The role and rights of international fellows in the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK) have generated much current debate. As NAK works to define its mission and membership in the 21st century, to adjust its traditions and constitution to new realities that make global interchanges far more convenient than they were in 1926 when the society began, many of the members struggle with balancing the rewards of change against the recompenses of continuity. In this context, NAK President Bradley Cardinal approached me to collaborate with him in exploring how the history of NAK might shed light on our current debates. What our history reveals is that the academy has always struggled to be national institution that lives in an international world. Whether we should move in a different direction remains in the hands of the members.
The author is Fellow No. 539 and historian of the National Academy of Kinesiology. He is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.