USA Dance’s longest serving National President was Archie Hazelwood, who served from 1993 until his death in December, 2004, and left an indelible mark upon our organization.
Archie was a retired military officer and an avid social dancer. I first met Archie when he was serving as Senior Vice President of USA Dance and I was president of the Nor Cal Chapter #4004, and I remember thinking what a goal-oriented individual he was, and so intent on growing USA Dance by bringing social dancers into USA Dance in large numbers. In fact, that was Archie’s primary goal from the very beginning – to double and triple the membership by creating social dance chapters all over the country. And he did just that.
Our organization grew by leaps and bounds, and states that had never had a USA Dance chapter all of a sudden had several. This process was repeated in all regions of the country.
But as much as Archie loved social dancing, he was also acutely aware of USA Dance’s responsibilities to competitors, and it was under his administration that USA Dance was awarded National Governing Body status by the USOC, and he always guarded that status very carefully, serving as USA Dance’s representative to a variety of organizations including the USOC and the WDSF.
It was Archie who appointed me to my first position on the Governing Council, that of Regional Vice President for the Southwest Region. After becoming a member of the GC I did not always agree with Archie on all the issues, and remember thinking that if I ever became National President I would do things differently. But a funny thing happened when I finally did become National President – I found myself wondering quite often how Archie would have handled a particular problem, and more often than not it would force me to think things through more thoroughly and consider all the ramifications before making a decision affecting USA Dance. Shooting from the hip may be fun, but it does not make for good policy development.
USA Dance was indeed fortunate to have had such a steady and deliberative National President as Archie during a very important period in its development and growth. As president, he was both highly experienced and knowledgeable in all areas of our organization, judicious in his application of management principles and passionate in his desire to see USA Dance become the premier dance organization in the nation.
Archie worked tirelessly year after year on behalf of our organization, and considered the presidency of USA Dance to be his full time volunteer job. He set a wonderful example of public service for all of us who were privileged to work beside him.