Potts-Tantorski endowed professorship builds on strong tradition of excellence in physical therapy

February 19, 2024

Physical therapy students smile in their white coats at a ceremony.

As Quinnipiac marks 50 years of physical therapy education in 2024, the program continues to build upon its foundation of excellence, with the establishment of the Harold Potts–Edward Tantorski Endowed Professorship.

Quinnipiac physical therapy's first endowed professorship honors the legacies of two instrumental leaders and outstanding clinician educators.

“We wanted to do something that was special and to celebrate them in conjunction with 50 years of Quinnipiac physical therapy is perfect timing,” said Ken Kosior ’03, MPT ’06, chair of Quinnipiac’s physical therapy department.

Kosior said the combined leadership and visionary work of Potts and Tantorski comprise 32 years of the program’s 50-year history. By endowing their legacies with a new position that supports an exceptional faculty leader within the physical therapy department, the program is now poised to begin an exceptional new chapter.

Meeting the contribution threshold to endow the Potts-Tantorski Endowed Professorship coinciding with the start of 2024 is a credit to its tremendous alumni support, said Kosior. Quinnipiac physical therapy alumni now number more than 3,300 strong.

Quinnipiac physical therapy was established by the late Potts on the Mount Carmel Campus in 1972. Today, Quinnipiac physical therapy is situated in the School of Health Sciences on the North Haven Campus.

Among his many contributions, as Quinnipiac’s founding physical therapy chair from 1972 through 1987, Potts gathered the inaugural Class of 1974 and oversaw the program’s accreditation in 1974. In 1973, Tantorski joined the department as a faculty member, becoming associate chair in 1976. Following Potts, Tantorski served as department chair from 1987 through 2004. He retired from Quinnipiac in 2019.

The first flush of alumni contributions to establish a physical therapy-endowed professorship began in the 1990’s in recognition of Potts. Contributions continued to accumulate over the years. As Quinnipiac physical therapy's 50th anniversary approached, a renewed effort was undertaken to fund the endowment, which was re-named the Potts-Tantorski Endowed Professorship with faculty support, said Kosior.

“Everyone in the department has a connection to Harold or Ed, or both. So even though it originally started with Harold Potts in mind, adding Ed to it has just added meaning and hasn’t diminished honoring Harold,” Kosior said.

Tantorski said the honor of joining Potts as a namesake of this endowed professorship is humbling and unexpected.

“This is a big honor, especially being together with Harold. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I have never in my life met a better person than Harold Potts. He was a tremendous, genuine person. He would hurt no one and help everyone,” said Tantorski.

Quinnipiac physical therapy grew from its start with Potts as a four-year baccalaureate program to include, during Tantorski’s tenure, developing an entry-level master’s program and transitioning to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. Today, first-year students are admitted to the program’s entry-level dual-degree Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences Studies/Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. The undergraduate curriculum, which can be completed in 3 or 4 years, is specifically designed to prepare students for the DPT program.

Kosior, a Quinnipiac physical therapy alumnus, said he was among those privileged to have Tantorski as his undergraduate advisor. Kosior said many alumni have shared with him the impact made on their Quinnipiac experience and professional careers due to the support of Potts, Tantorski, or both.

“Everybody that I talk to, in all the generations of 50 years of Quinnipiac physical therapy alumni, are just honored that we’ve done something to recognize these two great individuals,” said Kosior.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years,” said Tantorski. “If I had to do it over again, I would choose no other path. Being in the position I was — to be able to educate youngsters to go out and help other people — to me, that’s the greatest satisfaction I could have. It’s priceless to know that I have done something to make this world a better place, by educating these youngsters who are going out to be competent physical therapists and helping people live productive lives.”

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