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Daring and Driven

Palmer College of Chiropractic has announced its largest fundraising campaign ever. We have a bold vision for the future — and you can make it a reality.

Returning to Palmer College for Homecoming last year, Bob Kauffman, D.C. (Main, ’88), and Danielle Kauffman, D.C. (Main, ’89), paused to marvel at how far the Fountainhead has come since the day they met as members of the Delta Delta Phi professional fraternity in late 1986.

New to the Campus was the Trevor V. Ireland Student Clinic, the Bruce & Bethel Hagen Student Union, the David D. Palmer Learning Commons, the Evan & Cynthia Beane Learning Lab, and the Experiential Learning Center — all visionary enhancements to the Palmer student learning experience and all built in just the few short years since the couple’s three children graduated with their own Doctor of Chiropractic degrees.

But the most meaningful campus change for the couple was one of the smallest in physical size: their family’s name etched in glass outside one of the new group-study rooms in the Learning Commons.

“There’s a little piece of Palmer with our name on it,” says Dr. Bob, who alongside Dr. Danielle made a $25,000 campaign gift to help bring the showstopping space to life. “With all the renovations they’ve done to the campus, we wanted to be part of it.”

For the family of five Palmer alumni, of course, their generous gift isn’t just about the name on the door — it’s about the learning that happens inside the room. Seeing it for the first time, Dr. Bob and Dr. Danielle couldn’t help but imagine students gathered behind the glass wall, studying with digital tools that would have seemed more science fiction than science when they were students on campus.

“I love to go back to campus and see the things I remember, but I really want to know that Palmer is staying on the cutting edge,” says Dr. Bob. “It’s not all about memories — you must progress to stay competitive. And alumni need to support their alma mater to fuel that progress.”


The Kauffmans are not alone in wanting to see their alma mater both celebrate and continue building on its rich past. With their gift, they have partnered with the College’s leaders and joined fellow alumni from across the years in a sweeping effort to unlock a world of unlimited health and human potential — Daring and Driven, the largest fundraising campaign in Palmer College of Chiropractic’s 125-year history.

“Palmer College has a historic and celebrated past, but the best is yet to come,” says Palmer’s Chancellor and CEO Dennis Marchiori, D.C., Ph.D. (Main, ’90). “We know chiropractic is in a growth mode, and with Palmer’s own growth, we’re setting the pace for the profession. We have a daring vision, and we’re inviting our alumni and friends to come along with us. This campaign must and will be successful.”

Indeed, the campaign has already raised $20.2 million over the last five years, with a goal of raising $25 million by next fall. The impact is clear to anyone, like the Kauffmans, who have seen the transformation of Palmer’s Main and Florida campuses. During Daring and Driven’s leadership phase, before the public announcement of the campaign, generous donors step forward to make these historic investments possible and set an example to catalyze the investments yet to come.

“Daring and Driven is a comprehensive campaign,” explains Dr. Marchiori. “It’s not just about bricks and mortar. That’s a big piece of it — and sometimes that’s the showcase because you can see it. But this campaign spans everything that goes into our students’ learning experience and their success well beyond these walls.”

Consider endowment, the College’s critical engine for building permanent financial resources that grow over time, offering stability during periods of uncertainty and positioning Palmer to take advantage of exciting new opportunities that arise. Gifts to endowment can be earmarked for specific purposes, such as research, scholarships, programs and professorships; they can also be unrestricted, allowing the College to address its highest-priority needs as they continually evolve. Palmer has the largest donor-funded endowment of any chiropractic college.

“A strong, healthy and growing endowment differentiates the institutions that will thrive,” says Barbara Melbourne, J.D., Palmer’s vice chancellor for institutional advancement.

For Melbourne, endowment and legacy go hand in hand. “This College and profession grow out of one man’s legacy, and for alumni today, giving to endowment is a way to create a legacy about their passion for chiropractic and for Palmer,” she says. “Students come to Palmer with the passion and drive to be a chiropractor. Coupled with the best chiropractic education and perfected hands-on technique, as alumni they go out into the world and change lives every day. Endowment is a way to provide opportunities for others to do the same well into the future.”

Scholarships are a case in point — and a key focus of the Daring and Driven campaign. Forty percent of all Palmer students received scholarship last year. Our ability to provide financial support means Palmer can recruit the best students no matter their financial circumstances. And with other avenues for financial aid generally closed off to graduate students, almost everyone who studies at Palmer has some financial need. Investments in scholarships relieve financial stress, allow students to focus on their classwork and eventually help them launch more swiftly into their careers. Perhaps as important, scholarships show students that the successful Palmer chiropractors who came before them believe in them and are truly invested in their success.

They’re also a great way for alumni to see the impact of their gift to endowment. “With scholarships, we can show you exactly how much your original investment has grown and how many students you’ve impacted,” says Melbourne. “And when those students and donors meet, it’s just tears all around.”

Facilitating those kinds of connections brings personal fulfillment to Melbourne. Yet her bigger goal is to help grow what she calls the “culture of philanthropy” at Palmer College in a way that’s never been done before. Just as Palmer has differentiated itself from other chiropractic colleges through its deep history, its world-class campuses and its unparalleled academics and technique training, its culture of philanthropy, manifested in the Daring and Driven campaign, will set it apart from its peers.


Paul VanDuyne, D.C. (Main, ´78), and Donna VanDuyne, D.C. (Main, ´78), are two alumni who are taking their own participation in that life to new heights.

Drs. Paul and Donna VanDuyne.

Vice chairperson of the Palmer College Board of Trustees, Dr. Paul credits his time at Palmer with introducing him to the love of his life — and much more. It also gave him an excellent health care education, landed him in the region he calls home and brought him into contact with IMEG, the engineering design firm in Rock Island, Illinois, where he picked up a job to help pay for tuition and which he now leads as president and CEO.

Dr. Donna spent 15 years as a beloved Palmer College technique instructor and faculty member. Their youngest son, Joey, is a Palmer student today.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What else in our life has had that big of an impact on who we are and what our family is today?’” says Dr. Paul. “Donna and I both want young people coming up to be able to share that same level of success we’ve had. We want to pay it forward.”

As honorary co-chairs of the Daring and Driven campaign, the VanDuynes are doing just that. With a $2.5 million contribution, they’re making their most significant philanthropic gift ever — and putting their weight behind the campaign. The new student housing complex dedicated during Homecoming this year bears their name in recognition of their leadership and generosity.

“We’re making this financial commitment because we feel we can be impactful, and we feel this is something worth giving to — we see Palmer getting better by the year,” says Dr. Paul. “When you see that you can make a difference, and you see the success that that bears, that’s what excites us.”

“We have to be people who care about other people,” says Dr. Donna. “That’s what our role is — not to only care about yourself, but to be willing to help other people succeed in any way they need.”

The success of the Daring and Driven campaign will take broad support from Palmer alumni — and that means donations of any size, not just once-in-a-lifetime gifts. According to Melbourne, people who want to be generous often don’t realize how close within reach philanthropy really is. “I have the privilege of teaching them about giving in ways they didn’t even know about,” she says, citing tax-wise giving strategies like charitable IRA distributions and estate gifts that don’t cost anything now but have far-reaching impacts after your lifetime.

For their part, the Kauffmans chose to make their $25,000 gift in installments over time. “Most people can’t just sit down and write a check for an amount like that,” says Dr. Bob, “but when you break it down as a monthly pledge, it makes it possible.” Breaking it down also helped the Kauffmans maintain their support of Palmer’s annual fund at the Founder’s Circle level and continue to contribute on Palmer College’s Giving Day, two commitments that are important to them and critical to the College.

No matter what and how Palmer alumni give, their generosity will set an example for their peers, paving the way for an impact larger than any one person could dream of making alone. Dr. Paul and

Dr. Donna were inspired by the example of Charles Keller, D.C. (Main, ’55), and his $1 million gift, half of which supports priority capital projects. Palmer recognized him for this gift by naming the new outdoor plaza the Charles & Hildegarde Keller Terrace. The other half of his gift supports Dr. Keller’s existing scholarship endowment. “We thought about it,” recalls Dr. Paul, “and we said, ‘Why not dig a bit deeper and see what we can do? Let’s not make it easy on ourselves.’”

Witnessing the passion and commitment of Daring and Driven donors, Dr. Marchiori has been touched personally by sentiments like those. “You can’t help but reflect on your own life and ask, ‘How can I make an impact? How can I give to the generations that follow?’” he says. “Look at how these people are living their lives. Look at the code that they live by. Look at how they’re making a difference bigger than themselves. It’s inspirational.”

Watch the Daring and Driven campaign video online at