MORGANTOWN , W.Va.After nearly three decades of service to West Virginia University and to the state, Ware Distinguished Professor Dr. Linda Carson is retiring from teaching.


Carson left Purdue University in 1979 to join the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences. In 1980, she developed the first of many learning laboratories for WVU students and required them to assist inactive learningplay classes offered on campus for young children and their families.


Many hundreds of families have participated in childrens programs developed by Carson and many students have benefited from her professional preparations. Carson often told her students that the best professors they will ever have are the preschool children they meet through their course work.


Dr. Carsons positive impact on the College, the University and the state is hard to measure. The students, who participated in the learning laboratories, were eager to experience the unique first-hand opportunities provided through the program,said Dana Brooks, dean of the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences.


Carson was the recipient of WVU s Outstanding Teacher Award, the Patch Award for Outstanding Community Service, the Eugene M. Fuller Award for the Most Outstanding Recreation Programs in West Virginia, WVAHPERD Honor Award for Distinguished Professional Service, National Honor Award for Excellence in Partnering from US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, and the NAGWS Pathfinder Award for her career contribution to the well-being and skill development of young children.


Carson developed award-winning physical activity programs for infants, babies, toddlers, pre-school, and elementary school-age children in both land-based and water-based learning environments, earning recognition for involving family members as play partners. The signature feature of Carsons play programs is a character named Choosy who promotes healthy decision making by children and grownups. Choosy has been successfully introduced as a messenger for awareness and prevention for a public health issue that threatens the quality of life of children and their families, not only in West Virginia, but in every area of the country. More information about Choosy can be found at www.choosykids.com


Carson is recognized for designing innovative childrens programs with a focus on healthy living and active learning. Carson was a lead trainer forI Am Moving, I Am Learning,an obesity prevention initiative for the national Office of Head Start, which gained national recognition from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Carson is serving on the training team forLittle Voices for Healthy Choices,a national obesity prevention initiative introduced in 2008 for Early Head Start programs. Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive child development and school readiness programs serving low income children and their families.


Another role Carson will continue in after retirement is serving on the leadership team of WV Games for Health, which is a series of statewide projects that have utilized total body video games to enhance health indicators of school-age children. Calledexergaming,this initiative increases physical activity levels as a direct result of active video game playing. The WV Games for Health project, the first of its kind, is providing teacher training and active video game equipment for every school in the state of West Virginia.