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The Passing of an Icon

Across the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, we mourn the passing of an icon, Founding Dean Anne Pascasio. Her long, accomplished and productive life of 95 years came to a peaceful end on Monday, June 22, 2020.

Dr. Pascasio served as the first dean of the then-named School of Health Related Professions (SHRP) from its inception in 1967 to its opening on January 1, 1969, until 1982 when she joined the faculty of the Department of Physical Therapy. She retired from the University in 1986. Her ties to the school remained strong well beyond her formal retirement as she served as a treasure trove of knowledge, a resource of historical facts, a trusted ally to school leadership, and a philanthropic donor supporting students and school initiatives. Through her generosity, the school’s Learning Resource Center memorializes her parents, and numerous students have benefited through awards made from the Anne Pascasio Endowed Scholarship Fund, which she continued to build over some 35 years.  

She was a thoughtful, intuitive, compassionate, generous leader who had an affinity for always supporting and encouraging her students from the Watson School of Physiatrics at the D. T. Watson Home to the University of Pittsburgh campus. Many alumni have reflected over the years on Dr. Pascasio’s influence on them. She maintained contact with her alumni and academic colleagues and enjoyed sending notes to them and sharing newspaper articles recognizing their accomplishments.

Family was of utmost importance to Dr. Pascasio and she often marveled at the successes of her nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and cousins. And her family extended well beyond her blood relatives. Fellow residents at Friendship Village of South Hills and former and current faculty, staff and alumni of SHRS were also warmly welcomed into her wide circle of family.

Dr. Pascasio grew SHRP from its inaugural three programs of physical therapy, medical technology and child development/child care to one that quickly included additional programs in health records management (the precursor to our Department of Health Information Management), clinical dietetics and occupational therapy.

Dr. Pascasio received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Pitt and held a certificate in physical therapy. In her early career, she was a staff physical therapist at Children’s Hospital and chief therapist at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. She was also an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association throughout her career where she served as a consultant in the Division of Education from 1959 - 1962 and was named a fellow of the professional organization in 1996.

We will miss Dr. Pascasio’s presence at our various events which she attended religiously and are saddened that she will not be with us to witness SHRS’ next decade of growth. We express our heartfelt sympathy to her extended family.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, June 25, 4 to 7 p.m., at Laughlin Funeral Home, 222 Washington Road, Mt Lebanon, with a funeral Mass on Friday, June 26, 10:30 a.m. at St Louise De Marillac Catholic Church, 320 McMurray Road, Pittsburgh.

The family asks for no flowers but suggests contributions be made to the Anne Pascasio Scholarship Fund at SHRS or to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank.