University description (as per official university website)
History of Palmer Chiropractic
A college can assemble faculty and students, devise programs and construct buildings in a few years. The special character of the college, which is as important in an institution as in a person, develops and matures slowly.
The history of chiropractic education begins at Palmer. Started by the profession’s founder, Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer, Palmer is chiropractic’s college and is also known as The Fountain-head of the profession.
The science, art and philosophy of chiropractic evolved from D.D. Palmer’s years of independent research and study of human health and disease. Following the successful application of his knowledge to initial patients in 1895, he shared his findings with others. The first classes of the Palmer School and Cure, later known as the Palmer School of Chiropractic, were held in 1897.
Early classes shared a space with the magnetic healing practice of D.D. Palmer in the Ryan Building at Second and Brady streets in Davenport. The need for space prompted Palmer to purchase property at 828 Brady Street in 1905. This became the nucleus of the current campus, which today occupies most of the hilltop now called Palmer Hill.
One of D.D. Palmer’s early students was his son, Bartlett Joshua Palmer, who joined his father in conducting classes. Upon completing the course of study, B.J. (as he came to be known throughout the world) headed the School from 1906 until his death in 1961. One of B.J.’s first acts was to incorporate the School and change the name to Palmer School of Chiropractic, which was chartered in 1907.
During B.J.’s years of leadership, international attention was brought to the chiropractic profession and the School. His drive, creativity and capacity for attracting strong administrators and faculty propelled the School forward. By 1920, three major buildings — Administration, D.D. Palmer Memorial and B.J. Palmer Hall — had been constructed. The first X-ray equipment in the chiropractic profession was in full use in the classrooms in the patient clinic. Clinical research was underway as well.
Mabel Heath Palmer, B.J.’s wife and a Palmer graduate, was the treasurer of the School and an anatomy faculty member. She earned the title First Lady of the Profession for her untiring devotion to chiropractic, the School and its students. B.J. and Mabel, accompanied by their son David, traveled the world lecturing to vast assemblies on the philosophy, science and art of chiropractic. Their communication skills also turned to the written word, with B.J. writing 20 books and Dr. Mabel two. She died in 1949.
B.J. continued to accomplish new goals for the School and brought the curriculum to 4,320 hours in four academic years by 1950. To honor his wife, he constructed the Mabel Heath Palmer Laboratories in 1952.
David D. Palmer
With B.J. Palmer’s death in 1961, the Palmer presidency passed to his son, David Daniel Palmer. As did his father and grandfather before him, Dr. David Palmer brought his own brand of leadership to Palmer. Just as they were known as the Developer and Founder of Chiropractic, respectively, he became known as the Educator. His perception of chiropractic education prompted him to change the name of Palmer School of Chiropractic to Palmer College of Chiropractic. The title change was only an inkling of his plans and administrative goals. Pre-professional studies of two years at a liberal arts college became an admissions requirement and groundwork was laid for the College’s accreditation. He obtained nonprofit status for the College in 1965 and formed the first Board of Trustees in 1973. Acknowledging his limitless dreams for the College and the profession, he began constructing and acquiring additional facilities. The Palmer Alumni Auditorium, David D. Palmer Health Sciences Library and West Hall became part of the campus during his presidency. The faculty tripled and the PCC International Alumni Association was formed.
At the time of Dr. David Palmer’s death in 1978, his dreams were still materializing. The College was accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education in 1979 and by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1984. Dr. Galen R. Price, Dean of Philosophy, became the fourth president of Palmer College of Chiropractic and the first who was not a Palmer. Although contemplating retirement, he agreed to the Board of Trustees’ wish to lead the College so they could conduct a thorough search for the College’s fifth president.
Chosen was Dr. Jerome F. McAndrews, who served from 1979 until 1987. During Dr. McAndrews’ tenure, planning programs were initiated, new emphasis was placed on research, and computerization came to office functions and research. His term also saw the College offering accredited Master of Science, Bachelor of Science and Associate of Science degrees. The physical expansion included a second floor addition to the Mabel Heath Palmer Laboratories; acquisition of nearby modern structures for the Research Institute and the School of Chiropractic Technology; opening a satellite clinic in Rock Island, Ill.; and initiating construction of the Campus Center and Skywalk.
Upon Dr. McAndrews’ resignation, Dr. Donald P. Kern was appointed the sixth president on March 26, 1988. Steady growth was evident during Dr. Kern’s tenure, as the Campus Center was completed and two additional clinics were opened. Great strides were also made in research, especially following the dedication of the Institute of Graduate Studies and Research in 1988.
The Palmer Chiropractic University System was created in February 1991, bringing Palmer College of Chiropractic and Palmer College of Chiropractic West in San Jose, Calif., together under the same Board of Trustees. Under the leadership of Chancellor Michael Crawford, this became the first chiropractic university system in history.
Dr. Kern stepped down as president in June 1994, after 30 years as a Palmer administrator, to return to full-time teaching. Dr. Virgil V. Strang, Dean of Philosophy with 44 years of service in various capacities at The Fountainhead, was appointed the seventh president on Oct. 28, 1994. Dr. Strang wrote the widely used textbook on chiropractic philosophy, “Essential Principles of Chiropractic.”
A year-long celebration of the Chiropractic Centennial was held from September 1994 to September 1995. The festivities included a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade, production of a chiropractic documentary and gala celebrations in Washington, D.C., and Davenport that attracted thousands of chiropractors from throughout the world.
A multi-year campus improvement plan was announced in 1996. The campus plan outlines approximately $34 million in projects, projected to extend over 10 to 15 years. Work on phase one, which included new high-tech classrooms, remodeling much of West Hall and the new Campus Center Plaza complete with green space and trees, was completed in 2001 at a cost of approximately $13 million.
The chiropractic profession gathered again in Davenport, this time to honor 100 years of chiropractic education during a five-day celebration, Aug. 6 to 10, 1997.
In September 1998, Dr. Strang passed away — only five months after the announcement of his forthcoming retirement. Dr. Guy F. Riekeman, previously serving as executive director of the Palmer Institute for Professional Advancement, was appointed the eighth president of Palmer College in December 1998. In February 2001 he became the president of both Palmer and Palmer West. He became president of Palmer Florida in 2003 and was named chancellor of the Palmer Chiropractic University System in July 2003 upon the retirement of Michael Crawford.
Dr. Reikeman resigned his position in February 2004. Dr. Donald Kern was named interim president of Palmer College of Chiropractic and Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida on February 6, 2004. On the same date, Dr. Peter Martin was named interim president of Palmer West. Dr. Kern was appointed president of Palmer College of Chiropractic's Davenport campus in February 2005. Also in 2005, Dr. Peter Martin was named president of Palmer College of Chiropractic West and Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida.
Palmer College has spawned legends and led the way for the growth of the profession and chiropractic education. It has sent more than 40,000 alumni out to practice throughout the world. The halls and corridors echo the voices of the past and the present. B.J.’s ornamental courtyard, adjacent to the Palmer Mansion, has become a place to study and relax. In addition, Heritage Court intrigues onlookers with the heroic-size busts of The Founder, The Developer, The Educator and The First Lady of Chiropractic built upon a wall of bricks recovered from the demolition of the site of the first chiropractic adjustment. This wall is known as Heritage Wall.
Science and technology blend with rich tradition to form a place that can only be a Palmer campus. Its story is one of people and of a health care system that has found its time.