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Palmer College

“Get in the boat, grab an oar and help us out.”

In his presentation, Palmer Chancellor Dennis Marchiori, D.C., Ph.D., noted that asking people on three campuses, “What would you do if you were chancellor?” gave him a “deeper appreciation for our community.”
Dr. Marchiori at podium

In his Aug. 14 closing session message to alumni and other Palmer Homecoming attendees, Chancellor Dennis Marchiori, D.C., Ph.D., Davenport ’90, outlined the need to leverage the full Palmer community in support of the College’s mission.

During the past nine months, Dr. Marchiori held listening sessions with small groups of students, faculty and staff on all three of Palmer’s campuses. He met with the Board of Trustees and talked to as many alumni, civic leaders and members of the community as he could find. Although he has spent more than 20 years with the College, Dr. Marchiori found these sessions to be enlightening and of significant value.

“I’ve gained an even deeper appreciation for those who make up our Palmer community and their diversity of thought,” he said. “I also experienced a common bond, a love for Palmer, and shared hopes and dreams that the College can advance its past trajectory of success toward even a brighter future.”

Dr. Marchiori also recognizes the many differences in thoughts, talents, genders, ethnicity, geography and roles that exist at the College.

“When it comes to building the Palmer community, I believe we win through addition, not subtraction; by being inclusive, not exclusive,” he said. “It’s clear that Palmer is many things to many people. But here is the tough part; I believe that Palmer cannot be everything to everyone. Our diversity is a strength, but only to the degree that we, as a diverse community, can focus on common goals.”

The Chancellor pointed out that everyone must be focused and engaged in order to leverage the power of the full Palmer community. That engagement, he clarified, is needed from everyone with the focus being the College’s mission of student learning and patient care, while advancing our work through research.

“We don’t need a series of brainstorming sessions to uncover Palmer’s mission and focus,” he said. “Our focus was established in 1897 when D.D. Palmer placed the word ‘school’ behind his name; thereby committing this organization to the primary focus of student learning.”

To illustrate the student-centered theme of his presentation, Dr. Marchiori showed multiple video clips of individuals along the milestones of their journey to, through and after Palmer College. The compelling video messages shared with the audience illustrated how Palmer impacted the lives of students and practitioners at various stages of their educational and professional careers. Their comments ranged from new students talking about Palmer providing a “life-changing opportunity” to late-career practitioners, like Don Casteel, D.C., Davenport ’51, talking about “renewal of the cycle” through the generations of his family who have decided to become chiropractors. The video segments concluded with Lorene Price Davenport, D.C., ’36, emphasizing the “feeling of family” that alumni have when they come back to Palmer.

Dr. Marchiori encouraged everyone in the Palmer community to join him in advancing the College mission and helping students through the milestones he illustrated. He invited everyone to “get in the boat, grab an oar, start rowing and help us out.”

He advanced his metaphor by saying, “if you don’t like the person you are sitting next to, move to another seat. It is a big boat. You must know you’re better off in our boat than in the water or in another boat.”

In the end, it comes down to creating solid connections between Palmer and its graduates, and from alumni back to their alma mater.

“Unfortunately, there is a big barrier between our current students and alumni in practice,” he noted. “We can’t have that. We must strengthen those connections. We can provide research and continuing education opportunities. In return, we need alumni engagement, information about the realities of practice, gifts and student referrals. Palmer is better with involved alumni.”

Dr. Marchiori then recognized Palmer’s dominant market share within chiropractic education.

“This is already a successful organization and I want to take it to the next level,” he said. “Even though Palmer has nearly 25 percent of the market, I’d like to see every prospective chiropractic student apply to Palmer first, before any other college. Keep in mind that we do not intend to accommodate all of these applicants, only the best. We’re only interested in selecting the high-impact students who develop into high-impact practitioners. The profession needs practitioners who have the philosophy, science and art that Palmer uniquely provides.”

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