The Above and Beyond Award

The Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Alumni Association honors graduates who have made an exceptional contribution to their profession.  The Alumni Achievement Award is presented to one alumnus from Physical Therapy and one alumnus from Occupational Therapy each year at the Annual General Meeting/Spring Reunion of the Alumni held in May or June.

The “Above and Beyond Award(s)” (A&B Award) is intended to be awarded on an occasional or ad hoc basis to an Alumnae who has shown exceptional contribution to the community in an area other than Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy. The achievement(s) of a nominee may include any field of work e.g. politics, sports, performing and/or visual arts, contribution to improving the state of the world we live in e.g. humanitarian work; and contributing to the improvement of quality of life of individuals anywhere in the world.

The objective for the creation of the A & B award is for UofT’s PT and OS&OT departments to optimize on the bond between alumni and the University

The Above and Beyond Award will be presented at an event associated with the Spring Reunion activities.

Nomination Process
A nomination for the Above and Beyond Award can be submitted in writing by any member of either profession or the community. Nominations should contain at least 500 words on the contributions that have been made by the individual. An accompanying Curriculum Vitae is desirable although not essential. Nomination should be submitted to the Alumni Awards Committee who will in turn make a recommendation to the Executive Committee of the Association who will make a final decision.

Criteria for awarding the A & B Award includes but is not limited to:

  • An alumnus of University of Toronto Physical Therapy or Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Prominence and acclaim in the nominee’s chosen profession or field.
  • Demonstrated sustained excellence and achievement of the highest order
  • Made a preeminent and positive contribution to the well-being of their chosen profession, community and/or humankind.
  • Developing innovative and effective approaches to challenging human issues
  • Being outstanding role models in their chosen field of excellence
  • Mirror the quality and academic excellence of the University of Toronto

Above and Beyond Award Winner – 2015

Shelley Gautier chosen as the recipient of the Above and Beyond Award.

Shelley Gautier, 9T5, exemplifies these criteria with her successes in para-competition, her commitment to the University and the Foundation which she has established for Para-Athletes world-wide.  Shelley’s achievements have been outstanding. Her success in the para-cycling world cup finals held this past month in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, was just one more of many podium wins for this amazing athlete. Shelley has come home with not one but two gold medals; it’s not exactly surprising that this Toronto rider took the time trial’s top podium spot, dominating the event with a strong, satisfying victory.  She is definitely on her way to Rio.

Shelley’s story if one of inspiration and commitment.  She graduated as a physical therapist from the University of Toronto in 1995 and embarked on a successful professional career at the Toronto General Hospital with a special interest in both hand therapy and, not surprisingly, in the area of sports, all this while continuing to pursue her cycling passion.

It was in 2001 while mountain biking in the United States that Shelley was involved in a serious accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury with a resultant hemiplegia.  The period of rehabilitation was both long and demanding.  After her final discharge home, Shelley acquired a recumbent bike and began again to cycle.  It is the proof of this remarkable woman that she did not abandon her dream of being a winning athlete; she embarked on a challenging direction to become an acclaimed Paralympian athlete.   We are SO very proud of her.