‘I have had the opportunity to lead an extraordinary faculty and students who very much have earned this recognition right beside me’
Nancy Landgraff, 62, of Ron Joy Place, Boardman, whose leadership has brought national and statewide accolades to Youngstown State University’s Department of Physical Therapy, is the second President James P. Tressel Endowed Chair in Leadership.
“Dr. Landgraff’s hard work, expertise and her commitment to the physical therapy profession over the course of 25 years at YSU has transformed PT into one of the university’s most successful academic programs,” said Brien Smith, provost, who made the appointment. “We are fortunate to have someone of Nancy’s caliber and passion here at YSU.”
The endowed chair was created in 2021 through a $1.6 million gift from a group of YSU Foundation trustees in recognition of Tressel’s leadership at YSU and across the region. The honor is bestowed annually on a YSU department chair with an established record of outstanding leadership. The award also comes with a stipend and expenses to support development and growth of the department. Nancy Wagner, chair of the YSU Centofanti School of Nursing, was the first recipient.
“During her 25 years at Youngstown State University, Nancy has had numerous accomplishments across all academic realms, including in teaching, research and scholarship, and university, community and national service,” Jeffery Allen, dean of the YSU Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, said in his nomination letter.
Landgraff, who holds a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, said she was humbled by the appointment. “At YSU, I have had the opportunity to lead an extraordinary faculty and students who very much have earned this recognition right beside me,” she said. “For all of them, I am truly grateful.”
Landgraff, who also holds a bachelor’s in Physical Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s in Health Science from the University of Florida, worked nearly 15 years in the PT profession before joining the YSU faculty in 1997, becoming chair in 2012.
Under Landgraff’s leadership, the YSU Doctor of Physical Therapy program has been named the statewide Program of the Year for two consecutive years (2020 and 2021) by the Ohio Physical Therapy Association, besting the state’s 10 other PT programs to receive the award.
The YSU DPT, a 2.5-year full-time doctoral program started in 2008, has grown from annual cohorts of 19 students to annual cohorts of 45 students. The program has graduated 376 students, including 35 at Spring Commencement this past May.
As chair, Landgraff also oversaw the renovation and expansion of PT training and academic spaces in Cushwa Hall, and she supported the development of a new PhD program in Health Sciences and a new master’s program in Health and Human Services, both of which continue to grow.
Landgraff’s scholarly work is extensive, including nearly three dozen academic presentations across the world, from New Orleans to the Netherlands, San Diego to China. She has received more than two dozen research grants totaling nearly $100,000 and authored seven peer-reviewed scholarly articles and three abstracts. She also provides editorial/manuscript review for several scholarly journals related to neurological and cardiovascular disease as well as the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Landgraff’s community service is equally extensive, volunteering for Walk With a Doc, the Marquette Challenge (for PT research), Where There’s a Wheel There’s a Way (accessibility awareness), Women in Science and Relay for Life. She had held leadership positions with the Ohio Physical Therapy Association, the America Heart/America Stroke Association in Mahoning County and Ohio Living-Park Vista Retirement Center. She also has served as a PT consultant for Steward Health/Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Warren.
Landgraff also has an extensive list of honors, including an Excellence Award for Department Chairperson in Teaching, Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Society, YSU Watson Merit Award for Academic Leadership, YSU Distinguished Professor Awards for Public Service and for Scholarship, the American Physical Therapy Association’s Dorothy Briggs Memorial Scientific Inquiry Award and Ohio Physical Therapy Association Research Committee’s Recognition for Contribution to Research.
This article is being republished with permission from the Boardman News.