Donald P. Kern, DC, PhC, a 1958 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic who served as president of the college from 1988-1994 and again from 2005 to the present, has announced his retirement effective Dec. 31, 2010. Dr. Kern is the only two-time president of Palmer and has served in various leadership capacities at the college for more than 50 years.
Palmer Chancellor Dennis Marchiori, DC, PhD, and the Palmer Board of Trustees learned of Dr. Kern's retirement plans in early November at the board's meeting in San Jose, Calif. (near Palmer's west campus). According to Dr. Marchiori, a succession plan is in development and will be announced this month, before Dr. Kern steps down as president.
"I have the highest respect for Dr. Kern's quiet strength and his commitment to Palmer College," said Dr. Marchiori in a Palmer press releasing announcing Dr. Kern's retirement. "Throughout my time as a student, faculty member and administrator, I have always admired him for his focus on the students and their learning experiences."
According to the release, Dr. Kern will remain involved in college activities following his retirement, including alumni events and fund-raising efforts, and will continue to work with students, something Dr. Kern believes in wholeheartedly: "The biggest joy and satisfaction of my career has been the opportunity to help more than 28,000 Palmer students learn how to identify and correct subluxations," he said. "That has been, is and always will be the true purpose of Palmer College of Chiropractic."
Dr. Kern, the third of five generations of Kerns to graduate from Palmer, began his career at the college in 1960, serving as a faculty clinician (1960-76) and clinic director (1965-70) in the B.J. Palmer Clinic. Over the next 40 years, he served as director of admissions, vice president for student affairs, chairman of the technique department, and of course, twice as president of the college. In 1994, he stepped down from the position to return to full-time teaching; in 2004, he was named interim president of both Palmer Davenport and its new Florida campus following the resignation of Dr. Guy Riekeman. A year later, Dr. Kern accepted the presidency at Palmer Davenport for a historic second time.
"I hope my tenure as President will be remembered for starting the President's Club and helping to craft the Palmer Tenets," he said. "Our endowment has grown from about $6 million in 1987 to around $30 million today. The one thing that will guarantee the perpetuity of this institution is a strong endowment fund."