Mary Ann Loeffler Endowed Scholarship Description
Passion, commitment, and involvement are words to describe Mary Ann Loeffler’s life as an educator in therapeutic recreation. Her career of thirty-five years began as a pediatric recreational therapist at National Jewish Hospital and University Hospital. Subsequently, she became director of Children’s Hospital Recreational Therapy Department, and director of Denver General Hospital, charged with starting new inpatient and outpatient pediatric programs. Mary Ann started teaching classes at MSU Denver in therapeutic recreation in 1976, joined Metro’s recreation program full time in 1978, and retired in 2006.
“To make a difference, you must get actively involved!” Her passion is providing educational and recreational experiences to individuals with special needs. She created opportunities for her students to get involved while developing their abilities and skills. Mary Ann volunteered for over thirty years as an instructor for Children’s Hospital Handicap Ski program and the National Sports Center for the Disabled. She served twenty years on the board with the Colorado Sports for the Physically Challenged, on the camp advisory board for Rocky Mountain Village Easter Seals Handicamp, and as a volunteer with the Denver Botanical Gardens in the Sensory Garden.
She has been an advocate for recreational therapy at the state and national levels in organizations such as the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association, the National Therapeutic Recreation Society, and the American Therapeutic Recreation Association. For her efforts, she was recognized as the first recreational therapist by the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association with the “Fellow Award,” by the National Parks and Recreation Association- Midwest Region as the “Outstanding Professional,” and by the National Therapeutic Recreation Society with the Tommy Wilson Award (for advocating programs promoting the disabled in sports).
Mary Ann’s proudest contributions to the recreation program while at MSU Denver was her support and dedication to achieving and maintaining national accreditation of the recreation program since 1990 until she retired. Her dedication to the Society of Recreation Students club in securing funding for students to attend and have the opportunity to co-present with her at sessions at state, regional, and national conferences and her partnerships with various therapeutic recreation agencies allowed students to practice the skills they were learning.
It is the intent of the Mary Ann Loeffler Endowed Scholarship to be able to support a student(s) in their pursuit of becoming a successful professional in helping individuals with disabilities have a better life.