Brett Wright

Brett Wright

Dr. Brett Wright is a professor and an active researcher concerning park management issues, community impacts, and the importance of nature-based play for children. He is also the Chairman of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at Clemson University and the Co-Chairman of the US Play Coalition hosted by Clemson University.1

Dr. Wright's professional career began in 1975 with his Bachelor of Arts degree in Outdoor Recreation from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. He continued at Morehead State University for his Masters degree in Adult and Continuing Education with an emphasis in Recreation Administration, which he received in 1976.2

Nine years later, in 1985, Dr. Wright earned his Doctoral degree in Recreation and Resources Development from Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas. By that time he was also a part time instructor in the Department of Recreation and Parks at Texas A & M University.3

Dr. Wright's interest in teaching continued as he became first an Assistant Professor and then an Associate Professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Over the sixteen years he was at George Mason University, Dr. Wright taught in the Department of Health, Sport and Leisure Studies, directed the Center for Recreation Resources Policy, was an Affiliate Faculty for the Environmental Science and Public Policy Program in the Department of Biology, and chaired the Department of Health, Fitness and Recreation Resources.4

Beginning in 2002, Dr. Wright became a Professor and Chair of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (PRTM) at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina. Clemson's PRTM Department was established in 1966 and is one of the largest and oldest university parks and recreation departments in North America.5

Besides publishing extensively on park management issues, Dr. Wright has conducted over 20 park needs assessments and has conducted social science research for the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and local park and recreation agencies.6

In 2008, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration admitted Dr. Wright as a Fellow, where he became one of 125 practicing professionals who have served at least 15 years in upper administration or higher education. Dr. Wright is the former chair of the National Park Service Academic Leadership Consortium.7

With a grant from the National Park Service in 2010, Dr. Wright and colleagues initiated the Open Parks Grid project, which is designed to facilitate the exchange of information and solutions between national, state, and local parks across the southeast region of the United States. The grid collects, classifies, searches, and disseminates “just-in-time knowledge” to assist park managers.8

The Summit on the Value of Play conference was held at Clemson University in 2009, at which the US Play Coalition: A Partnership to Promote the Value of Play Throughout Life was created. As a co-founder and co-chairman of the US Play Coalition, Dr. Wright is committed to assisting people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities in incorporating play into their daily lives. He has also spoken in support of the No Child Left Inside Act, the First Lady's Let’s Move campaign, the America's Great Outdoors initiative, and the Children & Nature Network organization.9

One year after founding the US Play Coalition, when Marsha Ward, a Clemson alumna, established the Marsh A. Ward '79 Fellowship Endowment for Play at Clemson University, Dr. Wright declared, “We believe that play is a basic human need and the foundation of strong intellectual, physical and emotional development. It is essential to a person reaching their full potential.”10

  • 1. “Brett A. Wright, Ph.D.” Email to Playground Professionals. 31 Oct. 2011.
  • 2. “Curriculum Vita: Brett A. Wright.” Email to Playground Professionals. 2 Nov. 2011.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. “Mainella joins PRTM faculty.” Clemson University. < > 21 Nov. 2011.
  • 6. “Brett A. Wright, Ph.D.” Leadership for Public Lands and Cultural Heritage. < > 21 Nov. 2011.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. “Clemson, National Park Service create information-sharing grid for park managers, users, researchers.” Clemson University. <> 21 Nov. 2011.
  • 9. “Coalition Co-Chair Presents on Why Child's Play Isn't so Simple Anymore.” US Play Coalition. July 2011 Newsletter. < > 21 Nov. 2011.
  • 10. Sykes, Hannah. “Clemson alumna establishes fellowship for play.” Clemson University. 8 Jun 2010. < > 21 Nov. 2011.