In 1997, the Thelma Cardwell Annual Lecture Series was established under the leadership of Dr. Judith Friedland, by the friends and family of Thelma Cardwell, her professional colleagues, and the Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation 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, culminating in her role as Director of the Program in Occupational Therapy until her retirement in 1983.
Thelma Cardwell 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 Science and Therapy to invite a distinguished visitor annually to give a public lecture and meet students, faculty, clinicians and alumni.