80th Anniversary Celebration

campus image of Tommy Smith and John Carlos with raised fists

Department of Occupational Therapy's 80th Anniversary Continuing Education Offerings

Keynote Speakers

Sessions Speakers

80th Anniversary - Welcome and Keynote


Hands of Change is the Alumni Association of San Jose State University Department of Occupational Therapy. Its mission is to provide a bridge between its members and the department, promote a sense of unity, and provide opportunities for networking and mentoring while acting as a resource to enhance knowledge and growth.

photo collage of OT distinguished alumni

Purposes of the Alumni Association

  • Provide guidance and support to the members
  • Serve as a resource to its members
  • Networking
  • Provide mentoring to students of SJSU's Department of Occupational Therapy
  • Visit and keep track of friends and faculty
  • Promote ongoing communication with the SJSU's Department of Occupational Therapy
  • Support the department
  • Support curriculum revision
  • Support research
  • Provide recognition of significant events and people

Goals of the Alumni Association

  • To maintain an updated database
  • To establish membership dues and donations
  • To hold Alumni Reception events at the annual OTAC Conference
  • To develop an alumni contact list
  • To raise funds for scholarships to students
  • To raise funds for Department upgrading
  • To receive funds/support from vendors


If you believe that San Jose State University and the Occupational Therapy Department contributed to, or were instrumental in your professional development and ultimate financial success, please help us now with a generous financial contribution. There is no more important time to give than now and there is no more important investment you could be making in your profession than to give back to the school and program of which you can be proud. Consider making a gift to the department in honor today.


Give now to the OT Department


Have more questions? Contact the Alumni Association at 408-924-3070.

2022 Alumni Donation Letter Request [pdf]

Recognition of the Amazing Donors to the SJSU Occupational Therapy Department

The faculty, staff and students of the Department of Occupational Therapy at San Jose State University wish to thank and recognize all of our esteemed alumni and donor friends who have contributed over the past year! We are grateful for your support and commitment. Your donations directly enrich and impact our department’s innovative programs of excellence in education, research and practice in occupational therapy and has been instrumental in continuing the academic excellence that is the San Jose State University Occupational Therapy Department.

List of endowed scholarships [pdf] 
Testimonials of Student Scholarship Recipients [pdf]

Our Endowed “Diamond” Donors:

These donors have made a large endowed donation to support the OT department on an ongoing basis – this provides continuous support!

2022/23 Donors

We would also like to recognize each designated donor level from alums and supporters this year (2022/23).

Diamond Donors with a donation of over $500

Dr. Donald and Mrs. Donna Friedrich
Bonita Kraft
Mr. Steven Leung and Ms. Grace Wong-Leung
Lela A. Llorens, PhD
Mr. Reaugh And Ms. Lovitt
Heidi Pendleton, PhD
Grace M. Sanchez

Gold Donors with a donation of $300 to $499

Ruth Anne Humphry

Silver Donors with a donation of $200 to $299

Lisbeth Geertsen
Mr. Dwight and Mrs. June Lubich
Ms. Marie A. Pelletier-Hartwig
Jean (Nakashima) Sakoda

Bronze Donors with a donation of $150 to $199

Lesley Paige

Past Donors

Alumni Highlight

Alumni in the News

  • Alumna Dr. Susan Robertson received the 2020 OTAC Award of Appreciation for long standing support to the profession! This is a great honor to see our very generous alum receive this award!
  • Alumnus Dr. Shawn Phipps (SJSU Post-professional MSOT program) was chosen as the Honored Lecturer at the CFOT Awards Luncheon and Symposium's 38th anniversary in October 2019.
  • Alumna Dr. Gigi Smith (SJSU Post-professional MSOT program) was chosen as the Honored Lecturer at the CFOT Awards Luncheon and Symposium's 37th anniversary in October 2018.
  • Alumna Beth Ching (BS in OT, 1985) is an Assistant Professor in the OTD program at Samuel Merritt and has received the Interprofessional Collaboration Award at the 2017 AOTA Annual Conference. Her award will acknowledge her skills: Making Space for Everyone at the Table.
  • Congratulations to Lecturer Alison George, graduate of SJSU with a masters of science degree from the OT Dept., who received the Provost Award for recognition of supporting the OT Department in working on the Departmental Writing Standards.    
  • A graduate from the SJSU Distance MSOT program, alumna Apple Sepulveda, received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant to work with health professionals in the Philippines. Dr. Pamela Richardson worked with this student on her graduate project and would be able to provide additional information about this grant.

In Memoriam

Remembering and Honoring Lois Marie Barber, OTR, FAOTA, SJSU
Class of 1952 by Dr. Heidi M. Pendleton

photo of Lois M. Barber in a red dress
In late November 2022, the profession of Occupational Therapy lost a wonderful leader. Lois Marie Barber, a 1952 graduate of then San Jose State College was the San Jose State University OT Distinguished Alumna of the Year [pdf] for 2000. We were fortunate to have such a stellar OT in our department history. Master OT practitioner, kind and patient teacher and mentor to hundreds, inventor, entrepreneur, craftswoman, environmentalist, advocate for justice, philanthropist, dog lover and rescuer, whale and dolphin watcher from her beautiful home overlooking the Pacific in Shell Beach - Lois was an exemplar of living a life full of meaningful occupation. Lois died after a brief illness surrounded by her many lifelong friends and loving neighbors. I only wish that you all could have known her!

It was an honor to nominate Lois for consideration for the 100 Most Influential Occupational Therapy Leaders [pdf] of the last 100 Years. Though she eschewed drawing attention to herself she eventually relented and even expressed “it was kind of nice to be recognized”! Lois was unanimously selected and was honored at the Centennial Celebration at the AOTA Conference in Philadelphia 2017.

(Broad Street Pump Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility - one of Lois's award for her environmental and peace activism featured in OT Week article [pdf] from December 17, 1992 and

photo of Susan J. Harris
Susan J. Harris, an esteemed colleague and SJSU Alum, passed away on January 20, 2020.

For those who have not heard of Sue Harris, she was one of the first OTs to start an OT company and it grew into an amazing company. She was a big advocate for OTs having a voice in the political arena and always supported the OTACPAC. She was also named the 2008 SJSU OT Dept. Distinguished Alumni and was one of our Diamond Level Donors. And in 2018 at the OTAC Conference, Susan Harris was the honoree for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Here's Susan J. Harris Obituary.

Keep in Touch!

Let us know how you are doing and Keep in Touch [pdf].
And don't forget to like us on Facebook to continue growing with us and keep abreast with the latest news, accolades and events at our department!

Thumbs up Like image icon on Facebook