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Lupton Pavilion to be Dedicated at Horn Field Campus Oct. 21
Illinois Ag Connection - 09/28/2022

A ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for the Dr. Frank Lupton Pavilion at Horn Field Campus will begin at 4 p.m. Oct. 21 with remarks at 4:15 p.m.

The event is hosted by the Western Illinois University Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration. It will be held rain or shine.

Lupton, also known as "Doc," was a professor emeritus from WIU's RPTA program, who retired in 1993. He passed away in March 2021, and, since then, numerous memorials to him have been placed at Horn Field Campus and its outdoor classroom, funded by many alumni and friends of Doc and Horn. The memorials will stand strongly for years in his honor to carry on his optimistic legacy of working with people in nature.

"Doc was a mentor to many," said WIU alumnus Mike Robson, ECOEE '76. "He was a one-of-a-kind professor. His love of the outdoors, and of teaching, was infectious. The ECOEE experience was one of the best life experiences, learning more than just the outdoors. The pavilion that is named in his honor will continue his dream of teaching the outdoors to many."

Lupton was the acting chair of RPTA from 1972-73, and was named as chair in 1980. He was known as a national leader in outdoor recreation programming, the American Camping Association, and co-founder of the Wilderness Education Association. As the founder of WIU's Environmental, Conservation and Outdoor Education Expedition (ECOEE), he led numerous trips across the country in this semester-long academic program. Successful completion of ECOEE resulted in earning the Wilderness Steward Certification. Western Illinois University is nationally recognized for its outdoor leadership curriculum.

During his time at WIU, Lupton was co-author of a proposal to develop Horn Field Campus into an environmental education center. Horn currently serves thousands of visitors annually, including WIU students and faculty, local and regional middle and high school students, and several community college groups and neighboring university groups. The setting is also popular for community group leadership retreats and adventure recreation activities, serving as a resource for WIU in recruitment and retention.

Interim RPTA Chair Michael Lukkarinen said Lupton was a pioneer in the field of outdoor education and a key member at the inception of what is now the RPTA department.

"The dedication of the pavilion in his honor is a small, but appropriate way, to recognize his impact on the field, the department and the University," said Lukkarinen. "I am sure he is looking down on Horn Field Campus and saying, 'The sun is shining and the birds are singing. It's a great day to be alive.'"

After the ceremony, everyone is invited to join the All Alumni Homecoming social at 5 p.m. at the Alumni House.


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