Uncategorized

Meet Norm Parsons, Wellness Center Director

At 4 a.m., some UM students are just heading to bed. However, Wellness Center director Norm Parsons is just waking up. Though most would cringe at the idea of a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. workday, Parsons feels that his 39 years of early mornings have been worth it.

“I love the students. I also love to help our patrons understand how to live a higher quality life,” he said.

Parsons started his fitness career as a member of his college ROTC at West Virginia University. After getting his masters at WVU, he decided to stay and work with intramural sports there. He then worked for two years at the University of Michigan before deciding to leave the snow behind and move to Miami.

When Parsons first arrived at UM, he had a much smaller fitness area to work with.

“Our Department of Campus Sports and Recreation was basically only intramurals, special events, club sports, and an old gym called the Lane Recreation Center which had two basketball courts, two saunas, two small weight rooms and locker rooms,” said Rhonda DuBord, the associate director of the Department of Wellness and Recreation.

Now, weight machines line the walls of the center. Indoor basketball courts share the same floor as classrooms that hold programs like zumba and yoga. The center has been making great strides since 1972; most recently, an 18,000 square-foot expansion opened in February 2011. The Wellness Center added 7,000 square feet to the fitness room. The expansion  also includes two new multi-purpose rooms, a Pilates studio with five reformer machines, and a cycling studio  with a video wall, special lighting, and a state-of-the-art sound system.

Though the new addition is a major change Norm has brought to the Wellness Center, he has always strived for continuous improvement through numerous smaller changes.

Senior Eric Hahn, who used and worked at the Center, experienced Norm’s passion for the Wellness Center firsthand.

“Last year I was really frustrated with a lot of things at the gym. People would walk underneath cables when I was doing cable crossovers, no one was re-racking weights, and I almost lost a toe because someone came close to dropping an 100-pound dumbbell on my foot. I filed a complaint card, and about a week later Parsons replied asking how the Center could correct some of these problems. It made me look at him in a whole different light,” Hahn said last year.

Parsons has also pushed for programs that do more than just tone muscles.

“A wellness center should help students spiritually, intellectually, socially and emotionally,” he said.

Programs unrelated to exercise, like cooking classes and smoking cessation courses, promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle outside the gym.

Though the center has gone through significant changes, Parsons’ dedication to exercise has not. Despite having knee surgery, he continues to play golf and cycle.

As a member of Iron Arrow, Parsons understands the importance of academics.

“Students can get a good education at the U, but they can get their life at the Wellness Center. Students have to be selfish-if they don’t take care of themselves, no one else will,” he said.

Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Pat Whitely has worked with Parsons for 15 years.

“Norm has changed the vision of wellness at UM,” she said.

May 3, 2011

Reporters

Kylie Banks

Staff Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

University of Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier has had another unfortunate setback, effectively side ...

The calmest coach on the planet got mad Friday after football practice. University of Miami coach Ma ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.