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YOUNGSTOWN — A longtime Youngstown State University professor has become the second recipient of a new and distinguished award.

“At YSU, I have had the opportunity to lead an extraordinary faculty and students who have very much earned this recognition beside me,” Nancy Landgraff, chairwoman of YSU’s Department of Physical Therapy, said.

She was referring to having been named the second James P. Tressel Endowed Chair in Leadership, a position created last year via a $1.6 million gift from several YSU Foundation trustees to recognize Tressel’s leadership on and off campus.

The honor is bestowed each year upon department chairs who exhibit outstanding leadership in their fields, according to a university news release. It also includes a stipend and expenses to support and develop continued growth in university departments.

The first recipient was Nancy Wagner, chairwoman of YSU’s Centofanti School of Nursing.

Landgraff joined the YSU faculty in 1997 and in 2012, became department chairwoman. Beforehand, she had worked about 15 years in the physical therapy profession.

Before earning her doctorate degree in rehabilitation sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, Landgraff had earned a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Pittsburgh, then a master’s degree from the University of Florida in health science.

Under her leadership, the Ohio Physical Therapy Association named YSU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program, created in 2008, statewide Program of the Year for 2020 and 2021. Since its inception, 376 students have graduated from the program, including 35 during spring commencement in May, according to the university.

Under Landgraff’s watch, the university’s physical therapy capabilities expanded, as parts of Cushwa Hall underwent renovations to accommodate additional spaces largely for training in the field. In addition, she supported the development of a doctorate program in health sciences as well as a new master’s degree program in health and human services.

Landgraff also volunteers for a program called Walk with a Doc, which provides free, physician-led walking groups throughout the year, as well as Relay for Life. In addition, she has served as a physical therapy consultant for Steward Health Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Warren.

Landgraff also has had leadership positions at Park Vista of Youngstown and the Ohio Physical Therapy Association.

“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,” Brien N. Smith, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said in a statement.

Jeffery Allen, dean of YSU’s Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, nominated Landgraff for the honor.



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