National Fitness Hall of Fame Museum & Institute

Educate * Motivate * Inspire

Thomas K. Cureton, PhD

2015 NFHOF Inductee

“The Father of Physical Fitness”



Hometown: Philadelphia, PA


Dr. Thomas K. Cureton, Jr. - (1901-1992)  Professor Cureton is often referred to as "The Father of Physical Fitness," Professor Cureton, who taught at the University of Illinois from 1941 to 1969, lectured at physical fitness institutes around the world. He wrote or was the co-author of 50 books and many articles. At the University of Illinois he was responsible for the development and leadership of the Physical Fitness Research Laboratory. Dr. Cureton became known as one of the leading fitness experts in the United States.

Professor Cureton served on the President's Council on Physical Fitness under five Presidents and received several Council awards. He was also a champion masters swimmer and once held 14 world records. In 1980 he was inducted into the International Swimmimg Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He was also research director of the national Aquatic Congress of the Y.M.C.A. for 25 years.