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2018 Inductees

2018 Inductees


John Bell
BS - Recreation, 2003

  • Recreation Program Supervisor – Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site, Topeka, KS
  • 2014 - One of Topeka’s “20 under 40” by the Jayhawk area Council for Commitment and Contributions Professionally and Personally
  • Created the “Friends of Ward-Mead,” an organization for fundraising and preservation of Ward-Meade Historic Site


Keita Koyama
MS - Athletic Training, 2003

Keita Koyama graduated Rissho University in Tokyo, Japan in 2000 with Japanese Faculty of Law degree. He was a talented baseball player and enjoyed many interesting experiences through his sport.  He was a member of the All-Japan collegiate team, playing against the NCAA All-American collegiate team as a senior. As with many former athletes who become Athletic Trainers, an injury caused Koyama to be sidelined. After going through this injury, he decided to come to ESU with a desire to better understand the physical and mental side of rehabilitation.

Koyama joined the Athletic Training Program here in 2001. He quickly found his way, being a hard worker and motivated student. Legendary Athletic Trainer “Doc” Baxter commented, “Keita’s personal qualities are of the highest nature. His work ethic and desire to learn and develop are the best I have seen in years.”  Also, “Keita progressed rapidly throughout the semester. He is a person that will succeed in whatever he does” as usual, Doc was right.

Koyama was the first international student from ESU to take and pass the Board of Certification Examination. After graduating from ESU he continued his education from 2006-2008 as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Central Michigan University completing his Exercise Science degree.  

Along his professional path, Koyama was an intern with the Atlanta Braves (2002), the Kansas City Royals (2007), and served as the head athletic trainer with the Japan National Baseball Team (2002-2006). Since 2009, he has been an assistant professor at Rissho University in Japan. He has served as the Sports Medicine Director of Tohto University Conference, and a Doping Control Officer with the Japan National Olympic Committee. He is a member of the Japan Sports History Society, Japan Athletic Trainers Organization, and National Athletic Trainers’ Association among others.

Some of Koyama’s most recent work involves working with over 100,000 Japanese children through various projects. He goes into elementary, and pre-schools promoting play, and the importance of it on the development of children’s brains, bodies and motor skills, which affect their lives. His work with children who have autism or other disorders is especially important to him. His research has led to him inventing a ball that more effectively improves motor skills and brain functions in children. These children also tend to enjoy the activities, motivating them to play. He has collaborated with researchers at the University of Southern California, Northern Iowa University, and Kyoto University.


Dr. Jodie Leiss
BSE - Physical Education, 2003
MS - Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, 2006

  • Assistant Professor at Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, MO
  • 2004 Young Professional Award, Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance (KAHPERD)
  • 2009-2010 President of Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance (KAHPERD)
  • 2011 Vicki J. Worrell Service Award, Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance (KAHPERD) 
  • 2011 Past President Award, Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance (KAHPERD) 


Edna McCullough
BSE - Physical Education, 1915
ESU HPER Faculty Member, 1922-1961

  • 1920 – First Secretary-Treasurer of Kansas Physical Education Association
  • 1920 - Part of drafting the KPEA constitution as well as proposal requiring physical education in all Kansas public elementary and secondary schools
  • 1929 – Met as part of the first Executive Committee of the Kansas State Physical Education Association, drawing up constitution for all physical education directors
  • 1941 – President, Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance (KAHPERD)
  • 1954 – Central District Honor Award

Edna McCullough was inducted posthumously for being an early pioneer in physical education at Emporia State University. McCullough started teaching physical education at Emporia State in 1915. In 1922, she became the head of ESU's women’s physical education department and served until her retirement in 1961. Her span of 46 years was the longest tenure of any woman in ESU history at the time.

In 1920, she became the first secretary-treasurer of the Kansas PE association. She was a member of the executive committee that proposed requiring physical education in all Kansas schools. She served as Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance (KAHPERD) president in 1941 and was the recipient of the Central District Honor Award.


Dr. Joella Mehrhof
HPER Professor

Joella Mehrhof, PhD, was a professor and the graduate advisor in the Department of HPER at Emporia State University until her retirement in 2018. She taught graduate and undergraduate classes in the areas of pedagogy, sport history, dance, ethics, and research.

Dr. Mehrhof received her doctorate degree from the University of Kansas; her master's degree from Colorado State University; and her undergraduate degree from Missouri Western State College.  

She presented over 150 times at various conferences, in-services, and workshops. She authored 15 books and several journal articles. She served in professional leadership roles at the national, regional, and state levels.

Dr. Mehrhof received several state and regional professional awards, as well as national awards for student mentorship and for teaching/service.

At Emporia State, she served as President of the ESU Faculty, received the Ervay Award for Applied Scholarship, been awarded the Xi Phi Outstanding Faculty Award, and received the Roe R. Cross Award, the highest level faculty award offered at Emporia State.

During her 30 years at Emporia State, Dr. Mehrhof has served on almost every major university committee including serving nine years as the chair of the HPER department.


Gary Smith
MS - Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, 1967

  • Retired HPER Faculty Member
  • 1967 Outstanding Young Educator in Rice County
  • 1969 Awarded Education Professions Development Act Grant
  • Created “Sharing Day” Workshops with Bill Stinson
  • 1991 President Award, Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance (KAHPERD)
  • 1993 Hunter’s International Outdoor Leadership Workshop