2022 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner Rebecca (Arndt) Crecente ’04

Monday, September 12, 2022

Professional Achievement, College of Engineering, Letters, and Sciences

Raised on a dairy farm near Wilton, Rebecca (Arndt) Crecente graduated from Royall High School, demonstrating such athletic prowess that she was inducted into the Royall High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

When it came time to choose a college, she was attracted to Viterbo by Bobbi Vandenberg’s women’s basketball program, which emphasized academics and athletics equally.

Rebecca (Arndt) Crecente
Rebecca (Arndt) Crecente

“I knew a degree from Viterbo would allow me to pursue my dream of becoming a physical therapist to help athletes and other people recover from their injuries and get back to the activities that they love,” Crecente said.

Crecente was successful athletically on the basketball court at Viterbo, starting at point guard for three years and serving as a team captain for two years.

She was equally successful in the classroom as she worked on her biology degree. “I enjoyed learning from all the biology and chemistry professors. They all had their unique way of making learning fun, interesting, and challenging,” Crecente said. “I graduated prepared to succeed in my chosen field of physical therapy because of the quality of the education I received at Viterbo.”

After graduating from Viterbo, she gained admission to the top-flight physical therapy program at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Crecente returned to Wisconsin after graduating in 2007 from Duke with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT). She began her career as a physical therapist in outpatient orthopedics at St. Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point.

After two years, she was accepted into the Sports Physical Therapy Residency Program at Gundersen Sports Medicine in Onalaska. During the sports residency, she had the opportunity to learn from experienced sports physical therapists and assist professors at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with physical therapy research.

She was an author on a research paper on gluteal muscle activation in female runners with and without patellofemoral pain syndrome that was published in Clinical Biomechanics in 2011. She was honored for her work on that with a Rose Excellence in Research Award for Excellence in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Research.

Crecente became a board-certified clinical specialist in sports physical therapy in 2011, after graduating from the Gundersen Sports Medicine residency program in 2010.

In August 2010, Crecente moved to Greenville, S.C., to work for Proaxis Therapy (now ATI Physical Therapy), an outpatient orthopedic practice that had a highly respected sports residency program. She saw the job as an opportunity to practice physical therapy while also helping to educate the next generation of clinicians.

In addition to serving as a certified clinical instructor for physical therapy students, Crecente has been a residency faculty member teaching content on the knee joint and sports nutrition for the past eight years and has practiced as a clinical mentor to 18 sports residents over the past six years. She said she enjoys the collegial environment and believes she learns just as much from the sports residents as they learn from her.

In addition to her work at ATI Physical Therapy, Crecente volunteers as medical support for local running and triathlon races. She has had the privilege to cover national events that were held in the area including the UCI Para-Cycling Road Championships and USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships.

She has continued to live an active lifestyle, competing in triathlons and marathons, and she takes it very seriously. She was the top female finisher in the YMCA Maple Leaf Half Marathon in La Crosse in 2009, was second in her age group in the 2016 South Carolina Triathlon Series, and ran the 2017 Boston Marathon.

Crecente said she is deeply honored and humbled to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award. “It is an award I never envisioned receiving,” she said. “I want to thank Viterbo from the bottom of my heart for bestowing me with this prestigious award.”

2022 Viterbo University Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients main page