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A chancellor for our times

Dr. Dennis Marchiori inaugurated as the fourth chancellor of Palmer College
In his inaugural speech, Dr. Marchiori stated that Palmer College’s mission is dedicated to student learning and patient health, and supported by research.
Dr. Marchiori speaking in ceremonial garb

March 11, 2010, marked the inauguration of Dennis Marchiori, D.C., Davenport ’90, Ph.D., as the fourth chancellor of Palmer College of Chiropractic. Hundreds of faculty, staff, students, alumni and guests witnessed this historic event in Lyceum Auditorium in Vickie Anne Palmer Hall.

The three Palmer campus presidents were present, as well as presidents and representatives from fellow chiropractic and undergraduate colleges. Distinguished delegates included Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba, Davenport Third Ward Alderman William Boom, Pete De Kock (representing Iowa United States Congressman Bruce Braley), and Executive Director of the Iowa Chiropractic Society Daniel Garrett.

Chairman of the Palmer College of Chiropractic Board of Trustees Trevor Ireland, D.C., Davenport ’70, spoke of how he has known Dr. Marchiori since Dr. Marchiori was a student. “I’ve great respect and admiration for our new chancellor. He listens, he learns, and he leads.”

Board Trustee, and great granddaughter of D.D. Palmer, Vickie Anne Palmer said, “With his Doctorate of Higher Education, Dr. Marchiori bridges both chiropractic and higher education. He knows Palmer’s strengths and ways to make it better. I am so proud to see you advance in the vision of the College.”

Speakers also included Davenport Campus President Donald Kern, D.C., Davenport, ’58; West Campus President William Meeker, D.C., West ’82; Florida Campus President Peter Martin, D.C., Davenport ’68; Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba; Association of Chiropractic Colleges President Frank Nicchi, D.C.; Palmer Alumni Advisory Council representative Jeff Gehlsen, D.C., Davenport, ’85, who spoke on behalf of the alumni; faculty clinician and AHC Assistant Director Ron Boesch, D.C., Davenport, ’91, on behalf of the Palmer faculty; and 2009 Outstanding Davenport Campus Staff of the Year Laura Martin, on behalf of the Palmer staff.

Said Dr. Gehlsen, “We’ve all benefited from the vision that the Palmer family advanced. Dr. Marchiori, I know that your vision for Palmer will be one that unifies. I’m confident that under your leadership, we will all advance the purpose of Palmer and chiropractic.”

After the speeches, Dr. Marchiori took the oath of office for chancellor, administered by Dr. Ireland. Then Dr. Marchiori shared his message.

He opened by noting how honored he was by the tributes paid to him, but said that the day’s ceremony was about more than him becoming chancellor. “We are all here as a college community to celebrate our past, live in our present, and prepare for the future,” he said.

Dr. Marchiori also stated that Palmer’s mission is essentially about students, patients and research. “It’s essential to improve education and health care … care that does not focus on the chiropracTOR but on the benefits of chiropracTIC to society.” He added, “we need to instill in our students a norm of commitment to their alma mater and invite all of our alumni to join our efforts at the College whenever possible.”

The “Sacred Trust” of Leadership
Excerpts from Dr. Marchiori’s inauguration speech

In his inauguration speech, Palmer’s new chancellor, Dr. Dennis Marchiori, reminded those gathered in Vickie Anne Palmer Hall for the occasion that, “The words of B.J. Palmer continue to remind us that our leadership … our membership in this College, is a ‘sacred trust’ that we need to guard well.”

Certainly Dr. Marchiori does not take the mantle of leadership lightly. Having spent 20 years at Palmer College, from his days as a student, to a faculty member, to a renowned textbook author and trusted administrator, he knows the institution inside and out, and he understands the opportunities and challenges of leading it.

“Palmer College is comprised of individuals and groups, of diverse perspectives, various needs and assorted contributions,” Dr. Marchiori remarked. “At the intersection of our individual strengths and commitment, we find our College mission. Succinctly stated, Palmer’s mission combines student learning and patient health, advancing both through research. This is the Palmer mission that connects us all—a dedication to students, patients and research.”

Focusing on high-quality, patient-centered care provided through the Palmer Academic Health Center and all of our clinics, is an important component of Palmer’s mission, Dr. Marchiori continued. “As chiropractors, we have helped create a world where comfort and quality of life are integral within health care, where the chiropractic philosophies of conservatism and vitalism are broadly endorsed.”

Education, patient care and research are complementary, Dr. Marchiori added. “Research is essential for improving our education and our healthcare mission. Let’s continue to advance our research efforts to better inform our mission of education and patient care.”

“As chancellor, I will facilitate and pace our advancement,” Dr. Marchiori promised. “My vision for Palmer is still evolving. And of course, any successful vision must come from the entire College community, not just me. As our collaborative vision for the College continues to develop, I’d like to share a few of my dreams for Palmer.”

Four dreams for Palmer

The first of Dr. Marchiori’s dreams is that Palmer fully embraces the traits of a successful college and advances the legacies of the Palmers, specifically the work of Dr. David Palmer in this direction. Palmer needs to provide its students with life-long learning capabilities, critical thinking skills, as well as communication and social skills, he said.

Recognizing that the lack of a clear identity for chiropractic confuses the public, he noted that “we must define ourselves internally and externally in terms that are clear and credible.”

His second dream is that Palmer remains a place of great opportunity, where each individual—whether students or employees—can realize his or her highest potential. “Our collective work is transactional, but our result is transformational,” he added.

Dr. Marchiori’s third dream is that everyone at Palmer embraces the value of College service. “The vitalistic paradigm that we chiropractors live by, ‘above, down, inside, out,’ might well also be a mantra for us characterizing how we participate in our College community—that is by giving, not taking.”

The fourth dream is that Palmer commit, even more deeply, to being a stable, predictable and accountable organization. Palmer must be a good steward of its resources, both human and capital, he said. “We will be accountable to outcomes, use data to inform our decisions, adopt best practices and assess the associated risks and benefits of our actions.”

But in the end, grand dreams and forward-looking visions are inadequate to ensure success. Every successful institution must be willing and able to translate its dreams into action. “Dreams and visions are not enough,” Dr. Marchiori concluded. “We must act.”

 
Florida Campus President Dr. Martin, Davenport Campus President Dr. Kern and West Campus President Dr. Meeker
Drs. Martin, Kern, and Meeker

Presidential endorsements
DONALD KERN, D.C., Davenport ’58

Dr. Kern first met Dr. Marchiori when the new chancellor joined the Davenport Campus faculty. “My first impressions of him were that he was intelligent, enthusiastic, professional and articulate,” he says.

“Then, when I was president of the Davenport Campus in 1992, he presented a poster at the World Federation of Chiropractic Congress in London,” he recalls. “It was an excellent presentation and an indication of his interest in research.”

Dr. Kern adds, “Dr. Marchiori has a passion for excellence, is evidence based-driven and maintains a collaborative management philosophy. I believe he will be very good for Palmer in his new position.”

BILL MEEKER, D.C., West ’82, M.P.H.

It was in July of 1995, when Dr. Marchiori became a faculty member at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), where Dr. Meeker was its director. From his days as a colleague, Dr. Meeker has been impressed with Dr. Marchiori’s work ethic.

“He not only says but also practices what he preaches,” he says. “He seeks expert opinion, listens very carefully and attempts to arrive at consensus conclusions that the team can support. This makes him an outstanding leader.”

Dr. Meeker also recalls fondly the personal side of Dr. Marchiori that others may not be aware of. “I have had many memorable moments with Denny, and laughing out of control has been a part of most of them,” he says. “He could be a standup comic. Folks should know that he has a great sense of humor and a great wit.”

PETER MARTIN, D.C., Davenport ’68

Dr. Martin is particularly impressed with Dr. Marchiori’s background, not just in chiropractic but at Palmer. “Dr. Marchiori first and foremost is a product of Palmer and he will bring that perspective to his leadership of the College,” he says.

Dr. Marchiori’s leadership qualities first became apparent to Dr. Martin during the early 1990s when Dr. Martin was president of the West Campus and Dr. Marchiori was a faculty member in the Davenport Campus Radiology Department. Recalls Dr. Martin, “I thought he was very intelligent and would go far, and he certainly didn’t disappoint me.”

For the Florida Campus president, his support of Dr Marchiori is very tangible. “In 2005 at a Board of Trustees meeting he presented a copy of his book on radiology to all in attendance, which I still have on my desk to this day,” he says.

 
Speaking of Dr. Marchiori...
Randy McCall, D.C., Davenport ’77, Reynoldsville Chiropractic Life Center, Reynoldsville, Pa.

While Dr. Marchiori was attending Penn State, Dr. McCall was his chiropractor. 

He is a thinker, progressive learner, and genuinely loves what he does and the people he works with. I think he looks at Palmer as home and treats it as such.

Dr. Marchiori answers follow-up questions after a presentation on radiology during the 1998 Davenport Campus Homecoming.
three attendees listening to Dr. Marchiori
Ian McLean, D.C., Davenport ’79, Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology

He was Dr. Marchiori’s instructor during his radiology residency 

His textbook “Clinical Imaging: With Skeletal, Chest, And Abdomen Pattern Differentials,” is widely used in chiropractic education. It is unique in that it is the only text of its kind covering the entire range of radiology topics expected of a graduate chiropractor, inclusive of musculoskeletal, chest and abdominal imaging.

Cyndy Long, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Office of Data Management and Biostatistics, Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Davenport Campus

While interviewing Dr. Long for a research position, Dr. Marchiori mentioned he was using some sophisticated statistical methods for the first time to analyze data for a research article he was writing, but was not clear on what the results were indicating. 

I suggested we look at some graphics to give us insight and we spent the rest of the interview inspecting all of the graphics he hung on the viewboxes in his office. That positive first interaction with Dr. Marchiori played largely on my decision to join the research faculty.

Colleen Fier, Academic Affairs Administrative Assistant

Ms. Fier worked with Dr. Marchiori while he was Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice Chancellor for Academics. 

When I would help Dr. Marchiori proctor an exam he would mention to his students that although I may look mild mannered, my son was a Blackhawk helicopter pilot and that I would not be afraid to take them down if they were caught looking around. It always made his students laugh and I would just stand there and pray that no one would make a move.

Vashtie Ryan, Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Academic Affairs

Ms. Ryan worked with Dr. Marchiori when he held the position of Dean of Academic Affairs. 

One thing is for sure, he definitely has a way of making you feel “equal.” I remember when being offered the position to assist him, he stressed that he wasn’t looking for someone to work “for him” but with him…his colleague. Now how about them apples!

Robert Percuoco, D.C., Davenport ’83, Vice Chancellor for Academics
Drs. Marchiori and Percuoco have worked together in various capacities since the early 1990s.
Dr. Marchiori standing with Dr. Percuoco

Dr. Percuoco has been Dr. Marchiori’s professor, supervisor and administrative colleague. 

Dr. Marchiori has an organic understanding of the workings of our institution from the student, faculty, and administrative perspectives. He is absolutely the right person for this job.

On a side note:
Try as he might, using the exact same recipe and ingredients, Dr. Marchiori cannot match the quality of my pizza!

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