We measure our success not in years, but in what we do every day of every year

Celebrating 75 Years of the University of Minnesota's Occupational Therapy Program

Empowering people -- Promoting Potential
Through the Headwinds of History

75th Anniversary - Occupational Therapy - 1946-2021

At 75, the University of Minnesota’s Occupational Therapy program is among the oldest OT programs in the U.S.

We measure our success not in years, but in what we do every day of every year, to help people participate in activities they value, achieve life goals, and live as meaningfully as possible.

Many times, during our time, society called on us to deliver occupational therapists equipped to guide people forward through history’s headwinds.

In the 75 years spanning 1946 to 2021, here are some ways we helped them live their fullest lives and thrive.


The University of Minnesota’s OT Program begins soon after World War Two ends. Graduated OTs serve combat veterans in their quest to re-integrate into society.


Vietnam combat soldiers return from an unpopular war, many with complex medical and psychosocial needs. University of Minnesota OT graduates use their skills and the latest medical technology to provide them with dignity and contribute to their whole-person care.


The Education for All Handicapped Children Act – presently known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act-- passes, ensuring students with a disability are provided Free Appropriate Public Education, tailored to their individual needs. University of Minnesota OT graduates commit to assist such students in public school settings.    


The Karen people, a persecuted ethnic group from Myanmar, flee to Thai refugee camps. Some receive entry to the U.S., and then settle in Minnesota, where University of Minnesota OT students help them manage the physical and psychological duress they endured.


The Covid-19 pandemic imposes a heavy toll on survivors of the illness. Graduates of the University of Minnesota’s OT program use their education and talents to help people overcome the many barriers to recovery.

The University of Minnesota’s OT program uses its longstanding success in hybrid teaching to continue its academic program and educate its students throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, without interruption.