Dr. Dan Yoder’s parents and grandparents were excellent role models, teaching him the value of hard work and living a full life. Some of his early jobs were driving tractors and being a plumber’s assistant at the young age of ten. He recollects, “My grandfather encouraged me to really experience the world of the outdoors. He always took my brother and me fishing. Sometimes he would even take us out of school! He would always say, ‘There is a life out there and you have got to live it.’ Those are such fond memories for me.”
These life lessons fostered in Dr. Yoder an interest in earning degrees in leisure studies. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado, and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. His wife Sheryl left her job in Colorado to move their young family to Illinois while Dr. Yoder worked toward his doctorate. His career brought the family back to Colorado where he worked with the area’s city parks as recreation director, which included working with the handicapped.
Dr. Yoder started teaching at WIU in 1994, where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in the RPTA Department. He served as the graduate coordinator from 2005 to 2013. He became the intern department chair in June of 2013 and chair in 2015. Dr. Yoder is the co-author of the 2005 publication, “Issues in Recreation and Leisure: Ethical Decision Making,” and has presented at national and state conferences on a variety of topics related to the RPTA field.
Dr. Yoder is active in the McDonough County community and is known for his work as a conservationist, beekeeper, and volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Research assistance provided by WIU RPTA student Kate Van Sloten.