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Music Therapy Pioneer Dr. Ruth Boxberger Dies

September 13, 2013 12:32 PM


BoxbergerRuthMusic Therapy Pioneer, Dr. Ruth Boxberger, 93, passed away on September 8, 2013. Dr. Boxberger was the first woman to receive a doctorate in music education with an emphasis in music therapy. Her 1963 University of Kansas dissertation on the first decade of NAMT stands as seminal historical music therapy research, the first of only three extant scholarly accounts of the histories of the National Association for Music Therapy and the American Association for Music Therapy.  In 2000, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the American Music Therapy Association, George Heller, as the William W. Sears Lecturer, stated, "Certainly no one can ever talk about the history of music therapy without mentioning Ruth Boxberger and her pioneering work of the 1960s. Ruth did a spectacular job of researching and narrating the history of music therapy in general and the early history of this association in particular in two famous chapters in the 1961 and 1962 Music Therapy yearbooks and in her 1963 dissertation." Dr. Boxberger received her RMT designation on January 1, 1959. As a member of the National Association for Music Therapy (NAMT), she served in a variety of leadership positions at the National, Regional and State levels. Dr. Boxberger was recognized for her active participation in the association and was awarded Honorary Life Membership in 1989 by NAMT. Dr. Boxberger received her Doctorate degree from the University of Kansas. Dr. Boxberger was Professor of Music at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio; the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas; and East Carolina University for twenty years, until her retirement in 1987. She worked for the Veterans Administration Hospital, Knoxville, Iowa; U.S. Army Hospital, Battle Creek, Michigan; and Shepherd Air Force Regional Hospital, Wichita Falls, Texas. The music therapy profession is indebted to Dr. Boxberger and her pioneering efforts. Our condolences and prayers go out to her family, colleagues, students, friends, and many others whose lives were touched by her.

Dr. Ruth Boxberger’s obituary:


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