The Recreation program offered its first classes in Fall 1960 under the guidance of Dr. Bill Niepoth. By June 1963, the first Recreation majors were graduating from, what was known as California State College at Hayward. In 1963, the College President established the official Recreation Department and Dr. Niepoth was appointed as Chair of the Department and held that position until 1974 when he resigned and Dr. Susan Sunderland was appointed chair, serving in that role until 2003.
During those years, the department changed names a few times to keep pace with the changing needs of the recreation, and later recreation therapy industry. In 2003, with the retirement of Dr. Sunderland, Dr. Melany Spielman was elected chair and soon after pioneered online instruction in addition to adding Hospitality and Tourism to the program.
With Dr. Spielman's retirement in 2015, Dr. Chris Chamberlain was elected the fourth chair in the department's history and inherited the program we have today- a robust, diverse group of majors leading the way in Hospitality, Recreation, Tourism and Recreation Therapy at CSU East Bay. With over 350 majors, two bachelor degree programs and one master's degree program, HRT is on a path to continue to grow and meet the needs of the leisure industry in one of the greatest places in the world to enjoy Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism.