Belton, Texas – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor received a check for $80,000 on July 3 from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation for the purchase of a driving simulator for use in the university’s new occupational therapy master of science program. The equipment will be housed in a special laboratory where occupational therapy students will learn how to evaluate the cognitive and physical skills necessary for driving and how to help patients attain or regain those abilities, whether they have had an accident, stroke, surgery, or any other condition such as autism that makes driving difficult.
“Driving is one of the most complex skills to be mastered when individuals who have physical or cognitive limitations are working to acquire or regain their independence,” said Dr. Giulianne Krug, director of UMHB’s Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program. “This state-of-the-art simulation system will enable our students to learn the latest techniques for assessing and training individuals of driving age and will also generate data for continuing research in the field of occupational therapy.”
The Carpenter Foundation’s grant will make it possible for UMHB to purchase a driving simulation system and the software needed to equip a special lab in the new occupational therapy wing being added to Hardy Hall. The wing will add 15,000 square feet of laboratory, classroom, and office space to the building, which was already extensively renovated in 2015 to house the school’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Plans call for the new graduate program in occupational therapy to begin in the spring of 2020 and produce its first cohort of graduates in 2022.
“We are extremely grateful to the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation for this generous grant,” said UMHB President Randy O’Rear. “The Carpenter Foundation has been a steadfast friend of UMHB, investing more than $700,000 in our university since 1991 in support of capital projects and Conservatory of Music programs and scholarships. With this grant, the foundation is once again making it possible for us to offer students a first-rate educational experience, one that will prepare them to provide the best patient care available in the years to come.”