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Campus Gathers to Wish PT Profs Farewell

Retirees Represent 75 Years of Service to the Institution

Prof. Susan O’Sullivan, center, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, stands with two retiring faculty members, Profs. Claire Chamberlain, left, and Barbara Cocanour.

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Several hundred UMass Lowell faculty, staff, students and alums gathered recently to celebrate the 75 years of combined service of two faculty members retiring from the Department of Physical Therapy. Faculty honored at the reception were Profs. Claire Chamberlain and Barbara Cocanour.

Chamberlain earned  a B.S. in education from Tufts University, a diploma in physical education from Boston-Bouvé College, Tufts University in 1966, an M.Ed. from Tufts University in 1970, and a certificate of advanced graduate study from Northeastern University in 1976.  After five years of teaching at Bradford Junior College, she came to Lowell State College in 1971, where she taught physical education activity, lecture, and coaching courses. She served as chair of the Physical Education Department from 1983 to 1991. In 1991, Chamberlain joined the Physical Therapy Department to develop the exercise physiology clinical practicum and has been instrumental in teaching exercise physiology courses to sophomores and seniors.

She is active in a number of professional organizations, including the Eastern Association for Physical Education of College Women and the Massachusetts Association for Intercollegiate Athletics of College Women. She served as president of both organizations and was presented with their highest awards.  In addition, she has served on numerous state, regional and national boards and committees. She has also been inducted into the Northeast Hall of Fame for her pioneering work for Title IX and women’s athletics. Numerous students have benefited from her teaching and coaching skills. She was named UMass Lowell’s first Outstanding Faculty Advisor.  She will assume her new Emerita status June 1.

Barbara Cocanour has been a member of the physical therapy faculty since its inception. She has a Ph.D. in zoology with an extensive background in comparative anatomy, embryology and marine biology. She teaches clinical anatomy and neuroanatomy for the doctor of physical therapy students. Numerous PT students have benefited from her guidance as their graduate research adviser.

Cocanour has maintained an active role on numerous committees at the University, college, and department levels, including the Chancellor’s budget committee, and promotion and tenure committees at the college and university levels. She also has been active on the Council for Teaching, Learning & Research as Scholarship, and has served as an enrichment task force co-chairperson. She has served as the graduate coordinator for the department.

Nationally, she has served as an on-site reviewer and currently serves as a commissioner for the Physical Therapy Panel for the national accreditation body for physical therapy (Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education). She is committed to a variety of community activities and has worked for the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry for a number of years.

Cocanour has two children (Kirsten, a physical therapist, and Eric, an assistant professor of marine science at the Virginia Institute) and two grandchildren (Jonathan and Ryan).

For a gallery of photos from the Chamberlain/Cocanour retirement party, please visit UML's photo gallery.