APTA Centennial Center was designed to immerse visitors in the physical therapy profession's story. And now one of the most important spaces for telling that story will be named in honor of one of the most influential figures in physical therapy's history: Charles M. Magistro, PT, FAPTA, and Noël Magistro, his wife. The dedication was made possible through a generous gift from the Magistro Family Foundation to the APTA Minority Scholarship Fund.
The Charles and Noël Magistro Library presented by the Magistro Family Foundation is located on the first floor of APTA's headquarters, within a space known as the Member Success Center. A welcoming area for members and other guests, the library will feature artifacts, historically relevant books, and e-tablets that offer interactive content on APTA and the physical therapy profession. The library will be formally dedicated during APTA's centennial celebration in September.
The Magistro Family Foundation's donation was made as part of APTA’s Campaign for Future Generations, an initiative that leverages APTA’s centennial year and naming rights at the new national headquarters to raise funds to support diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Charles Magistro was a revered clinician and visionary leader for the continued professionalization of physical therapy. His early embrace of evidence-based practice led Magistro to an influential role in establishing what is now known as the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research, where he served as its first chair. The Magistro Family Foundation continues a relationship with the research foundation through sponsorship of a research grant program.
Magistro was also highly influential in APTA's history. He served as president of the association from 1973 to 1976, during which time he oversaw the first formal, professionally managed Combined Sections Meeting. He received multiple association awards, including the Lucy Blair Service Award and the Henry O. Kendall and Florence P. Kendall Award, and was named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow in 1990. He delivered the prestigious Mary McMillan Lecture in 1987. Magistro died in 2016; Noël Magistro passed away in 2020.
The Magistros' daughters — Paulette Simpson, Elise Magistro, and Maria Magistro-Sherry — remember their father as an impassioned advocate for the profession, and their mother as his equally enthusiastic companion and source of support.
"Our father was a font of knowledge about all that had occurred in the field — the why, the when, the where — and he catalogued the profession’s milestones in personal notebooks for over six decades," they wrote. "Our family believes that we can best honor his legacy, and our mother's invaluable role in that legacy, through a library dedicated to physical therapy's rich and storied history."