Dickens earns Dunaway Medal for meritorious service


NATCHITOCHES – The Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) awarded Dr. Bill Dickens the Southern District Donna L. Dunaway Medal.  The Medal is the highest award that can be bestowed upon a member by the SHAPE Southern District and recognizes individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions and given meritorious service to the Southern District over a significant period of time.


The medal was presented at the SHAPE National Convention in Tampa, Florida, April 11 Prior to Dickens, there have been only seven recipients of the award.


To qualify for the Donna L. Dunaway Medal, individuals must be a noteworthy leader and a significant contributor to the work of Southern District;  have exemplified long term and meritorious service to Southern District for a minimum period of 15 years and be a person of high moral character whose contributions have emulated the spirit of service, dedication and the highest work ethic that the Dunaway Medal represents.  Candidates are at least 45 years of age, must have been a member of Southern District for a minimum period of 15 years prior to being nominated for the award and reside in the Southern District at the time of the award.


Dickens has been an educator, scholar, researcher and coach for 52 years.  He retired from Northwestern State University’s Department of Health and Human Performance as Professor Emeritus in 2016 following years of service to the department, to NSU, to Southern District of SHAPE America, to the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (LAHPERD), which he served as executive director, and to the profession at large.


Dickens was on faculty at NSU for 28 years during which time he twice served as department head, as well as on numerous administrative committees.   Dickens earned numerous honors from the Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (APHERD) during his career for his advancement of professions related to health and human performance.


Dickens has been involved in numerous youth, athletic, civic and service organizations.  Among his many other noteworthy services, he was the manager of the American Red Cross Disaster Shelter set up in NSU’s Health and Human Performance Building that housed more than 1,200 evacuees for several weeks following Hurricane Katrina.

Dickens’ colleagues laud him as an encourager, a scholar and a teacher passionate about the field of physical education.


Following his retirement, Dickens has remained involved at NSU as an adjunct instructor, teaching classes that prepare students in Health and Human Performance for their next step as they pursue careers as teachers, physical therapists, wellness specialists, coaches and other health specialties.