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Palmer College Receives $1 million Donation to Support Growth of Renowned Sports and Rehabilitation Residency Program

HydroWorx inventor and Palmer alumnus Paul Hetrick, D.C., is making big things possible for Palmer’s Sports and Rehabilitation Residency program.

HydroWorx inventor Paul Hetrick, D.C. (Main, `77)
Paul Hetrick, D.C. (Main, `77)

A $1 million gift from 1977 Palmer College of Chiropractic graduate Paul Hetrick, D.C., will empower the College to grow its Sports and Rehabilitation Residency program. The program is the longest-standing program of its kind in the nation, offering Doctors of Chiropractic the opportunity to build their clinical skills and earn specialized credentials while teaching parts of the Palmer curriculum.

“This gift will have a tremendous impact for Palmer College,” said Dennis Marchiori, D.C., Ph.D., chancellor and CEO. “Dr. Hetrick’s gift is both an investment in the educational program of Palmer students and the chiropractic profession overall. It allows us to continue to offer an unparalleled experience and program you simply won’t find elsewhere.”

Dr. Hetrick is the founder of HydroWorx, which offers aquatic treadmills used in physical therapy, sports medicine and conditioning. The equipment is used by more than 30,000 athletes and patients each day, including by professional and collegiate sports teams and at major health care centers across the country.

After selling his company, Dr. Hetrick wanted to support the alma mater he said was responsible for the way he thinks, and his success as a chiropractor and businessperson. “I believe you get back what you give away 10 times over throughout your life,” said Dr. Hetrick. “If I can do something to help today’s students become successful, then I’m all for it.”

This gift moves Palmer one step closer to reaching its goal of raising $25 million through “Daring and Driven,” the largest fundraising campaign ever undertaken by a chiropractic college. To date, $21.4 million has been raised.

“Dr. Hetrick has dedicated his career to creating a world of unlimited health and human potential,” said Barbara Melbourne, J.D., vice chancellor for institutional advancement. “His unwavering passion and ambitious vision are an inspiration, and his gift to this historic campaign will make a meaningful impact on future residents, the College itself and countless patients.”

As part of the Sports and Rehabilitation Residency program, residents work toward earning board-certified status as a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board, a credential that sets them apart as leaders in the discipline. By the time they finish the program, residents are uniquely equipped to share their own deep knowledge with others.

He recently visited Palmer College’s Main Campus in Davenport, where he spoke with students and saw firsthand the work happening in the residency program. “To speak with the students, and see firsthand what my gift will make possible, was so rewarding,” said Dr. Hetrick. “If I have one piece of advice to other donors, it is this: make your gift while you are alive to see the impact it has. I’m so proud of where Palmer College is heading.”

“We’re at the start of something big, and this gift will allow our program to grow,” said Palmer College Provost Dan Weinert, D.C., Ph.D., who was the second resident to complete the program. “With this gift, we will be purposeful in the design of this, and exponentially expand the program. We also will expand it to Palmer Florida, where there’s significant interest in having a comparable program.”

Tom Klopcic, D.C. is currently enrolled in Palmer’s Sports and Rehabilitation Residency Program. He spends his days seeing patients in the Palmer Chiropractic Clinic, teaching classes, training interns and pursuing his own coursework in topics like selective functional-movement assessment and mechanical diagnosis and therapy.

“I love what functional rehabilitation does for patients,” he said. “It helps give them back their autonomy — their lives — so they can feel in control of their health. This is the best program for that, and Dr. Hetrick’s gift is going to be used so well. We’re all in.”