Emory Report
June 9, 2008
Volume 60, Number 32

Students aren’t the only ones who can take advantage of the many recreational opportunities at the Student Activity & Academic Center. The SAAC offers a variety of membership options, including seasonal swim memberships. A discounted rate is available for Emory faculty, staff and alumni.

The SAAC is also one of the few campus recreation facilities in the country to offer memberships to those in the surrounding community.
For rates and more information, visit


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June 9, 2008
‘A’s’ in enthusiasm

By Kim Urquhart

Summer is anything but quiet at the Student Activity & Academic Center on the Clairmont Campus. At the center of this bustling hub of summer camps and swimming pools is Timber Hines, the SAAC’s associate director.

“In the school year we’re focused on academics and the students, but during the summer we really meet the needs of the community,” says Hines, who oversees programming, reservations, membership policies, upkeep and staffing of the 45,000-square-foot facility.

Hines recently trained this summer’s student staff, a critical support team for camps running every week until August, three pools popular with the family of Emory employees, eight tennis courts, three classrooms, a fitness center, and much more.

“I love to work with students,” says Hines. “Student staff are the core of this facility, and I feel like we are an extension of their education.” She approaches her own work at the SAAC with the same enthusiasm.
“I love being in an environment where people have the opportunity to have a good time and learn new leisure skills that they’ll have with them the rest of their life,” says Hines.

Clairmont Campus Director Frank Gaertner pops into her office to deliver a CD. “Frank is our DJ,” Hines explains, and this music mix will serve as the soundtrack for their upcoming adventure. Hines, Gaertner and Emory teammates Mary Romestant and Christy Thomaskutty will race around the clock in the Madison-Chicago 200 Relay in early June.

“Our department has a lot of runners. We enter crazy races together,” says Hines. Like Hines’ team of Emory staff members who last year ran 200 miles from Vermont to New Hampshire in a 24-hour team relay race called Reach the Beach. “We did it in plenty of time to spare,” she laughs.

She just signed up for another race, the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco, which she will participate in on behalf of Team-In-Training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

When she’s not on the road or on the trail, Hines is likely to be in the water. The scuba diver’s office is reminiscent of “Gidget,” filled with the vintage aquatic memorabilia she collects. A modest brown wool 1930s swimsuit is one of the items decorating the wall above the aquarium of the office mascot, Tsunami the beta fish. On another wall hangs a red lifeguard rescue board, circa 1973.

“This used to sit behind the lifeguard stand at the old Georgia State pool where I was a student lifeguard,” recalls Hines, who would go on to become Georgia State University’s aquatics director. “When they cleared things out to build a new recreational facility, I inherited the board.”

Having worked in aquatics since her first lifeguarding gig at age 15, she says recreation has always been her focus. Hines’ career, powered by a background in therapeutic recreation and a master’s in exercise science, has taken her from the Wesley Woods Center to the Shepherd Center, to Emory’s Center for Rehabilitation Medicine, to Georgia State, and finally back once again to Emory.

“I feel lucky because I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really wonderful people at Emory as a result of being on the health care side, and then the university side,” says Hines. She also has a family link to Emory: her brother Kirk Hines is a registered horticultural therapist who founded Wesley Wood’s program in 1993. Health and healing is a passion they both clearly share.

“Learning to play and have a good time is essential to a person’s physical and emotional health,” says Hines. “I will always work in recreation because it really improves everyone’s quality of life in some way.”