It is with equal measures of joy and sadness that we celebrate Dr. Joseph O’Leary’s storied career and his retirement today.


Formerly Dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University, Professor and Department Head in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, and an Emeritus Professor at Purdue University, Joe has a prolific and distinguished publishing record in the tourism and recreation research areas with more than 250 publications. Joe has left an indelible mark on CSU and we could think of no better way to mark this bittersweet event than in the words of Dr. O’Leary himself:


“ I had done this academic stuff for almost 50 years.  I never set out to be a university professor or administrator—I was a first generation university student, my Father and Grandfather were New York City cops and I had actually quit university way back once upon a time when I was trying to sort out what to do.  I guess that was an early version of the “bridge period” that some students are doing these days.  I went back to play football in Canada (no ulterior academic agenda), and also played a little basketball, maybe not the ideal reasons for going to university.  But eventually stopped that and remembered there were classes to take.   Stayed there for 5 years and eventually went to graduate school. Once started, I guess I lost my mind and simply kept on going to a Ph.D.

The most significant part of being in the university was working with faculty, staff and students.  They made enormous differences in my life over the years and any success I had was almost always because of their contributions.  My wife and kids were also there and their patience (they had to have a lot with me) helped things move forward.”


Thank you Joe. You will be dearly missed.

Learn More about Joe and illustrious career!