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Western Michigan University's occupational therapy program celebrates 100 years

black and white photo of students and patients gathered around a table where they appear to be painting with their hands
Courtesy photo
Western Michigan University Occupational Therapy

The founder, Marion Spear, was part of the early 20th century "moral treatment" movement. The philosophy suggested better outcomes for mentally ill patients who had simple tasks to accomplish.

This week marks a significant milestone for a groundbreaking program at Western Michigan University. The Occupational Therapy program is 100 years old. Marion Spear founded the program in 1922 and was the first faculty member at one of the first programs of its kind. In 1918 Spear moved from Massachusetts to Kalamazoo to become director of Occupational Therapy at the Kalamazoo State Hospital.

In this interview, WMU Occupational Therapy program professors Debra Lindstrom and Ann Chapleau explain the school's origins and the work it does today. The program will host a centennial gala Saturday night.

Brian comes to WMUK after spending nearly 30 years as News Director of a public radio station in the Chicago area. Brian grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and attended Western Kentucky University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting. He started working in public radio while at WKU; and has worked in radio news for more than 35 years. Brian lives on a quiet lake in Barry County with his wife and three dogs. Thanks to his Kentucky roots, he’s an avid collector of bourbon and other varieties of whiskey. Above all else, Brian considers himself a story teller and looks forward to sharing southwest Michigan stories with WMUK’s listeners.