Tributes to Bill Anthony, compiled by Lori Ashcraft

William Anthony passed away in 2020. As the founder of Boston University’s Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, he is often credited with the inspirational leadership that guided the mental health field through paradigm shifts to ensure the possibility that individuals with psychiatric conditions could regain valued roles in the community. Below you will find in the words of other pioneers and leaders in the field, the impact Bill Anthony had on them and those around them.

Text Box: Photo Credit: Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Introduction by Lori Ashcraft

I was honored when asked to write a tribute for Bill Anthony. Bill and I worked closely together, usually writing article for publication, sometimes just exploring new ideas, or new ways to approach the learning processes, always searching for new ways to present information that would inspire readers to dig deeper; deeper into the literature and deeper into their own being, always in search of the compassion required to do this work effectively. Sometimes Camille joined in, offering suggestions, or making fun of us for getting stuck in our own ruts.

I let a few days go by before taking up the pen, waiting for the necessary inspiration to do right by Bill – to write from a place of bottomless truth and compassion in order to honor the amazing human being that he was. Finally, I started writing. (You’ll come across the piece I contributed later in this chapter.) Then I stopped. I wasn’t sure what to write next, so I waited for the next flash of inspiration.

It was in that space of waiting that I realized why I didn’t have anything else to say. The rest of the story was not mine to write. It was to be written by others who knew and loved Bill. Together we could write a much better symphony than I could on my own. So, I opened the door to others, offering them the opportunity to add their voices in remembrance of Bill and the legacy he left us.

That’s what you’ll find in this tribute – many voices that harmonize beautifully as the story unfolds. You’ll find some common themes repeated – perhaps the most poignant being references to Bill’s love of the poetry of Robert Frost, whether it be the telling of taking down walls or taking the less traveled path at crucial choice points.

I can tell you a few things about the voices in this tribute. Without exception, they are all “wall taker-downers”, and they are walkers of the “less chosen path” –always in the interest of supporting the amazing, courageous, enduring people we serve, until those people could rise on their own, and fly on bent and battered wings, toward their own destiny, often looking over their shoulders at us, knowing that we had their back if they needed anything further form us.

So we wish you well as you read these tributes. We hope the love we have all received from Bill will seep into your hearts, giving you the courage and compassion needed to do the real work of recovery.


  • Courtenay Harding
  • Art Dell Orto
  • Lori Ashcraft
  • Gene Johnson
  • Edye Swartz
  • Dori Hutchinson
  • Harvey Rosenthal
  • Marianne Farkas
  • Andy Bernstein
  • Sally Rogers
  • David Bucciferro
  • Kevin Ann Huckshorn

To view the Tributes, click here.

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