The University Record, February 15, 1999


Virginia Wilson

Virginia Wilson, 84, founding director of the physical therapy professional preparation program at the University, died Jan. 23 at the Arbor Hospice Residence in Ann Arbor.

A pioneer in physical therapy education, Wilson was active professionally on a national and state level. She was recognized for her contributions to physical therapy accreditation processes for entry-level programs, and served on numerous national and state physical therapy committees. Wilson was a leader in the state, shepherding through the Legislature the Physical Therapy Practice Act, and served as the first chair of the state’s Licensing Board for Physical Therapists. She had the honor of holding license #0001.

Her professional contributions were recognized by the Michigan Physical Therapy Association in 1973 and 1976 when she received its Outstanding Service Award. In 1981, she received the American Physical Therapy Association’s Lucy Blair Service Award. Along with James W. Rae of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wilson established the curriculum in physical therapy in 1952. She served as its director until 1976, when she retired.

Colleagues in the U-M-Flint physical therapy program, where the program transferred in 1983, as well as those from the Medical Center and around the state credit Wilson and Rae’s foresight, planning, and leadership for maintaining high standards for physical therapy education.

Wilson was born in Ada, Ohio. In 1944–46, she was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. She established her home in Ann Arbor in 1950. She is survived by her brother Robert P. Wilson of Canton, Ohio; several nieces and nephews; and many grandnieces and grandnephews.

Memorial donations may be sent to the Virginia Wilson Scholarship Fund, Physical Therapy Department, U-M-Flint, 303 E. Kearsley St., Flint, MI 48502-1950. Contributions should be made to the U-M-Flint Physical Therapy Department.

Submitted by U-M-Flint