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In 2010, an idea was born to create a lectureship in the OT program. Months later, a small group of occupational therapists with close ties to Lyla and to the OT program at EMU met with Dr. Spelbring to ask her permission to develop and name a lectureship in her honor. Lyla initially questioned if she was the right person for this honor but after discussion she consented to the use of her name and played an integral role in the conceptualization and development of the lectureship, the first endowed lectureship in the College of Health and Human Services.

The inaugural lecture was given in the Fall of 2011 and coincided with the 70th Anniversary of the OT program. In the years that followed, the lectureship grew into an all day conference with workshops held by expert practitioners, graduate student poster presentations, a Pi Theta Epsilon sponsored session designed specifically for students, and a private session for students with the endowed lecturer. These additions were made to support the vision of the lectureship as a financially accessible venue that would offer practitioners, faculty, and students rich educational opportunities designed to enhance quality in practice and promote leadership in the profession.


The Lyla M. Spelbring Endowed Lectureship and Conference celebrates the accomplishments of this exceptional woman, a visionary leader who was deeply committed to the profession of Occupational Therapy. The lectureship is awarded annually to a nationally or internationally known individual who epitomizes the exceptional qualities of dedicated leadership, scholarship and service and whose work results in stronger, more vibrant communities.


Learn more about our passionate advisors

Every year a group of OT faculty, practicing therapists, recent graduates, and current occupational therapy students dedicated to the Spelbring Lecture come together to plan and put on the conference.

Learn more about our outstanding OT Faculty

Learn more about our exceptional Alumni

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