Davenport Campus

Rugby Club celebrates 50 years of Palmer rugby at Homecoming

Rugby alumni at the Homecoming 2010 Opening Session included, left to right, Davenport Campus graduates Willie Kindred, D.C., ’72; Roy McCallum, D.C., ’71; and Fred Schofield, D.C., ’81.
alumni rugby players informally seated in jerseys

Rugby jerseys were a common sight at this year’s Davenport Campus Homecoming as about 120 former players returned to The Fountainhead to celebrate 50 years of Palmer rugby. The celebration began with a social Wednesday evening. It was hosted by Kurt Burbach, D.C., Davenport ’86, and his wife, Tina, and sponsored by the Palmer Rugby Alumni.

Says Dr. Burbach, “We had 50-plus years of Palmer College at Lindsay Park Yacht Club enjoying fellow classmates, teammates and one another in a fun format learning together and, better yet, learning from the future of our profession, the Palmer student, represented honorably and quite professionally by the young men and women who comprise the Palmer Rugby Program.”

During Thursday morning’s general session, Chancellor Dennis Marchiori, D.C., Ph.D., recognized the rugby alumni in attendance—all sporting their jerseys— and introduced a video commemorating 50 years of Palmer rugby.

“The Palmer Rugby Alumni, after spending the week celebrating the 50th anniversary at Palmer, had one common thing to say about their support of the College: ‘I am all in,’” says J. Hartley, D.C., Davenport ’92, and president of the Palmer Rugby Alumni group. “As a group we look forward to supporting both academics and athletics at Palmer for the next 50 years, and completing our mission of spreading the word of chiropractic through athletic excellence.”

There were about 240 people at the Davenport RiverCenter for Friday evening’s rugby banquet. Highlights were announcements of support for the Palmer Rugby Program from Standard Process and Health MD, along with a $10,000 first-year commitment and a long-term challenge commitment from Dr. Kurt and Tina Burbach. The Palmer Rugby Alumni organization has entered into a partnership with Palmer for a three-year, $300,000 commitment to the College’s academic/hardship scholarship fund.

During the banquet, members of Palmer’s fourth place USA Men’s Division 1 Final Four National Championship rugby team posed with Board Chairman Trevor Ireland, D.C., Davenport ’70, and Board Officer Vickie Palmer, on the left, and Davenport Campus President Dr. Donald Kern and Chancellor Dr. Dennis Marchiori, on the right.
group photo of current rugby players and Dr. Trevor Ireland

During the banquet, Palmer rugby blazers were presented to the 2010 Men’s Rugby Final Four team, the first-ever Palmer rugby team was recognized and the Alldecades Team members were announced.

“When I came to Palmer College in 1967, I was blessed to play for the Palmer Rugby Club, which had been developed by one of my mentors, Dr. David Palmer, only a few years prior,” said Palmer Board of Trustees Chairman Trevor Ireland, D.C., at the banquet. “My success on the field—and the success of so many others who excelled as players during those early years—came as a result of the leadership and guidance of Dr. Tom Louw, (Davenport, ’65) our first rugby coach. Coach Louw will forever be a hero to those who played under him.”

On Saturday, the Palmer rugby team played a home game against a team from Cedar Rapids, which they won 70-0 in front of several hundred fans. Says Palmer Athletic Director Ron O’Brien, “I’m always amazed at the camaraderie of this group of alumni and their devotion to chiropractic and Palmer College.”

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