J. Robert Rossman has been designing and staging events and programs for over 50 years as a practitioner, scholar, and consultant. His early career assignments included serving as an arts and crafts instructor, camp counselor, lifeguard, swim instructor, and pool manager. His professional career included serving as a community center director and assistant director of recreation for the Village of Oak Park, Illinois. He has operated numerous events and programs during his career including university and college commencements, band concerts, art shows, sport events, Science and Technology Week at Illinois State University, family reunions, and church dinners.
During his tenure as a faculty member, Rossman held academic appointments at five institutions where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses on designing and staging recreation programs. He earned the rank of professor and has served for 13 years as a department chair and 10 years as dean. At Illinois State University, he holds the rank of professor and dean emeritus.
He has given keynote addresses and educational workshops on programming to a variety of organizations in the U.S. and abroad. He has worked with Morale, Welfare, and Recreation operations for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Army to help improve their programming practices. During the past few years, he delivered invited addresses about programming to groups in Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand including the New Zealand Recreation Association Annual Conference and the annual conference of the New Zealand Association of Event Professionals.
He recently completed a 3 year appointment as a Visiting Professor at Texas A&M University and continues as an author, speaker, and consultant about designing, staging, and managing programmed experiences.
He is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the Academy of Leisure Sciences, and the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, which has elected him as a Legend in Parks and Recreation for outstanding contributions to the field.