The Human Performance Laboratory was founded by a gentleman and a scholar named Dr. John M. Kelly, known to his friends as Jack. Jack arrived in Minnesota in 1969 to develop and strengthen the sport science classes in the Health, Recreation and Physical Education Department at St. Cloud State University . During his first decade at the university, Jack developed high quality undergraduate courses in anatomy, kinesiology, physiology and exercise physiology. Jack was known throughout his teaching career as a master teacher, with his exercise physiology course being a favorite among students from many different departments.
In 1972 Jack along with Dr. Thomas Luby and several other St. Cloud physicians started a 10 year study to document the benefits of physical activity on cardiovascular health. In this study, they monitored the health of 100 physically active and 60 sedentary community members. Over time Jack became increasingly more interested in the service component of the laboratory.
This evolved into an Adult Fitness Program that is still vibrant today and remains a valuable asset to the community and a crucial part of the training of our exercise physiology graduate students. It was Jack's goal to help interested individuals develop healthier lifestyles. Indeed, Jack's influence is still at work today as hundreds of university employees, St. Cloud community members, graduate students and Human Performance Lab faculty live more physically active lives than they may have otherwise.
The heart and soul of the lab is its Exercise Science graduate program. Jack started the program in the late 1970's as a “special studies” master's degree. It remained so until 1993 when it formally became an Exercise Science degree with emphases in biomechanics and exercise physiology. This was made possible, in part, with the addition of two new faculty; Glenn Street , a biomechanist, in 1987 and Dave Bacharach, an exercise physiologist in 1989. Upon Jack's retirement in 1997, the lab hired John Seifert, an exercise physiologist. The glue that has held the lab together has been our secretarial support. Linda Bettison served from 1980 to 1982, before Barb Kunze took over in 1982 to the present. Barb remains a favorite second mother to our alumni and keeps the lab “running” smoothly.
In the early 1970's the Human Performance Lab started as a small room in Halenbeck Hall with only a few pieces of test equipment. In 1980 a new Human Performance Lab (2600sq.ft.) was built. This is the same facility in use today and includes the following rooms: treadmill, body composition, shower, patient preparation, computer/biomechanics, blood chemistry, conference, and graduate student and faculty/staff offices. With the expanded facility and the addition of faculty, the amount of equipment has grown.