Being the first director of the Morton Fitness Center is “a good position to be in,” says Aaron Whaley, who began the job in November 2010 when the center opened.
What makes the job so appealing, Mr. Whaley says, is the opportunity to impact the lives of the people who use the Morton facility. “Here we have a chance to really change and transform lives,” he said. “I get approached by people who are seeking to change their lives. When they see results, it’s very motivational for me to see them changing.”
The need to get healthier, lose weight or gain strength is generally the reason students, staff and faculty come to the center, he says. But for many that’s only the pretext. “A lot have low self-esteem and are very self-conscious and don’t want to be seen by others,” Mr. Whaley said. “I’m approachable and they sense that.”
Mr. Whaley, a certified fitness trainer, offers patrons an emotionally safe environment to get support. “People need motivation to stay on a consistent plan,” he said. “They need that stability. And they can count on me to be there when I say I’m going to be.”
Mr. Whaley arrived at Texas Wesleyan in 2000, transferring as a sophomore from Pratt Junior College in Kansas to join the Rams basketball team. In 2003 he earned a bachelor of sports management degree and immediately joined the university’s staff as Assistant Dean of Student Life.
During the 10-plus years he has been at Texas Wesleyan, Mr. Whaley says he has seen a strong effort to rebuild school spirit, which he said took a blow in the early years of the decade when significant changes were made in the athletics program.
“We’re slowly returning,” he said. “Admissions and Student Life are doing a good job to restore and rebuild the spirit.” He notes that the cheerleading squad has grown, a dance team has been added and there is fierce competition to be the Ram mascot. Also, he said, there have been major sports successes the past few years.
“There is a growing attitude at Wesleyan that we are striving to be better,” Mr. Whaley said.
People are saying:
Aaron “has a big smile and a heart to match,” is how sophomore Katt Fournier describes Mr. Whaley, her supervisor at the fitness center where she is a student worker.
“Aaron is kind of quiet,” Katt said. But “people who know him know he is really nice, very professional, a very hard worker.”
Bachelor’s in Sports Management, Texas Wesleyan University, 2003
Master’s in Sports Management, Texas Wesleyan University, 2005
Certified Fitness Trainer, Certified Fitness Boot Camp Instructor, Certified Pilates Instructor
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“I’ve been told that I’m very quiet and stand-offish,” Mr. Whaley said. “But once you get to know me, I can be just as much fun as anyone.”
Mr. Whaley and his wife Rachel married in August 2009. Rachel, a chiropractor, is a Texas Wesleyan graduate and was