Induction into the Hall of Fame is an honor bestowed on graduates and friends of the College of Applied Science and Technology. Nominations are based on outstanding performance in one’s profession; demonstrated leadership; favorable statewide, national, or international recognition; honors from associations or employers; outstanding service to the institution; and recognition that one’s work has proven beneficial to a pronounced segment of society.
Representing the School of Kinesiology and Recreation as CAST’s Hall of Fame inductee this year was Jeff Sunderlin, (BS ’74 and MS ’77). Sunderlin serves as a program manager with the YMCA-USA Healthier Communities Initiative—Statewide Pioneering Healthier Communities, a position he has held since 2009.
Prior to accepting this position, he served as a public health administrator in the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control with the Illinois Department of Public Health for 18 years and with the Office of the Governor for four years prior to that. Before entering state government service, Sunderlin was the director of Sports Medicine, Cardiac Rehabilitation, and Adult Fitness at Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria and held a concurrent position as head athletic trainer at Bradley University.
He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in the School of Kinesiology and Recreation in 1974 and 1977 respectively. With more than 35 years of experience in the fields of exercise science, sports medicine, cardiac rehabilitation, and exercise, and sports marketing, Sunderlin has served on a variety of local, state, and national task forces and committees specific to these fields. Most notably, Sunderlin has served as a state liaison to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Nutrition and Physical Activity Workgroup, as a steering committee member of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, and as a member of the External Advisory Committee for the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children.
Sunderlin has also received a number of gubernatorial appointments to commissions on after-school programming, gangs, and alcohol and substance abuse targeting youth. He has a passion for issues surrounding developmentally appropriate physical activity in preschool populations and was instrumental in the creation of the Y-USA’s early childhood assessment component of the Community Healthy Living Index, a tool used by community coalitions throughout the country. Sunderlin has authored or coauthored numerous papers ranging from sports injury surveillance to innovative physical fitness programming initiatives for at-risk youth. He has made more than 300 presentations at national, regional and state meetings.
Married for 37 years, Jeff and his wife, Karen, a 1977 alumna, have three daughters: Becky, Rachel, and Brooke, who is a 2006 alumna. They also have four grandsons. In his spare time, Sunderlin enjoys running, pheasant and quail hunting, landscaping, home improvement projects, and spending time with the grandkids.