UW-Madison OT Program - 2011 OT Matters - Program News - OT Helped Celebrate a Centennial

OT student doing research with child
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OT Helped Celebrate a Centennial

In 1911, Mrs. C.W. Hetherington, in recognition of the importance of play, recreation and physical activity, established a women’s physical education major at UW-Madison. Graduates became physical educators and directors of play, recreation and athletics. This year marks the 100th anniversary of this milestone. On April 1-2, the Department of Kinesiology celebrated this centennial with events mixing science, physical activity and fun. The Occupational Therapy Program participated in this series of events that included a scientific symposium, gala dinner, poker run and tailgate lunch.

On April 1, accomplished Kinesiology and Occupational Therapy alumni led scientific symposiums in the newly renovated Education Building. Talks addressed cutting edge topics in athletic training, biomechanics, epidemiology, exercise physiology, motor control, occupational therapy, and physical education. In occupational therapy, alumna Patti LaVesser (B.S. 1974) presented a talk entitled “Understanding Participation in Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.” She presented her research using a children’s card sort assessment and qualitative interviews to identified the most common activities children engage in and the barriers to participation for children with autism.

The gala celebrated and honored alumni with speeches, commemorative slideshows, and UW traditions. Lori Schneider gave an inspiring keynote address, “Climbing Beyond our Limits.” Schneider is one of only five women over 50 years of age to climb the highest summits on every continent including Mount Everest –a remarkable feat as a self-trained mountaineer diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She encouraged everyone to chase their dreams one step at a time—the same approach she used to climb each peak.

Department Chair Dorothy Edwards, a professor of occupational therapy, shared her perspective on the proud history of the Department and honored attending alumni from each of the decades. Two alumni received special recognition: Kelly Jo Arps, from Jefferson Elementary School, received a School of Education Outstanding Recent Graduate Award and Patrick O’Connor, from the University of Georgia, received a School of Education Alumni Achievement Award.

Attendees watched slideshows that revisited the past 100 years of physical education, dance, athletic training, occupational therapy and exercise science in the Department. Bucky paid a visit at the beginning of the gala and the UW Marching band closed out the celebration with a rousing Fifth Quarter performance.

On Saturday the kinesiology club sponsored a “fun run” that benefitted scouts with disabilities and the Department of Kinesiology. Lori Schneider again gave a presentation for the community, and everyone enjoyed a tailgate lunch.


OT students participate in a Fifth Quarter performance at the end of the Centennial Gala in the Memorial Union's Great Hall.

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