contributions to Kinesiology

With more than 100 published research papers and book chapters and 130+ conference presentations at national and international meetings. Her research interests focus on factors that influence motivation in a broad range of physical activity settings, with the goal of learning how to structure environments that facilitate active engagement.

Dr. Solmon's commitment to service in the field of Kinesiology has been recognized through various leadership roles, including as a member of the American Kinesiology Association’s Board of Directors and on their executive committee as member-at-large and secretary. She also served as Chair and Program Chair for the Special Interest Group/Research on Learning and Instruction in Physical Education for AERA, as well as holding positions as Secretary, President-elect, President, and Past-President of the Research Consortium of AAHPERD. In 2020, she became the President-elect of the National Academy of Kinesiology will complete her term of office as Past-Present in September 2023.

Dedication to the LSU School of Kinesiology

While her academic achievements are extensive, Dr. Solmon's dedication to the LSU School of Kinesiology and its faculty and students has been unparalleled.

“ SOK faculty praised her consistent willingness to assist students in their research and academic careers, bolstering them to produce work of a high standard while supporting them throughout the process. A common theme when faculty were asked about Dr. Solmon’s leadership was that she was a “champion for the students” in this school. ”

During her tenure as Director, Dr. Solmon ensured an environment of success for the faculty at the School of Kinesiology as well. Faculty in the School of Kinesiology consistently win national and international awards for their research, garner grant investments from entities like the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense, and are invited to speak around the world. The faculty described Dr. Solmon as an invaluable mentor, resource, and friend to the department, emphasizing her unwavering commitment to equipping the faculty with the resources needed to deliver quality instruction and generate groundbreaking research.

Under Dr. Solmon's guidance, the school and its students have flourished, with Kinesiology becoming the largest undergraduate major at the university. Her visionary leadership created an environment that fosters growth, innovation and success.

A Legacy of Excellence

As Dr. Solmon embarks on a new chapter in her life, she leaves behind a remarkable legacy of excellence, compassion and dedication. Her unwavering commitment to advancing Kinesiology and improving the lives of others will continue to resonate within the LSU School of Kinesiology for generations to come. We will miss her steadfast leadership. All the best for Dr. Solmon on this next, and well-deserved, chapter.

Photos of Melinda Solmon at a conference, with a group of Chinese visiting students, being honored at the LSU Softball game, and at a tailgate.

About SOK

The LSU School of Kinesiology (SOK) advances the understanding of physical activity, sport, and health to optimize the quality of life for diverse populations through excellence in teaching, learning, discovery, and engagement. SOK offers a BS, MS, Online MS, PhD, and two certificate options. Graduates go on to successful careers in the health and fitness industry, corporate wellness, sport agencies and businesses, athletic administration, and K-12 educational settings. SOK is part of the College of Human Sciences & Education.

Visit the School of Kinesiology website.

About CHSE

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Information Studies, the School of Kinesiology the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree and/or certificate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,120 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.

Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education website.