Larry Patten, chancellor of Palmer College of Chiropractic, announced his retirement from the college in early December. Following the joint announcement by Patten and the Palmer Board of Trustees, the board began implementing a "short-term plan for maintaining the current growth and stability within the organization," beginning with the appointment of William Wilke as interim chancellor.
Wilke has served on the Palmer board since 1998. According to the college, a long-term plan will include a search process to identify a new chancellor.
"While I will greatly miss Palmer College and everyone associated with it, the future of Palmer College is in great hands with the current administrative team and the Board of Trustees," said Patten, whose retirement took effect Dec. 31, 2008. "With the institution being in such a strong, stable position and well-positioned to move ahead for even more success, I am comfortable and confident that now is the right time for this transition."
Patten's career at Palmer was marked by both accomplishment and controversy. In 1997, while he was serving as chief financial officer of the college, the Palmer International Alumni Association, Palmer Student Alumni Foundation and Palmer Student Council gave the Palmer leadership a vote of "no confidence." A series of articles in the Quad City Times reported on various board issues that culminated in a "closed door" meeting of the board on Aug. 29, 1997. When the meeting ended, Larry Patten had resigned.
Six years later, Patten rejoined the college as board business coordinator, and in February 2006, he was appointed chief executive officer. Among Patten's responsibilities as CEO, he was charged with working to implement and manage the "one college, three campuses" structure, as defined by the board in 2005.
Patten was named chancellor of Palmer in February 2007. The board's statement announcing his retirement noted that nearly all of the major issues facing the college had been favorably resolved under his tenure.
"On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to express deep appreciation for Mr. Patten's dedication and devotion to Palmer, to chiropractic and to the leadership that he has provided to Palmer over the past five years," said Dr. Trevor Ireland, chairman of the Palmer Board.
With Wilke now serving in an interim capacity, the Palmer board of trustees will initiate a national search process for a new chancellor. Internal and external candidates will be considered for the position, a process that is expected to take up to nine months.