William Henry Jackson Beckett (1882-1954) was the first student to receive a degree from Springfield College, then known as the International YMCA Training School. Although he originally wanted to become a social worker, Dr. McCurdy convinced him to pursue physical education. After graduating in 1906, he went on to earn his MA at the University of Pennsylvania. Beckett was an ardent civic and religious advocate. He worked for two years in the physical education department at Howard University, and then as a physical education director at YMCAs in Baltimore, Washington D.C., and St. Louis. During World War I, Beckett served as a lieutenant and the physical education director for the Officers’ Training Camp for Colored Men in Des Moine
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