Illustrious Graduates

The Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy has had the privilege of educating many wonderful individuals. The pictures of our graduating classes are proudly hung in the ‘graduate corridor’ on the 9th floor (please come and see them). Among our graduates have been some of the most illustrious occupational therapists in the history of the profession in Canada.


J Cooper web

Juliette (Archie) Cooper

Dip P&OT, BSc (OT), MSc., Ph.D, OT(C), FCAOT

Archie has had an illustrious career after graduating from the physical and occupational therapy program at U of T in 1963. She has a Masters and PhD in Human Anatomy from the University of Manitoba and was the director of their School of Medical Rehabilitation from 1999 – 2005. She is currently Professor Emeritus. She is widely recognized for her research on a broad range of topics, including work disability prevention, biomechanics, kinematics, musculoskeletal disorders, evidence-based practice, and the evolution of professionalism.




Bonnie Kirsh

BSC (OT), MEd., Ph.D. OT(C), OT Reg. (Ont.)

Bonnie graduated from U of T’s occupational therapy program in 1977. She practiced in the area of mental health at the Clarke Institute, Queen St. Mental Health Centre (which have now merged into The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), and Community Occupational Therapy Associates (COTA) in both clinical and managerial roles, prior to joining the faculty at U of T.



E Townsend

Elizabeth Townsend

Dip P&OT (C), BSC (OT), M.Ad.Ed., Ph.D, OT(C ) , FCAOT

Elizabeth graduated from the University of Toronto with a Diploma in Physical and Occupational Therapy in 1967 and a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1979. She received a Master’s degree in Adult Education from Saint Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and her Ph.D., from Dalhousie University in 1994. She is a founding member of the School of Occupational Therapy at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and later became Director.



Thelma Sumison

Thelma Sumsion

B.Sc. (OT), M.Ed., Ph.D., OT(C ) , FCAOT

Thelma has had a stellar career since she graduated from the occupational therapy program at the University of Toronto. Her major contributions have been in the area of psychiatry and client-centred practice. She was a key player in the creation of the Occupational Therapy Guidelines for Client-Centered Practice and has written text books on the topic, including Client-Centered Practice in Occupational Therapy: A Guide to Implementation (2006).



J Friedland

Judith Friedland

Dip P & OT, BA, MA, Ph.D., OT(C), FCAOT

Judith graduated from the physical and occupational therapy program at the University of Toronto in 1960. She worked for a few years in psychiatry following graduation, stayed home to raise her three children, and returned to practice in 1977. She worked at COTA until she joined the faculty of the occupational therapy program at the University of Toronto (U of T) in 1982. In 1991, after a period as acting director, she assumed the role of director of the division.During the years that she led the program, she was instrumental in gaining departmental status for the program, changing its structure and the method of delivering its curriculum, and developing the proposal for a Master’s in Occupational Therapy.



Sharon Brintnell

E. Sharon Brintnell

Dip P & OT, MSc, , BOT, OT Reg (C), FCAOT

Sharon is a graduate from the University of Toronto program in physical and occupational therapy, and is an outstanding member of the faculty at the University of Alberta. She has been President of CAOT, Director of the Occupational Performance Analysis Unit, consultant to the National Institute of Disability Management and Research (NIDMAR) and has qualified in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench as an expert in occupational performance and functional assessments.



Barbara OShea2

Barbara J. O’Shea

Dip P&OT, MS., OT Reg (C) FCAOT

Barbara is one of Canada’s occupational therapy pioneers. She began her career in 1958 when she received a Diploma in Physical and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. Since then she has had an active career as an occupational therapy pioneer in practice, research, education and professional affairs. In 1977, while Assistant Professor, School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s University, she also received the highest honour of the OT profession, the Muriel Driver Memorial Lecturer. In 1982, she went to Dalhousie University, as the Founding Director of the School of Occupational Therapy, where she introduced an innovative curriculum model organized around concepts of occupation. On her retirement from Dalhousie University, she was appointed professor emerita. Professor O’Shea served as President of CAOT from 1977 to 1978. She also acted as the WFOT delegate for Canada. She received a Life Membership in CAOT in honour of her vision, energy, and organizational work on behalf of Canadian occupational therapists and the people who use our services here and world-wide.



Thelma Cardwell

Dip OT, L.L.D., OT (C), FCAOT

Thelma was a major leader in the profession of Occupational Therapy, both in Canada and internationally. Graduating with a Diploma in Occupational Therapy from the University of Toronto in 1942, she held several clinical positions before her service as Lieutenant (OT) in the Royal Canadian Army Corps, in the U.K. 1944-45. Her academic career began upon her return to Toronto in 1945 and with one brief absence, she remained at U of T until she took early retirement in 1983. She held the position of Acting Director of Occupational Therapy from 1981-1983.




Isobel Robinson

Isobel M. Robinson

 Dip. OT, BA, L.L.D., OT (C), FCAOT
Isobel graduated from the occupational therapy program at the University of Toronto in 1939. After an exciting practice career , she took on the Directorship of the program and held that position from 1967 to 1981, when she retired and was made a Professor Emerita. She has contributed to the profession as an Associate Editor of CJOT, and serving on the CAOT Board of Directors as both director and officer, and representing Canada on the Council of the WFOT. In 1981, Isobel was appointed the first archivist of CAOT.



Helen P. LeVesconte

Dip. OT, L.L.D., OT (C)
Helen was a visionary occupational therapist, who is world-renowned. She graduated from the first Diploma Course at the University of Toronto in 1928 and was Professor and Director of Occupational Therapy from 1933 to 1967. Helen was dedicated to the development of occupational therapy and devoted much energy to the improvement and maintenance of occupational therapy standards. She received many awards for her contribution from both within and outside of the University of Toronto. The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) created the Dr. Helen P. LeVesconte Award of Merit in her honour.