Top 5 Fundraising Schools Compete for Naming Rights to 2021-2022 Student-Led Marquette Challenge

Amid the uncertainty of the pandemic, students from across the United States raised money for much-needed physical therapy research. For the first time in the 32-year history of the Challenge, the winner of the 5 finalist schools will be announced LIVE during the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research virtual Awards Celebration.

ALEXANDRIA, VA (June 8, 2021) – Since 1989, physical therapy and physical therapy assistant students across the United States have raised money for research through the Marquette Challenge. Hundreds of schools and thousands of students have joined in raising more than $4.4 million to support the mission of the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR) – a national nonprofit that funds physical therapy research grants, fellowships, and scholarships.

In the uncertainty that students and faculty faced as the COVID-19 crisis emerged, FPTR opted to postpone the 2019-2020 VCU-Challenge. No winners were announced, and all school totals were applied to fundraising totals for the 2020-2021 VCU-Marquette Challenge, a Challenge like no other.

Now, turning the corner on the many changes and challenges of the past year, FPTR will recognize the remarkable achievements of these students in a LIVE virtual awards celebration. FPTR Trustee and PT Pintcast host Jimmy McKay, PT, DPT, will emcee the event which will also highlight long-time champions of research through the recognition of the 2021 FPTR Service Awards.

The winner among the top 5 finalists for the VCU-Marquette Challenge will be announced and will earn co-hosting rights for the 2021-2022 Challenge.

The top 5 schools for the 2020-2021 VCU-Marquette Challenge listed in alphabetical order are:

  • The Ohio State University
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Miami
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Virginia Commonwealth University

“We’ve always counted on the creativity and enthusiasm of students to keep the Challenge growing,” said Barbara Malm, FPTR CEO. “We’re looking forward to sharing the excitement of announcing this year’s top fundraising school live with our community of students and long-time supporters.”

122 schools participated in the VCU-Marquette Challenge. In addition to the 5 schools competing for top honors this year, FPTR will recognize the excellence, merit, and honorable mention schools and special awards during the live awards ceremony.

The schools receiving the award of excellence for raising more than $10,000 for research are:

  • New York University
  • Shenandoah University
  • University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Washington University in St. Louis

The schools receiving the award of merit for raising more than $6,000 for research are:

  • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – Shreveport
  • Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences
  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
  • Somerset Community College
  • William Carey University

The schools receiving recognition for honorable mention for raising more than $3,000 for research are:

  • Arcadia University
  • Emory University
  • The George Washington University
  • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – New Orleans
  • Midwestern University – Downers Grove
  • Northwestern University
  • Regis University
  • Sacred Heart University
  • Saint Louis University
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • The University of Iowa

Funds raised through the Challenge go towards physical therapy research grants and scholarships and support the rigorous scientific review process that helps the Foundation identify the most promising new investigators.

“Students who raise money for research are truly giving forward to their future profession,” said Emily Schaefer, PT, DPT, a student coordinator at Marquette University. “As future PTs and PTAs, the Challenge connects students to research and to the larger physical therapy community in a meaningful way.”

The FPTR 2021 Awards Celebration is free to attend. Join virtually on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 8:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern. RSVP to attend at