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Palmer College Receives Historic $4M Donation from Florida Couple

Overview photo of buildings and lake on Palmer Florida campus.

Palmer College Receives Historic $4M Donation from Florida Couple

August 21, 2023

Donation helps college shatter goal of current fundraising campaign.

Palmer College of Chiropractic, the first chiropractic college in the world, and the one with the most graduates practicing today, has received a historic $4 million donation. The contribution comes from a Florida couple who wishes to remain anonymous. This is the largest gift from an individual or couple the college has received in its 126-year history.

The gift shatters the college’s goal of raising $25 million through “Daring and Driven: The Campaign for Palmer College,” the largest fundraising campaign ever undertaken by a chiropractic college. With this gift, $29.8 million has been donated by alumni and friends of the college.

This donation comes on the heels of a $3.3 million gift from 1951 Palmer graduate William Kiernan, D.C.—the largest donation from an alumnus in the college’s history. With two weeks to go before the close of the campaign on Sept. 1, Palmer College has stretched the campaign goal to $30 million.

“This is truly remarkable. History is happening at Palmer College,” said Dennis Marchiori, D.C., Ph.D., chancellor and CEO. “We knew our plans for the future of chiropractic education and this fundraising campaign were ambitious, but they were also crucial to educating the very best Doctors of Chiropractic in the world. I have had the chance to get to know the couple who made this $4 million gift, and they not only believe in Palmer, but also in the healing power of chiropractic. We are deeply grateful and humbled by their generosity.”

“As friends and admirers of Palmer College and its Florida campus, our gift is an investment in an organization—truly an economic engine—that is elevating the well-being of the citizens of Volusia County and beyond,” said the anonymous donors. “This gift will support the people who do the meaningful and important work of educating future chiropractors—the graduates who eventually go out into their communities and transform lives through their care.”

The gift to Palmer College comes during a period of record-breaking enrollment growth on Palmer’s campuses in Davenport, Iowa, and Port Orange, Florida. Over the past five years, major investments in new academic and recreational spaces, and technology, have enhanced the student experience in ways never seen at other chiropractic colleges.

In Davenport, the new David D. Palmer Learning Commons provides study and social spaces for students, while the William J. & Mary A. Kiernan Hall–Anatomy & Technique Center offers state-of-the-art wet and dry labs and classroom spaces to perfect hands-on technique. The new Paul and Donna VanDuyne Hall also recently opened, boasting 115 apartments with additional spaces for study, meditation, recreation and more.

In Florida, a new 47,000-sq.ft. academic building includes classrooms and technique rooms, a larger anatomy learning environment, and virtual- and augmented-reality learning tools. The new labs are designed specifically for students to apply what they’re learning about movement science and rehabilitation in an ideal, technologically advanced setting.

Palmer’s commitment to its students isn’t just about new student learning spaces. The college is now offering more scholarships than ever before, with a goal of one day being able to offer a scholarship to every single student.

“As we prepare to close this fundraising campaign, we know our work is really just beginning,” said Barbara Melbourne, J.D., vice chancellor for institutional advancement who has led the fundraising effort. “There is more to do to ensure a chiropractic education is available to all who wish to pursue one, and in the years ahead, we will continue to ask for the support of alumni and friends to help us meet that goal. It is through philanthropy—through the generosity of people like this couple—that we will be able to graduate Doctors of Chiropractic who bring the possibility of health and healing across the globe.”

Editor’s Note

Interviews with the chancellor and CEO and vice chancellor of institutional advancement can be arranged by contacting Jillian McCleary at 563-650-7290 or