Helen Jean Hislop ’50 passed away in 2013 after a long career in physical therapy and years of service to Central College. Hislop graduated from Central with a major in biology, then went on to earn her certificate in physical therapy and master’s and doctoral degrees in physiology from the University of Iowa, and she received an honorary degree from Central in 1978.
Throughout her career, Hislop worked to advance education programs for physical therapy. She developed the first doctoral program in physical therapy in the United States while working at the University of Southern California (USC). She chaired the department of biokinesiology and physical therapy at USC until her retirement in 1998.
Hislop served on the Central Board of Trustees from 1981-98, and she received the Central Alumni Award in 1969. In 1999, she spoke at Central’s commencement, where she said, “I have been challenged and it is my task to challenge you. Central College owes me nothing; I owe Central College everything.”
In honor of Hislop’s years of service, Central College held a dedication ceremony for the Helen Jean Hislop Center Nov. 1. The naming of the center, which is home to the discipline of exercise science and athletic training on campus, commemorates Hislop’s years of service in the field of physical therapy.
During her career Hislop authored numerous studies and journal articles, and she served as the editor of Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association. In 1991, the APTA established the Helen J. Hislop Award for Outstanding Contributions to Professional Literature. Other awards Hislop received during her career include the Golden Pen Award, the Lucy Blair Service Award and Mary McMillan Lecture Award.