Palmer College’s West Campus recently honored retiring faculty member Gary de Wet, D.C., whose Palmer career spanned more than two decades and included teaching tenures at the Davenport as well as San Jose campuses.
While the reception provided a fun and festive opportunity for faculty, staff, students and alumni to honor Dr. de Wet, one of the event highlights included West Campus President Dr. Bill Meeker’s presentation of a special award to Dr. de Wet in recognition of his emeritus faculty appointment.
Dr. de Wet, a 1966 Palmer College alumnus, maintained private practices in South Africa and Napa, Calif., for 23 years prior to joining the Davenport Campus in 1977. He was a faculty member until 1981, after which he moved to California. In 1990, Dr. de Wet joined the West Campus faculty.
As a member of the West Campus faculty, Dr. de Wet served two terms as Faculty Senate president, and served as faculty adviser to the West Campus Associated Student Government (ASG) for 14 years and student chapter of the California Chiropractic Association (SCCA) for more than 15 years. He was the principal instructor in the West Campus’ 13th quarter business classes since the expanded program--designed to help ease the transition from student to practicing doctor--was introduced in 1994.
Dr. de Wet also served as faculty adviser to the Philosophy Club, and in 2001 he guided the team of students, faculty and staff who helped construct the new foam-crafted Palmer Spine, which has garnered extensive media coverage for the College and chiropractic profession through participation in such events as the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot.
In addition to his role with West Campus students, Dr. de Wet maintained an equally active association with West Campus graduates. Dr. de Wet served as West Campus alumni director and also chaired the West Campus Homecoming planning committee.
“I truly experienced a great deal of emotions during the whole event and was humbled and honored by the emeritus faculty appointment,” said Dr. de Wet, who accompanied the West Student CCA chapter’s attendance at the annual Legislative Day event in Sacramento for more than 14 years.
Tammi Clark, D.C., current president of the West Faculty Senate (and a past student of Dr. de Wet’s) presented Dr. de Wet with a special lithograph, designed in calligraphy by clinician Dr. Randy Waters and signed by all the faculty and staff.
West Campus professor Susan St. Claire, D.C., president of the faculty union chapter, presented Dr. de Wet and his wife, Susan (whom he acknowledged as “my greatest supporter, and the true love of my life”), with a bouquet of flowers.
Megan Thoma, president of the West Campus Associated Student Government for the 2011-2012 term, thanked Dr. de Wet for his years of service as the ASG faculty adviser, and presented him with a gift on behalf of her fellow ASG executive officers.
“The people of the West Campus have been my second family, and this felt more like a family celebration and party, not a sad farewell or goodbye,” noted Dr. de Wet. “The emeritus faculty appointment that was bestowed upon me cements my desire and commitment to continue serving Palmer College and assisting our alumni in any way that I can.”
"Dr. de Wet has been an integral member of the West Campus community during the past two decades, and he has brought heart and passion to every endeavor,” said Dr. Meeker. “His involvement with the development of our business-focused 13th quarter curriculum, his spirited mentorship as the faculty advisor of multiple campus clubs, his ongoing interactions with Palmer alumni, and his deep-rooted commitment to advancing Palmer College and the chiropractic profession collectively factored into the well-deserved emeritus faculty appointment. We will miss Dr. de Wet's presence as a daily member of our campus community; however, Dr. de Wet will always have a home at the West Campus and will always be a member of the Palmer family."
“Dr. de Wet has long stood as a mentor to students,” said Jack Bourla, D.C., ’97 West alumnus, who has returned to the West Campus for years to share his practice experience with Dr. de Wet’s business classes. “He has always sincerely had students' interests in mind, always willing to provide sound advice and direct them to the proper resources to help ensure their success. He is one-of-a-kind, with gentleness and kindness being two of his many attributes. I am comforted to know that he will remain nearby. Dr. de Wet will be missed, but not forgotten.”
Photo: Dr. Gary de Wet (right) and faculty clinician Dr. Ti Pence.