My Story

I grew up as one of six kids in a small town where my Mom threw us outside every day and said “Go play — and come back for dinner!” There were many other kids to play with in my small neighborhood, streams to run through, woods to swing from vines on, and just good, fun “trouble” to make! I thrived on being a part of a team in high school and college. I had the opportunity to take an Outward Bound course while in college, and that opened up a whole new avenue for me to see the possibilities of using the outdoors to help others find their passions and bring their best selves to whatever endeavor comes their way. I ended up working for the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School while in graduate school. I also got inspired in graduate school to work toward opening up avenues for people with disabilities to have access to adventure programming and also address other social justice issues within our field— something I am passionate about and pursue in my research and teaching to this day. I thoroughly enjoy and am inspired by the colleagues and students I get to work with at Warren Wilson. It is just plain fun to work with students as their passions ignite. We create an environment where we learn together and assist each other in doing our best work. We are all striving to make a difference in the world — and help each other understand the myriad of ways that is possible for each of us. Thus — making more “good” trouble in the world! It’s a fun adventure to be on together here at Wilson.

Marty O'Keefe
Alpine Tower
Outdoor Programs


  • B.S. in Physical Education, St. Lawrence University
  • M.Ed. in Counseling, St. Lawrence University
  • Ed.D. in Leisure Studies, Boston University

Research Interests

  • What it means to be a socially just outdoor educator
  • Staying current with Risk Management processes

Courses Taught

ODL 2250: Universal Adventure Programming ODL 3220: Challenge Course Facilitation and Management ODL 4100: Administration and Management of Adventure Education

Crews and Other Activities

  • Oversee the management and programming on the college Alpine Tower Challenge Course
  • Work specifically to get people with disabilities opportunities to come play on our challenge course
  • Serve on the Board of the North Carolina Outward Bound School, specifically on the Risk Management Committee

Contact Dr. O'Keefe

(828) 771-3760
Mitchell B
WWC CPO 6024

PO Box 9000

Asheville, NC 28815-9000
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