The City of Fort Collins Recreation Department has awarded its inaugural Recreator of the Year honor to local CSU Professor, athlete, and community champion George C. Thornton III, Ph.D. Thornton’s award will also be announced in the winter issue of the “Recreator,” a comprehensive community resource that includes information on Recreation facilities, programs, events and activities. The Recreator of the Year project honors an individual, family or group that embodies Recreation’s mission to promote health, well-being, personal growth, and life enrichment. The Recreation Department requested nominees via social media and from Recreation staff members. Thornton’s name appeared numerous times in nominations and his credentials are impressive, unique and match well with Recreation’s criteria for the new award.
The City of Fort Collins Recreation Department is proud to present our inaugural Recreator of the Year award to George C. Thornton III, Ph.D. George Thornton’s life is unique, accomplished and well deserving of this designation. Dr. Thornton has prepared diligently for many challenges while living an active and healthy lifestyle. His achievements are noted academically, professionally, athletically and personally. He has dedicated his life to living an active lifestyle which most certainly helps fuel his success as a Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Colorado State University.
This past August, George set across the Atlantic Ocean to pursue a remarkable challenge. At 73 years old, Thornton attempted to become the oldest person to swim the English Channel. After 19 miles and 9 ½ hours in 62-degree water, hypothermia set in and he was forced to remove himself from the cold, dark water. George trained diligently for three years leading up to the swim. A large part of his training took place at EPIC and Mulberry Pool. In preparation for the English Channel swim, George swam for 10 straight hours at EPIC. He also completed swims of 6 and 8 hours at this popular recreation center. Dr. Thornton has completed 95 triathlons, including 12 Ironman triathlons and two finishes at the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. George competes in long distance open water swimming and completed the Horsetooth 10K Open Water Swim the last 12 years with consistent times of 4 hours. His dedication and passion for living an active lifestyle drive his positive outlook on life.
When asked about his lifestyle, George said “I believe that intellectual and physical challenges go together to enrich life and keep a person vibrant. My credo is: Do now what others won’t, so that later you can do what others can’t. City of Fort Collins Recreation Department facilities and staff have been essential to my many years of training.”
Personally George’s life is fulfilled and active as well. George is married to Louise Thornton and they have three children and 10 grandchildren. Louise and George are very active and have completed numerous athletic events together. They train together regularly including walking, bicycling, strength/flexibility, and swimming. In the winter, George and Louise frequently downhill ski with their grandchildren and friends.
Dr. Thornton’s academic and professional achievements also merit attention. George is a Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Colorado State University. He earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1966. He is a Diplomate in the American Board of Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and a Fellow of the Society of Organizational Psychology. Dr. Thornton is the author of numerous publications including refereed journal articles, book chapters, and several books. Dr. Thornton has given presentations and workshops throughout the United States, and in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, England, Israel, Russia, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, Brazil, Costa Rica, China, and South Africa. In March 2013 George was given the Lifetime Legacy Award for his contributions to human resource development in South Africa during five trips to that country over the past 25 years.
George’s accomplishments shine brightly throughout his life and define his character. His achievements in the water, at home or on campus are worthy and remarkable. The City of Fort Collins Recreation Department is proud to call George a Recreator and honored to offer him the inaugural “Recreator of the Year” award.