The Thomas and Ruth Rivers International Scholarship Award was established in 1970. The Scholarship is awarded biennially in conjunction with the World Leisure Congress. Funding for the scholarship is provided by World Leisure Organization, sponsorship, and individual contributions.
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.
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.”