University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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About Us
About Us

History

Since occupational therapy was introduced at USC as a baccalaureate program in 1942, the University of Southern California has established an unparalleled record of excellence in service to the profession of occupational therapy and the research discipline of occupational science.

  • USC’s history of professional firsts includes:
    • 1947: USC inaugurated the nation’s first post-professional degree program in occupational therapy
    • 1962: USC established the nation’s first two-year, entry-level master’s degree in occupational therapy
    • 1989: USC created the world’s first doctoral program in occupational science
    • 1990: USC welcomed Stephen Hawking as a keynote speaker at the third Occupational Science Symposium and appointed world-renowned ethologist Jane Goodall as distinguished adjunct professor
    • 1997: the USC Well Elderly Study was the first occupational therapy research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
    • 1998: USC was ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report in the first national ranking of occupational therapy graduate educational programs, and including today’s No. 3 ranking by U.S. News & World Report, USC has held the top spot for more years than all other educational programs combined
    • 2014: USC received the first naming endowment gift, the largest ever made to any occupational therapy program in the history of the field
  • 4 Trojans have been elected President of the American Occupational Therapy Association
    • Wilma L. West MA ’48 (1961-64)
    • Florence S. Cromwell MA ’52 (1967-73)
    • Mary Foto BS ’66 (1995-98)
    • Florence Clark PhD ’82 (faculty) (2010-13)
  • 15 Trojans have received the AOTA Eleanor Clarke Slagle Award, the profession’s most prestigious academic recognition
    • Margaret S. Rood, former faculty member (1958)
    • Mary Reilly BS ’51, former faculty member (1961)
    • A. Jean Ayres BS ’45, MA ’54, former faculty member (1963)
    • Elizabeth J. Yerxa BS ’52, MA ’53, emerita faculty member (1966)
    • Wilma L. West MA ’48 (1967)
    • Lela Llorens, former faculty member (1969)
    • A. Joy Huss Cert. ’58 (1976)
    • L. Irene Hollis Cert. ’44 (1979)
    • Joan Rogers MA ’68 (1983)
    • Claudia Kay Allen, former faculty member (1987)
    • Anne Henderson BS ’46 (1988)
    • Florence A. Clark PhD ’82, faculty member (1993)
    • Catherine Trombly Latham MA ’64 (1995)
    • Ruth Zemke, emerita faculty member (2004)
    • Janice P. Burke MA ’75, former faculty member (2009)
  • 23 Trojans have been named to the American Occupational Therapy Association’s list of Top 100 Influential Persons
    • Claudia Kay Allen, former faculty member
    • A. Jean Ayres BS ’45, MA ’54, former faculty member
    • Esther Bell Cert. ’53
    • Janice P. Burke MA ’75, former faculty member
    • Sharon A. Cermak, faculty member
    • Florence Clark PhD ’82, faculty member
    • Florence S. Cromwell MA ’52, former faculty member
    • Linda Florey MA ’68, PhD ’98, chairperson of USC Chan Board of Councilors
    • Mary Foto BS ’66, member of USC Chan Board of Councilors
    • Anne Henderson BS ’46
    • A. Joy Huss Cert. ’58
    • Gary Kielhofner MA ’75
    • Lorna Jean King MA ’50, former faculty member
    • Catherine Trombly Latham MA ’64
    • Lela Llorens, former faculty member
    • Mary Reilly BS ’51, former faculty member
    • Joan Rogers MA ’68
    • Margaret S. Rood, former faculty member
    • Carlotta Welles MA ’53
    • Wilma L. West MA ’48
    • Wendy Wood MA ’88, PhD ’95
    • Elizabeth J. Yerxa BS ’52, MA ’53, emerita faculty member
    • Ruth Zemke, emerita faculty member
  • 65 Trojans have been selected as Fellows of the American Occupational Therapy Association
  • 4 Trojans have been elected President of the Occupational Therapy Association of California
    • Melissa Szamet BS ’68 (2002-04)
    • Shawn Phipps BS ’97 (2008-12)
    • Patricia Nagaishi MA ’80 (2012-16)
    • Heather Kitching MA ’02, OTD ’10 (2016-18)
  • A. Jean Ayres’ influential theory and practice of Sensory Integration took root at USC
  • The Lifestyle Redesign® research-based occupational therapy intervention approach for promoting wellness and minimizing preventable illness was developed at USC