Black Pioneers Within the Department
Black and African American students, alumni, faculty and staff make major impacts on the Department of Health Sciences through innovative research, outstanding clinical practice, advancing DEI initiatives, acting in leadership roles and embracing the department’s mission of service.
We continue to celebrate the current accomplishments and future opportunities of Black stakeholders in our department, but also recognize and appreciate the pioneers who have contributed greatly to our 50-year history.
Dr. Robert Thorpe: The first African American faculty member in the division of Radiologic Science and first Associate Chair in the Department of Allied Health Sciences
Seletha Shaw: The first Black administrative assistant in the division of Physical Therapy
Lynda Woodruff: The first Black faculty member in the division of Physical Therapy in 1974 and visionary leader for DEI in the profession of physical therapy
Marilyn McClain: The first Black graduate from the division of Physical Therapy
Linda Hurst: The first Black graduate of the MSOT program in 1990
Dr. Khalilah Johnson: The first Black graduate of the PhD in Occupational Science in 2017
Brian Boyd: The first Black faculty member in the division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Shana Jacobs: The first African American to earn a four-year AuD degree in North Carolina
Aneesha Pretto: The first Black student to earn a PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences
Twyla Perryman: The second Black student to earn a PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences
Frances Burns: One of the first Black MS in SHS graduates who eventually earned her PhD and is now a professor at Frances Marion
Dr. Sharon Williams: The first African American director of the division of Speech and Hearing Sciences