Southwestern University Trustee
Dr. Claire Peel ’72
Dr. Claire Peel is the Executive Director for Accreditation and Assessment for Physical Therapy at the University of St. Augustine, the largest school of physical and occupational therapy in the United States. A nationally recognized researcher, teacher, and education administrator, Dr. Peel previously served as the Senior Vice Provost for Academic & Faculty Affairs at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, where she also was a professor in the school’s department of physical therapy and held various other administrative positions. Prior to joining UNT Health Science Center, Dr. Peel held several leadership positions at the University of Alabama Birmingham, chaired the department of physical therapy at The University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, and was a faculty member at universities in Texas and Nebraska. She has received numerous professional honors, most recently the Mary Jane Harris Award for Distinguished Service from the Commission of Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education in 2017. The American Physical Therapy Association elected her a Catherine Worthington Fellow in 2007
Dr. Peel has been actively involved for over 15 years with Pet Partners, a national organization for animal-assisted therapy. She is a registered therapist and a licensed evaluator and instructor with the organization, and she and her dog have provided therapy at various geriatric facilities in North Texas. She also served as the board treasurer of Delta Hearts of Gold, a dog therapy organization in Fort Worth. She is a former member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Graduate Education Advisory Committee. In 2010 she was named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Central Alabama.
Claire graduated with a biology degree in 1972 from Southwestern, where she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, Cardinal Key, Who’s Who, the President’s Advisory Committee, the Union Leadership Committee, the Union Governing Board, and a resident assistant. She received a master’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Southern California in 1979 and her PhD in exercise science and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation from the University of Iowa in 1984.
Claire has served as an SU Alumni Network Mentor since 2016. Prior to her election as a trustee, she served on Southwestern’s board of visitors.