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  • Physical Therapy Education Leader Rosemary Scully Dies

    Rosemary Scully

    Physical therapy thought leader Rosemary Scully, PT, EdD, FAPTA, whose tireless passion for learning left a lasting imprint on physical therapist clinical education, has died. She was 83 years old.

    Scully was born in West Virginia and earned her first degree—a baccalaureate in physical education—from West Virginia University. She later received a master's degree in physical therapy and a doctorate in education from Columbia University in New York. Along the way, Scully dedicated herself to applying what she had learned to improve the physical therapy profession, particularly related to education.

    Her work and educational efforts eventually took her to the University of Pittsburgh, where she led the university's physical therapy program until her retirement in the early 1990s. Scully's legacy lives on at Pitt through the Scully Scholar Lecture Series, an annual event that features some of the most prominent voices in the physical therapy profession.

    Scully authored several influential reports, studies, and books, including "Cooperative Planning for Clinical Experience in Clinical Therapy" and the comprehensive textbook, Physical Therapy, published in 1989. In addition, she was a coeditor of the Studies in the Health Related Professions series of publications, and within that series, a coauthor of several books focused on physical therapist and physical therapist assistant faculty characteristics.

    A member of APTA since 1958, Scully was vice speaker of the APTA House of Delegates from 1977 to 1983. In 1989, she received the association's Lucy Blair Service Award, and was named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow in 1992.

    Scully's love for the physical therapy profession—and particularly for the learning opportunities it presents—shone through in a recap of an oral history she provided to APTA in 1999. In that recap, published in the association's PT Magazine in 2000, Scully described what she viewed as one of the profession's greatest assets.

    "I was very fortunate to find physical therapy, a profession where I could, as an individual, do whatever it is that I wanted to do, while at the same time, other folks in the same field are doing entirely different kinds of things," Scully said. "I was always pleased with its diversity. Physical therapy is eclectic. It brings in all different kinds of people: wonderful folks who are pioneers and push the field forward."


    • And I was fortunate to have remarkable influence, passion, vision and dedication infused through Dr. Scully as an incredible mentor at Pitt when I was a student in the PT Program. She touched the lives of so many and I am forever grateful - Mary Lou

      Posted by Mary Lou Galantino on 8/28/2019 4:17 PM

    • Although I am not a Pitt grad, I had the pleasure of interacting with her many times while working in the Pittsburgh area. Her influence is still strong in the many therapists she shepherded through the professional program. Truly dedicated to her field. Thank you, Dr. Scully.

      Posted by Tom McNamee on 8/28/2019 5:39 PM

    • As a 1976 graduate of the PT program at Pitt, I can attest to the incredibly strong influence Rosemary had on me, both with respect to a love of physical therapy, and a commitment to serving the profession. She led by example throughout her career, and the opportunities to share experiences with her at professional meetings and on her visits to Pittsburgh for her lecture series after her re-location to Arizona clearly demonstrated her ongoing love of, and commitment to, the profession.

      Posted by Karl Gibson on 8/29/2019 10:01 AM

    • Rosemary was a strong, independent thinker, and passionate about moving our profession forward. I am fortunate to have known her and to have worked with her on numerous APTA projects. May she rest in peace.

      Posted by Suzanne Brown on 9/20/2019 6:52 PM

    • Professor Scully was one of my instructors at State University of NY, Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn from 1967-69. Today I was saddened to read about her death in “PT n Motion”. I was fortunate to have the best of instructors from Rosemary Scully to Steve Rose and Sam Feitleberg. My foundation for my long career started with the devotion and dedication of Professor Scully, inspiring me to continue with my education at the age of 60 for a DPT.

      Posted by Sandra Flickstein on 11/13/2019 6:53 PM

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