Lisa Robison plans on retiring after the spring semester, following nearly three decades as a professor.

Robison hopes she leaves a legacy where people remember her as always being a very positive and optimistic person, even when she broke both of her legs on campus and spent time in a wheelchair.

She prides herself on being able to see the good in every situation and always has a smile on her face.

Robison wants to be known for her energy and passion for her work and her optimism and fun attitude.

Lisa Robison
Lisa Robison By: Lisa Robison

“I have never met anyone who gives their whole heart to their job as much as Sister Robison,” said Katie Swanson, a senior studying health psychology. “Words cannot describe the impact Sister Robison has had on BYU-Idaho, and I will never forget her life-changing influence on me.” 

Being a cheerleader from seventh grade on, Robison knew she loved to work out and be active. She has always prioritized functional, longevity and quality-of-life training. 

Robison is a big believer that many of the ailments and illnesses brought on by old age can be relieved or pushed back later in life by this type of training.

“I would encourage people to stay active,” Robison said. “Whatever that looks like for them, to enhance their quality of life as they age.”

Robison enjoys group training as well, for the camaraderie and a little bit of competition. That type of setting also allows her to help others reach their wellness goals, something she is most passionate about. 

“It’s been a great experience getting to work with her and see the dedication that she has to her department,” said Rachel Stratford, a junior studying exercise physiology. “I can definitely say that Sister Robison cares a great deal about every student on this campus.” 

Lisa Robison began working on campus in 1994 at the age of 36 and began teaching a couple of aerobics classes at the start of her career.

Lisa Robison teaches fitness class
Lisa Robison teaches fitness class By: Lisa Robison

In 2002, a couple of professors went on sabbatical leave and she was able to add gymnastics, swimming and water aerobics to her course load.

On June 21, 2000, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that Ricks College would become a four-year university known as Brigham Young University–Idaho. The change became official on August 10, 2001.

“I was there when President Hinckley announced that Ricks college would move to a four-year university and the whole audience just gasped,” Robison said. “Everyone was astonished when he said the sports program would go away.”

President Hinckley announced that day that an activities program and intramural program would replace the sports program.

Robison was hired as the fitness and activities advisor.

She and her team had to start from scratch, beginning with just a few fitness classes and a couple of events. One of the first programs she considered most memorable was The Biggest Winner, a spin-off of the NBC show, “The Biggest Loser.”

She believes that the program really enhanced the department and started building it toward what it is today.

Some of the events she considers most notable now include:

— All of the runs: color run, turkey trot, etc.

— The month-long fitness challenges

— Team adventure races

— Try-A-Tri

— Yogathon

— And cross training

She tried to keep her department’s events focused on fitness so she didn’t take away from any of the other departments.

“Our biggest goal is to help students create a foundation of wellness,” Robinson said. “We want them to learn to enjoy exercise and know the importance of wellness and how much better it can make you feel.”

In addition to becoming the fitness and activities advisor, she left behind teaching 100 level courses and began teaching 200 level courses, “Aerobic Fitness Teaching Technique.”

She is still the instructor for that course today. The purpose of the course is to help students learn how to lead fitness classes.

“Through fourteen weeks, I evaluate their personal integrity, talents, professionalism and technique,” Robison said. “My focus in that class is to help build confidence and make sure students, no matter their fitness level, have a positive experience while taking the course.”

Getting to know the students in her program, and the class she teaches for the employees have been two of her favorite parts of the job. 

“I can see their qualities, but sometimes they can’t,” said Robison. “I enjoy helping them realize their potential.”

Robison says there have been a lot of changes along her journey. Some of the most memorable to her were the remodels, turf on the football field and the four sports complexes with turf.

Before she was a professor, she attended Rick’s college from 1979 until 1981 as a student and was on the gymnastics team.

Robison studied health science and worked toward a two-year degree, which was the only degree offered at the time. Once she began working on campus, she was allowed to take six credits a semester until she was able to receive her bachelor’s degree in 2006.

Her missionary, and eventual husband, returned home in February of 1981, and they were married that September. 

After she graduated — but before becoming a professor — she lived in Idaho Falls, took care of her children and taught fitness classes at a spa. She also helped teach functional training to the baseball and basketball teams of a local high school because the coaches felt it helped their players with agility and coordination.

Robinson also helped teach fitness classes for her Relief Society as well. That’s something she’s considering doing again in retirement.

She’s most looking forward to spending time in her yard and with her nine grandkids.

Robison looks forward to continuing working with her husband in the temple. She and her husband would also like to try their hand at traveling. A couple’s service mission may be on the horizon as well.

Some of the people that helped shape her as an instructor are Steve Kimpel and Justin Garner.

Steve’s passion for teaching, desire to help students obtain good grades and high expectations for his students are something that she appreciates.

She says Justin was a great boss. He was always positive and took care of the staff in her department. She appreciates his vision for what the campus recreation department can eventually grow into.