The Department of Physical Therapy, University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) was established in 1981 under the direction of Dr. Raymond L. Blakely. The first class was admitted in 1982. The first class of 13 students graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. The Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) degree was approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission in 1992. The initiation of the MPT Degree Program was consistent with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Strategic Plan to increase graduate offerings. The first class of MPT students entered the program in September 1993 and graduated in September 1996. In 2002, the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree was approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission and accreditation was granted by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The first DPT degree was awarded in September 2005.
After Dr. Blakely’s retirement, Dr. Michael Rabel was appointed Chair of the department.
The program has been housed in multiple locations across the years. It was originally located in the old Washington High School (Kiah Hall). It then moved across campus to Tanner Hall and then back to the renovated Kiah Hall. In 2005, the program moved into the newly built Hazel Hall. Hazel Hall was built in the location of the President’s House.