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History of Texas Woman's University

The Texas Woman's University, a state-supported institution of higher education, was created in 1901 by an act of the 27th Legislature.  Originally named the Girls Industrial College, the institution began classes in 1903, charged with a dual mission which continues to guide the University today: to provide a liberal education and to prepare young women with specialized education "for the practical industries of the age".

In 1905 the name of the College was changed to the College of Industrial Arts.  The College grew in academic excellence, in size and scope, and in reputation.  In 1930 graduate studies were established as a result of the rising academic qualifications of faculty, as well as the formation of a substantial library and facilities for research and instruction.

In 1934 the name of the institution was changed to the Texas State College for Women to describe more accurately the scope of the school.  The first doctoral degrees were awarded in 1953.  Since 1957 the name of the institution has been the Texas Woman's University, reflecting its status as a major institution of higher learning.

History of the School of Occupational Therapy

1943:  At the time of  World War II, the demand for professionally trained occupational          therapists was given great impetus.  Miss Mary Marshall, Director of the Art     Department, crystallized the plans for the development of a course in occupational therapy at the Texas State College for Women.  The course organization was completed with the cooperation of the President of the College, Dr. L. H.Hubbard, and Dr. Ozro T. Woods, physician and surgeon, who was Associate Professor at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.

1944:  Students interested in becoming occupational therapists were enrolled in the Art Department with a major in occupational therapy.  Mrs. Fanny Bowles Vanderkooi, OTR, who had been a Reconstruction Aide as occupational therapists were called during World War I, was the only instructor.  Later, two additional faculty members were added.  Medical lectures were provided by physicians at Southwestern Medical School at the Parkland center in Dallas.

1947:  The curriculum of occupational therapy was accredited as acceptable for training occupational therapists by the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals of the American Medical Association and the American Occupational Therapy Association.

1950:  Dr. John A. Guinn, President of the College, established the Department of Occupational Therapy.

1957:  The Department of Occupational Therapy became the School of Occupational Therapy.  Mrs. Rena Worthington, OTR, was named the first director of the School.

1960:  Miss Cruz Mattei, OTR, Assistant Professor, was named Acting Director.

1961:  Mrs. Ruth Whipple Pershing, OTR, became the director of the School.  She retired in 1982, after 21 years as Director/Dean of the School.

1962:  The Houston component was established.  Senior-level students spent one semester in Houston for their medical courses, some advanced theory courses, and clinical experiences.  At that time an agreement was made between Texas Woman's University and Baylor College of Medicine at Houston for the medical lectures and a Medical Director for the School.  Dr. Louis Leavitt, for whom a  scholarship is named, served as director for many years.

1967:  Students remained in Houston for their last two semesters.

1969:  The Coordinating Board of Higher Education in Texas authorized the granting of the Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT), a basic professional master's degree for entry into the field of occupational therapy.  Upon completion of the beginning course work in Denton, students in the MOT program spent two semesters at either the Houston or Dallas Parkland center. The Master of Arts (MA) program was also authorized.

1970:  The senior classes had grown too large for the Houston center.  Senior-level occupational therapy courses were then initiated at the Dallas Parkland Center with two full-time faculty members.  Prior to this, students generally returned to Denton for their last semester.  Today, students complete their academic work in Dallas, Houston and go directly into fieldwork.

1972:  The University reorganized its academic components and the School became part of the Institute of Health Sciences.

1974:  The School received a Veteran's Administration grant to begin a clinical training program at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

1977:  The Occupational Therapy Clinic was opened to provide services for the Denton and university communities.

1982:  Miss Catherine Currie, OTR, served as Dean, ad interim for the academic year.

1983:  Dr. Grace Gilkeson, Ed. D., OTR, FAOTA, was appointed Dean.

1985:  The School was reaccredited until 1992 by the American OT Association and the American Medical Association.  Since 1961 the faculty of the school has increased from 3 to 25 full-time members and one regular part-time member.  In the same period of time student enrollment increased from 76 to over 800.

1990:  All Dallas courses in OT were shifted to the Presbyterian location.

1992:  The school was reaccredited until 2000.  The Texas Woman's University School  of Occupational Therapy is the largest occupational therapy school in the United States and the only one in Texas offering graduate level programs.  In November 1992 final approval was given by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education for the Ph.D. program.

1993:  The first five doctoral students were admitted at the Houston center.

1994:  Dr. Janette Schkade, Ph.D., OTR, was named Dean of the School.

1997:  New MOT curriculum approved by TWU curriculum committee.  Decision approved for MOT direct entry to Dallas and Houston centers and Phase 2 undergraduates to remain in Denton.

1998:  First students admitted to new MOT curriculum in Dallas and Houston.  Phase 2 for undergraduate program implemented on Denton campus.  Development of MOT-Prep track in Community Health for students on Denton campus to be implemented Fall 1999. The first two PhD candidates graduate.

1999:  First students admitted to MOT-Prep program in Denton.

2001:  Dr. Sally Schultz, PhD, OTR, LPC named Director of the School

2002: COTA-to-MOT Bridging Program is begun.

2003:  BS-to-MOT Fast-Track Curriculum implemented in conjunction with Psychology, Health Studies, Child Development, & Family Studies.

2005:  COTA to MOT Bridge program is approved as an online curriculum.

2006:  BS-to-MOT Fast-Track Curriculum includes Kinesiology

2008:  Dr. Catherine Candler, PhD, OTR, BCP serves as Interim Director

2011:  Dr. Catherine Candler, PhD, OTR, BCP named Director of the School

2014: Approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to offer a Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy

2014: The inaugural class of OTD students enrolled in Fall

2015: Dr. Cynthia Evetts, PhD, OTR named Interim Director of the School

2016: Dr. Cynthia Evetts, PhD, OTR named Director of the School

page last updated 7/13/2017 2:02 PM