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Building a Legacy of Giving

Vicki Gilthvedt carries on the tradition of chiropractic giving from her late father Harley

Vicki Gilthvedt, D.C. (Main, ´80), was a self-proclaimed klutz as a child. “I couldn’t even jump off a catalog without falling.”

Vicki’s father, Harley, was working at Boeing in Washington state in the early 1960s when he and his wife, Viola, sent Vicki and her sister to see a chiropractor for various ailments, including Vicki’s clumsiness. It worked. “Chiropractic changed my life,” she says.

Inspired by what chiropractic did for his girls, Harley loaded up the car and brought the family from Washington to Davenport, Iowa, so he could attend Palmer College. Vicki was five years old.

In 1966, Harley became Harley Gilthvedt, D.C. The family immediately returned to Washington state, where Dr. Harley bought a building next to a barber shop and opened his practice. In the years that followed, Dr. Harley was a member of Palmer College’s Board of Trustees and served as a commencement speaker.

Dr. Vicki joined the practice right after graduation in 1980 and had the pleasure of practicing with her father for 28 years before his retirement. Dr. Harley passed away in 2017 — but not before he instilled the importance of giving back in his daughter. “Giving back is the greatest thing you can do,” she says.

Dr. Harley became one of the College’s most devoted financial supporters, with his giving spanning the last four decades. “My father started out small. His first year, he gave $100. Every year after, he’d give a little bit more.”

In the fall of 2021, Vicki witnessed first-hand the unveiling of the “Lifetime of Generosity” wall in the David D. Palmer Learning Commons. The display recognizes donors in the Sterling Lifetime Giving Society — those who have contributed $100,000 or more to the College in their lifetime. The names of Harley and Viola Gilthvedt are on the wall. “It makes me so proud to have the parents that I did.”

Vicki has carried on the Gilthvedt legacy of giving, making her first gift right after she graduated. Like her father, Vicki started out small and slowly increased her giving over time. Now, she is on the list of leadership donors to Daring and Driven: The Campaign for Palmer College. Her love for the profession and her hope for the future of chiropractic and the College are what drives her to give back. “Where would I be without Palmer?” she asks. “I want the legacy to continue. I want the Fountainhead to continue. What would the world be without chiropractic? I don’t want to know.”