Born and raised in the Lone Star State, TWU Distinguished Alumna Sheila K. Kellagher, DPT ’81, ’17 is a skilled physical therapist and passionate entrepreneur. “I’m a Paris, Texas girl and am the first woman in my family to earn a college degree,” she says.

Kellagher’s journey from small-town Texas to founding her own company and developing it into a multi-million-dollar business began with great mentors.

“In high school, so many of my teachers were TWU graduates. My health education teacher, Joe Francenia Hicks ’40, helped me find my passion for health and physical education.”

That’s how Kellagher found herself on TWU’s Denton campus in the late 1970s, interviewing for a spot in the physical therapy undergraduate program. She had spent her summers volunteering as a candy striper at the local hospital and was inspired by the work of physical therapists. The interview didn’t end the way she’d hoped, but she knew what she wanted and persevered.

“I stuck with my plan, earned a 4.0 GPA my first two years at TWU, and was accepted into the physical therapy program my third year. I was also accepted into what was the Basic Master’s Program,” she says.


After graduating, she worked as a physical therapist at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

“TWU instilled in me a hunger for lifelong learning. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. Every TWU graduate is empowered to do whatever they put their minds to, and we have the determination to see our dreams come true.”
Sheila K. Kellagher, DPT ’81, ’17

“I wanted to help more people, so I developed a business plan to open my own clinic,” Kellagher says. She presented her business plan to mentors, including her father, who managed a clothing store for more than 40 years, her mother, who owned and operated a health foods store, and a neurosurgeon at Presbyterian Hospital.

“Sharing my business plan and laying the groundwork for my own company is when I learned the value of a network,” she adds.

Her mentors guided her along the way and her colleagues in the healthcare sector offered to send her patients.

To get the business started, she applied for a loan at 10 different banks and was rejected nearly every time. “It was important that I keep trying,” she says.

She was approved for a $20,000 loan in 1982 and given three years to pay it back. The business grew to two physical therapists in year two, three clinics in year five and 25 clinics in year six. She paid off the loan in just one year.


In the late 1980s, Kellagher observed how elderly patients struggled to receive treatment due to transportation difficulties. She thought, “why don’t we just go to them?” Her company began to build an infrastructure that allowed physical therapists to treat patients in their homes and living facilities. By 1992, Kellagher’s company had 2,000 employees across 250 clinics in six states.

She always remained connected to Texas Woman’s and was appointed to the TWU Board of Regents in 1994 and served as chair from 1998-1999. She describes the experience as “an honorable and empowering one that made me so proud.”

Kellagher returned to TWU and earned her doctorate in physical therapy in 2017. Today, she serves as principal partner of TruCare Solutions and a member of the TWU Foundation Board. 

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