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St. Bonaventure University

St. Bonaventure University’s occupational therapy program granted seven-year accreditation by ACOTE

May 03, 2023

In the photo: Students in the first cohort of degree candidates in St. Bonaventure's occupational therapy program with program faculty and staff.

OT PhotoThe Master of Science in occupational therapy program at St. Bonaventure University has been approved for accreditation for a full seven-year term by the Accrediting Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
The granting of accreditation follows an onsite visit by ACOTE reviewers in March that found all areas of the St. Bonaventure program to be in compliance with ACOTE standards, said Dr. Joseph M. Pellerito Jr., founding director of the program.
“We were given a perfect score, without any areas of concern or citations, which is very rare,” Pellerito said. “The reviewers were highly complimentary of our students and impressed with the professionalism of our program, especially the ways in which we articulate our shared Franciscan values at SBU.
“Our program was called ‘wonderful’ and our facilities were described as some of the best the reviewers have seen anywhere in the country. It was a phenomenal site visit and a remarkable conclusion to our four-year journey to full accreditation.”
Part of the Dennis R. DePerro School of Health Professions at St. Bonaventure, the Master of Science in occupational therapy is a professional degree program that prepares students academically and professionally for the responsibilities and services required of OT practitioners. The program welcomed its first cohort of students in August of 2021, operating with provisional ACOTE accreditation as it began the rigorous process of seeking full accreditation.
“This is affirmation of everything our OT team and the university have done to ensure that our program meets or exceeds the high standards required for accreditation. To receive the maximum seven-year accreditation without any areas of noncompliance being cited is a wonderful achievement,” Pellerito said.
The ACOTE accreditation report recognizes university leaders for their “vision and commitment” to the OT program, and the importance of the university’s core values in shaping the program’s curriculum. It also cites the university’s financial commitment in providing “outstanding space and innovative materials and technology.” 
The DePerro School of Health Professions is housed in Francis Hall, which underwent a comprehensive $18 million renovation project in 2020-2021 in order to provide state-of-the-art facilities for the OT program and the school’s other offerings, which include master’s programs in physician assistant studies, public health and nursing, as well as undergraduate programs in nursing, public health and health science.
“This commitment to the program’s resources promotes a positive, forward-thinking learning environment for the development of future occupational therapy practitioners,” the report concludes.
Faculty in the occupational therapy program are praised in the report as well.
“The faculty are commended for their efforts and success in developing a robust curriculum that includes an array of community partnerships and collaborative relationships that align with the university mission. The community partnerships support the students’ educational experiences and foster the ability to learn the role of an occupational therapist on the interdisciplinary team. These experiences lead to students who understand and identify health disparities and meet the needs of their unique rural community,” the report notes.
Reaching a successful conclusion to the accreditation process was a team effort, Pellerito said.
“I want to thank everyone who helped us achieve this monumental milestone. The reviewers’ findings reinforce the fact that we have exceptional faculty and staff, and that graduates of our program are well-prepared to enter the workforce as effective and capable occupational therapy practitioners,” he said.

The program’s very first cohort of Master of Science in occupational therapy degree candidates will graduate on Sunday, May 14, in the university’s 163rd Commencement Exercises. Commencement begins at 10:30 a.m. in Reilly Center Arena on campus and may be viewed on the university’s livestream channel.

To learn more about the occupational therapy program at St. Bonaventure University, go to

About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.