2 bicyclists riding on a country road

Recreation, Sport & Tourism

Promote environmental stewardship. Lead social and economic development. Study management and marketing.


Recreation Sport and Tourism graduates go into career fields that create environments that foster health, enjoyment, and entertainment.

Recreation, sport and tourism (RST) offer outstanding career prospects because they are each facets of the world’s largest and fastest growing industry. U.S. government statistics show that public and private recreation are among the most dynamic industries in the United States, contributing over $90 billion annually to national GDP, and with a better-than-average projected demand for new employees over the next decade.

Forbes magazine reports that the sport industry in North America is one of the fastest growing. It projects that by 2019 North American sport will be worth almost $75 billion. Tourism has the world’s largest economic impact, accounting for almost 10% to the world’s economic activity each year.

It is no wonder that 3 out of every 4 Illinois RST graduates are employed in the industry within a few months of graduation. Others are continuing to develop their skills by enrolling for graduate training because an Illinois degree from RST provides outstanding preparation for graduate school. The prospects for exciting and lucrative careers in recreation, sport and tourism have never been better.

The Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism is internationally renowned for its excellence, low student-faculty ratio, ethnic and cultural diversity, and an extensive alumni network. In short, studying RST at the University of Illinois is the ideal way to prepare for a future of leadership in the world’s most vigourous and exhilarating industry.

For More Information:
Gretchen Adams
(217) 333-2130

These careers include:

  • Event management

  • Professional sports administration

  • Physical activity and health publishing

  • Law

  • Resort administration

  • Sports marketing

  • Park district administration 

  • Visitor’s Bureau Director

  • Park Ranger


Here are just a few of the organizations that employ RST graduates. RST graduates have also created successful startups such as: All Sports Series, B2 Enterprises, LK Events,
and Plan Ahead Events.

  • American Airlines

  • Arista Records

  • Boise Park System

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America

  • Charlotte Hornets

  • Chicago Blackhawks

  • Darden Restaurants

  • Denver Sports Commission

  • Environmental Protection Agency

  • Hilton Hotels Corporation

  • Illinois Department of Human Services

  • John Elway Corporation

  • Lake County Forest Preserve District

  • Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

  • Los Angeles Zoo

  • McCormick Place

  • Meadows Country Club

  • Motorola

  • National Park Service

  • New England Patriots

  • Norwegian Cruise Lines

  • National Collegiate Athletic Association

  • NFL Network

  • Pac 12 Sports Network

  • PGA

  • Proctor & Gamble

  • SmithBucklin

  • St. Louis Cardinals

  • Ticketmaster

  • United Way

  • United States Olympic Committee

  • Vail Recreation District

  • Youth for Understanding

Alumni in the workforce

  • Jordan Abdel-Haq
    B.S. 2009

    Executive Director
    Illinois Junior Golf Association

  • Elsa Fischer
    B.S. 1985

    Superintendent of Leisure Services
    Glenview Park District

  • Mark Thomas
    B.S. 1975

    Western District Director
    New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation

  • Jayne DeLuce

    Jayne DeLuce

    President & CEO of Visit Champaign County

    A two-time graduate of the University of Illinois, Jayne DeLuce is president and CEO of Visit Champaign County, the official tourism destination marketing and management organization for Champaign County. She served as sports planning manager and director of aquatics for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, was director of the Broward Sports Festival in South Florida, helped grow local alumni clubs with the University of Illinois Alumni Association, and helped lead University of Illinois Campus Recreation for more than 10 years. Jayne has written numerous articles in state and national publications and has presented at the National Recreation and Park Association Conference.

  • Gina Seghetti

    Gina Seghetti

    Class of 2018

    Company/Organization: ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Peoria IL

    Current Position: Regional Development Representative

    Email: gina.seghetti@stjude.org

    Phone Number: (309) 265-4372

    Coolest Thing About Your Job & Why:
    As a representative for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, it is pretty incredible to have the opportunity to spread the mission of St. Jude to thousands of people throughout Central and Southern Illinois. My office hosts over 160 fundraising events each year to help make sure no family will ever receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food… because all a parent should worry about is helping their child live. I love fundraising for the kids of St. Jude to help ensure that one day no child will die from cancer.

  • LaWanda H. Cook

    LaWanda H. Cook

    Class of 2011

    Company/Organization: Cornell University

    Current Position: Extension Faculty/K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability

    Email: LHC62@CORNELL.EDU

    Phone Number: 607-255-6690

    Coolest Thing About Your Job & Why:
    I get to lead, contribute to, and learn from a variety of projects. There are many opportunities to consider leisure and wellness in the work we do, but this was not well understood when I started. I helped establish a “healthy living” focus area within the Yang Tan Institute. I have been able to do research, training, and program evaluation related to inclusive fitness, workplace wellness, work-life balance, and increased access to outdoor recreation for people with disabilities and racial/ethnic minority group members.