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Mel Williams to Speak on ‘Aging, Exercise, Diet and Health’ for Annual Warren Stewart Lecture

Mel WilliamsMel Williams

Mel Williams, eminent professor emeritus of exercise science at Old Dominion University and a world-renowned researcher of endurance athletes, will deliver the Sixth Annual Warren Stewart Lecture, presented by ODU's Department of Human Movement Sciences.

The author of 10 books on exercise science, and finisher of more than 100 marathons, Williams will speak at 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 7, in 1005 Constant Hall. Refreshments will be served.

The title of his lecture is "Aging, Exercise, Diet and Health: How to Be Young at an Old Age."

Williams' pioneering research into performance-enhancing drugs and the effect of endurance aids helped lead to the International Olympic Committee's 1985 decision to ban blood doping.

After arriving at ODU in 1968, Williams founded both the Human Performance Laboratory and the Wellness Institute. He retired in 1997, but has stayed active speaking about human performance issues, and in competitive running.

He is one of only four men to have competed in all 38 of the Marine Corps Marathons in Washington, D.C. He won his age group in the Boston Marathon at ages 51, 60 and 61. Local runners affectionately call him "The Legend."

Through his published research, Williams has become known worldwide for his expertise on the effects of drugs on athletic performance, nutrition for fitness and sport, and ergogenics, defined as substances or techniques designed to enhance performance. He was the founding editor, in 1991, of the International Journal of Sports Nutrition, the first professional periodical of its kind, and he served on the board of the American College of Sports Medicine.

For all his accomplishments in and outside the classroom and lab, however, Williams says he's most proud of his role in developing ODU's exercise science program and getting students involved in research at the undergraduate level.

He published his first book, "Drugs and Athletic Performance," in 1974. A textbook Williams authored, "Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Sport," is now in its 10th edition and widely used at universities across the country.

Sponsored by the human movement sciences department in ODU's Darden College of Education, the Warren Stewart Lecture is presented to emphasize the importance of wellness throughout the aging process and making changes in personal behavior with regard to diet and exercise. It is funded by an annual gift from Stewart, an ODU alumnus and retired school system superintendent, who currently serves as Virginia state president for AARP. Stewart is committed to the pursuit of wellness on both a personal and professional level.