For over 23 years, Judy Patterson Wright, PhD, has lived her personal mission, along with that of her employer, Human Kinetics, by helping people live more physically active lives.
This week marks the end of an era as Dr. Wright prepares to retire. She began work at Human Kinetics in 1986 as a developmental editor, working with Rainer Martens who then served as acquisitions editor for all of Human Kinetics. Since that time, Dr. Wright has progressed to the title of acquisitions editor, acquiring books across several interest areas: motor behavior (i.e., motor learning, motor development, and motor control), aging and physical activity, and dance (both academic and trade titles). While at Human Kinetics, she developed the format for the Steps to Success activity series, which is now a very strong presence in the trade market, and wrote the very popular Social Dance: Steps to Success, now in its second edition. She also developed strong undergraduate and graduate textbooks in each of her areas of interest.
Dr. Wright grew up in Ohio, taking classes in tap dance, some ballet, jazz, and baton twirling. She competed and then judged baton twirling, winning five state titles for twirling and strutting, including Miss Majorette of Ohio in 1965 and Miss Greater Akron within the Miss America pageant. For more than 10 years, Dr. Wright owned a baton twirling studio and directed a drum and baton corps of over 85 boys and girls, who marched in parades each summer. Her Senior Royal Ju-dells were the 1970 Senior Parade Corps national champions.
Dr. Wright attended Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, earning a bachelor of science degree in English with a physical education minor and a specialization in dance. She earned a master of arts degree in physical education; her thesis was on the perceptual aspects of learning a dance sequence. She then embarked on a career in academics, teaching all forms of dance, physical education, and health for over 13 years at three universities: Walsh College in North Canton, Ohio; the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received a PhD in motor learning and motor development from the University of Illinois in 1981.
In addition to her work at Human Kinetics, Dr. Wright, along with her husband, Sam Wright, now teaches, coaches, judges, and competes in dance, winning numerous titles. They coteach the movement skills for dance course at the University of Illinois, adult ballroom classes at Richland Community College, and private and small-group classes in their home studio, the Wright Way Dance Studio. There, they specialize in couples’ dances across a wide range of styles: ballroom, Latin, swing, country, club, and line dancing.
Congratulations, Dr. Wright, on your retirement! We wish you the best and will miss seeing your smiling face in the Human Kinetics hallways!