Division of Physical Therapy Celebrates 60 Years of Teaching, Research, and Clinical Care

The Division of Physical Therapy celebrated its 60th year of the program with a celebration at The Farm, a faculty and staff recreation center in Chapel Hill, on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Division of Physical Therapy Celebrates 60 Years of Teaching, Research, and Clinical Care click to enlarge Jennifer Cooke, DPT, '03, shares a moment with Ben Massey, '76, at the Division of Physical Therapy 60th anniversary celebration on May 20, 2017.
Division of Physical Therapy Celebrates 60 Years of Teaching, Research, and Clinical Care click to enlarge Guests at the Division of Physical Therapy 60th anniversary remembered Charlene "Billie" M. Nelson, PT, MA, FAPTA, and associate professor emerita, who died on May 11.

The Division of Physical Therapy celebrated its 60th anniversary on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Alumni, friends, and family gathered at The Farm in Chapel Hill to recognize the program’s valuable contributions to the field of physical therapy.

Dr. Stephen R. Hooper, associate dean and chair of the Department of Allied Health Sciences at the UNC School of Medicine, spoke at the event and emphasized that much of the program’s continued success rests on its central values of clinical care, research, and teaching.

“We do that with extra high quality access to education,” Hooper said.

The division was established in 1957 by Margaret L. Moore, PT, EdD, FAPTA, who developed the first physical therapy clinical program at the North Carolina Memorial Hospital, now UNC Hospitals.

Moore’s legacy endures, thanks to a planned gift. Guests of the 60th anniversary event learned more about this gift, which launched a campaign to establish the division’s first distinguished professorship in her name. 

The division has set a goal to raise $175,000 to ensure state support for the Dr. Margaret L. Moore Distinguished Professorship in Physical Therapy, which aims to attract and retain a national leader in the field of physical therapy.

The professorship aims to advance the mission and values of the program by fostering excellence in the education of physical therapy. Judy White, co-chair of the 60th celebration and the Margaret L. Moore Professorship campaign, reminded the attendees that as we come together to celebrate the legacy of the UNC-CH physical therapy program, it is also important to secure the program’s future. Alumni can show their support through participating in the class challenge that is part of the Moore Professorship fundraising effort. 

Under the leadership of Deborah Givens, PT, PhD, DPT, UNC-CH’s physical therapy program ranks 15th out of 236 accredited programs nationwide, according to U.S. News & World Report. The division boasts more than 1,600 graduates who live around the world but maintain close ties with UNC-CH.

At the anniversary celebration, more than 100 friends and alumni of the program enjoyed networking opportunities, a celebratory cake, and a photo booth.

Guests also paid tribute to Charlene “Billie” M. Nelson, PT, MA, FAPTA, an associate professor emerita in the division who died on May 11.

The celebratory event not only recognized the division’s past successes, but guests, alumni, and faculty expressed their excitement for the future of the division. 

“We couldn’t have done this without everyone’s collective effort, past and present,” Hooper said. “I trust the next 60 years will be as outstanding as the last 60.”

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