Tom Rivers served as the first Director General of the International Recreation Association (IRA), later known as the World Leisure and Recreation Association (WLRA) from 1956 – 1974. He was known as a global ambassador for recreation and lifted what was perceived as a technical subject to a level of statesmanship. His wife, Ruth, was his constant companion and was known to have softened Rivers’ “hard-boiled shell.” For their family, life was experienced as “loving, community focused, and rich and rewarding.”

The Thomas and Ruth Rivers International Scholarship is intended to provide opportunities for senior or graduate students who are studying recreation, leisure studies, leisure services, leisure resources, or tourism studies in college or university programs to attend and present a scholarly paper at the biennial international World Leisure Congress.

The World Leisure International Scholarship Program was established in 1970 and is awarded biennially in conjunction with the World Leisure Congress. Funding for the scholarship is provided by the World Leisure Organization, sponsorships, and individual contributions.


Award winners receive a one-year membership with the WLO, registration to the WL Congress, and financial assistance to attend the WL Congress.


Criteria for Selection

The applicant shall be a final year graduate or undergraduate student with a major in recreation, leisure services, leisure resources or tourism studies; have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, if an undergraduate student or a 3.8 on a 4.0 scale, if a graduate student; have volunteer or paid work experience in recreation, leisure, natural resource management, tourism or related studies.

The final selection of the recipient(s) will be made by the WL International Schorlarship Program Committee. Selections will be made without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or disability. The Program Manager of the WL International Scholarshio Program Committee may conduct a telephone interview with the finalists or alternates.

Application/Award Procedures

Students applying for the Thomas and Ruth Rivers International Scholarship Award shall:

1. Complete Part I of the Application Form and submit the Supplemental Documentation requested in Part II of the application.
2. Submit the Faculty Validation of Student Applicant form to a faculty member or advisor in the student’s college/university department and request that it be completed and emailed to the Program Manager of the Thomas and Ruth Rivers International Scholarship Award Committee, along with a letter from the student’s major professor.
3. Email the Scholarship Application Form and all supporting documentation to: Stephen Anderson Program Manger, Thomas and Ruth Rivers International Scholarship Award Committee. Florida International University. 11200 SW 8th Street PC 237C Miami, Florida, USA 33199. Telephone: (305) 348-3848. Fax: (305) 3483-685. E-mail: stepande@fiu.edu