Campus Life

UWF names new director of recreation

The University of West Florida selected Brent Parmer as the new director of recreation. Parmer will lead the Department of Recreation beginning Jan. 6, 2020.

“With student well-being, health and safety being a top priority at UWF, the director of recreation plays an important role in the holistic health of all students,” said Dr. Michele Manassah, executive director for Counseling, Health and Wellness Services. “Brent’s experience includes 18 years in higher education administration and 20 years in the health, fitness and wellness industry. I am confident that Brent’s leadership will be an asset to UWF and look forward to welcoming him to campus in January.”

As director of recreation, Parmer will provide an innovative vision and leadership to all areas of the department, which includes a comprehensive array of programs, facilities and services. His role includes ensuring that recreation programs engage participants, promote health and wellness and provide diverse opportunities for learning. Additionally, he will administer facility policies, procedures and risk management practices while overseeing a budget of $1.7 million.

With extensive experience in higher education and the fitness industry, Parmer’s passion for his profession is motivated by positive people looking to better themselves through fitness.

“The energy that comes with a university recreation center is very contagious,” Parmer said. “It is very easy to get motivated or inspired by the stories being told through patrons’ journeys to living healthier lifestyles.”

He says that campus recreation offers students experiences that they will remember for a lifetime.

“Their favorite group fitness class, winning an intramural championship, going on an outdoor adventure trip to a place they had never been before; those are events that will have a positive impact on students, establish a lifelong connection to the University and can make them great ambassadors for UWF well after their time on campus,” Parmer said.

Parmer has a bachelor’s degree in corporate and community fitness from North Dakota State University and a master’s degree in exercise physiology from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. In his most recent role as the executive director of campus life at Eastern Kentucky University, he oversaw the departments of campus recreation, office of multicultural student affairs, student life and first year experience. He also has served on a number of university committees. Parmer has helped oversee the construction of a $40 million recreation center, a $28 million student center renovation at EKU and a $12 million addition to the wellness center at NDSU.

In June 2016, Parmer received the highest civilian honor the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky can bestow—Kentucky Colonel—for noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or nation. He was nominated by EKU President Michael T. Benson. After a successful college athletic and coaching career while at NDSU, Parmer was inducted into NDSU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017 for his accomplishments.

“I’m looking forward to bringing my perspective to what is already happening at UWF Recreation,” Parmer said. “The staff and the programs in place provide great opportunities for UWF students to have an impactful experience outside of the classroom. My hope is that I can encourage new or innovative programming so UWF can continue to strive to be leaders in the state and region when it comes to campus recreation.”

For more information about the UWF Department of Recreation, visit