1940-1949

Alumna Agnes Fielding Prahman (1940)

In 1945, Washington University School of Medicine offered to take over and operate the St. Louis School of Occupational Therapy. Geraldine Lermit supported the union and felt that being a part of a large and well-known university would be advantageous and bring prestige to the school. Because of her active support, the two were united, establishing another milestone in the School’s history.

After providing more than 20 years of leadership, Geraldine Lermit retired as program director in 1945 and was succeeded by Dorothy Flint, who served as acting director from 1945 to 1947. Later, in honor of Lermit and her service to the school, friends and alumni donated money to establish a library fund at Washington University School of Occupational Therapy.

In November 1945, the administration of the school was officially taken over by Washington University and in February 1946, the Department of Occupational Therapy was established in the Division of Auxiliary Medical Services of Washington University School of Medicine. A bachelor’s degree was required at that time for students to become qualified occupational therapists, and the three-year diploma course was discontinued.

After serving as educational field secretary for the American Occupational Therapy Association, Sue Hurt became the Elias Michael Director from 1947 to 1949.  Although her directorship was brief, she used her exceptional communication skills to further the direction of the School and the profession. She was succeeded by Erna Rozmarynowski Simek, who served as Elias Michael Director and an assistant professor of occupational therapy in 1949.