Peter S. Zulia is accustomed to helping others. As a three-time WVU graduate who went on to start Oxford Physical Therapy Centers in Cincinnati, Ohio, he has helped the physical rehabilitation of countless people and helped them get back to the activities they enjoy. As a philanthropist, he and his wife Linda have raised close to a million dollars for cancer research and an endowed a scholarship for future Mountaineers.
Last weekend, though, the spotlight was squarely on Zulia as he was inducted into the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapists Turner A. Blackburn Hall of Fame/Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony in San Diego, Calif. The award is the highest and most prestigious recognition granted by AASPT and is given to members who have made a lasting contribution to the specialty of sports physical therapy over their career.
Zulia, who was nominated by his peers, is one of just 29 members to be inducted
into the Blackburn Hall of Fame since it was established in 2006. In addition
to the induction ceremony, AASPT also celebrated its 50th anniversary as a specialty
of the American Physical Therapy Association.
“It is such a privilege to be recognized by your peers," Zulia said of the honor. "The profession of physical therapy has given me so much, but I realize none of it would be possible without the support of so many. No one does it alone, and that is the case for me. It is my great honor to receive the Turner A. Blackburn Hall of Fame/Lifetime Achievement Award. And I am proud that the foundation for my professional career happened at WVU.”
Zulia graduated from WVU in 1983 with a secondary education and athletic training degree. He went on to found Oxford Therapy with partner Ken Rusche over 30 years ago, and the business has expanded to 13 locations in the Cincinnati area. A lifelong learner and a lifelong Mountaineer, he chose WVU to pursue his MBA, which he completed in 2014.
While Zulia’s business was growing, another WVU alum was having success on the hardwood in the same city: Bob Huggins. Their friendship started with a Huggins Fantasy Camp years ago, but they quickly realized they had more in common than just Montgomery Inn and pepperoni rolls. Zulia’s father, Simon, passed of lung cancer, and Huggins lost his mother, Norma Mae, to colon cancer.
The bond between the two sparked initiatives that have raised close to a million dollars for cancer research and care over the years. Zulia and his wife Linda helped launch the “Huggins Homecoming” in Cincinnati with various fundraising events including Coach Huggins, with proceeds benefiting cancer care and research at the WVU Cancer Institute. The Zulia’s proudly presented the first check to the cause worth $150,000 to Huggins at his annual Fish Fry in 2020 and continues to host the homecoming event annually, to raise money to win the battle against cancer.
®And, just like Huggins, Zulia’s years of excellence and hard work has resulted in the highest professional honor: Hall of Fame induction.