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The Student Body: Doc Hitchcock and Physical Education in the Connecticut River Valley

Reunion Weekend 2013

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Dr. Edward "Doc" Hitchcock Jr. (Class of 1849) is remembered as a pioneer in the introduction of health services and physical education at Amherst, at the forefront of a movement on college campuses to promote the integration of mind and body. Hitchcock's innovations were part of a larger focus on physical education across the region—including William Naismith's invention of basketball at the Springfield YMCA and the introduction of physical education at Smith College, where the first women's college basketball game was played. Local sports history provides a uniquely rich window into the social ideologies that informed the introduction of athletics in American colleges and also a context in which to understand the current prominence of athletic competition at Amherst—something Doc Hitchcock surely would bemoan. Explore pieces of Amherst College and regional history with Robert T. Hayashi, assistant professor of English and American Studies.

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