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Louis and Dorothy Laubenthal Memorial Scholarship awarded to UI student Elizabeth Halbur

August 21, 2017

University of Iowa graduate student Elizabeth Halbur, of Manning, Iowa, is the recipient of the Louis and Dorothy Laubenthal Memorial Scholarship for the 2017-2018 school year.

Halbur, who holds a B.S. degree from the University of Nebraska, is the sixth recipient of this scholarship, which provides annual financial assistance to a first-year doctoral student in the University of Iowa Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. The program offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and a research-intensive M.A./Ph.D. degree in rehabilitation science, and it is ranked sixth in the country.

Chris Laubenthal established the scholarship fund in 2011, in memory of his grandparents, Louis and Dorothy Laubenthal. The Laubenthals were born and raised in Emmetsburg, Iowa, where they had very limited educational opportunities in the early 1900s. Though both were academically gifted, family considerations required them to enter the workforce and forego higher education.

The Laubenthals never received recognition for their commitment to education during their lifetimes. Thanks to their grandson’s generosity, this scholarship now recognizes and memorializes their belief in the importance of academics.

The Laubenthal family has deep ties to the university and the UI Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. Chris Laubenthal’s father, Nick Laubenthal (1970 M.A.), and stepmother, Karla Laubenthal, both built successful careers in the UI health-care system and mentored numerous students within the department. Chris Laubenthal received his B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from the UI and shares his grandparents’ belief in the value of education.

Halbur became interested in a career in physical therapy when she saw how much her father—a farmer—benefited from a physical therapist’s care. During her time as an undergraduate, Halbur volunteered in the University of Nebraska’s Department of Exercise Physiology, where she studied neuromuscular fatigue. She also was a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-health honor society based on excellence in academics and participation in volunteer service.