In 1997, the University of Toronto established the Thelma Cardwell Annual Lecture Series to honour one of occupational therapy’s most prestigious alumna, Thelma Cardwell. Thelma Cardwell graduated with a Diploma in Occupational Therapy from the University of Toronto in 1942, and went on to a distinguished career at the University where she was Acting Director from 1980 until her retirement in 1983. She made outstanding contributions to the occupational therapy profession, especially in her role with professional associations. In 1966 she became the first occupational therapist and first woman to hold the position of President of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. She was President of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists from 1967 to 1972, founder of the Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation and its Vice-President from 1983-85 and a recipient of the Queen’s Silver jubilee medal in 1977. She received an honourary doctorate from Dalhousie University in 1985.
The endowment fund for this lecture series enables the Department of Occupational Therapy to invite annually a distinguished visitor, who may or may not be an occupational therapist and who will give a public lecture and meet the students, faculty and clinicians.
Students in the MSc program present the results of their research projects at the Thelma Cardwell Research Day.