"This is a great day for the Palmer Chiropractic University System, and it's a great day in the history of the chiropractic profession," Chancellor Michael Crawford told the appreciative crowd shortly before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Dorothy Hukill, mayor of Port Orange, echoed Crawford's enthusiasm: "This is not the end of the journey, but day one in the Palmer/Port Orange legacy. The Palmer family has become not only our partner, but they are our friends and neighbors as well."
The City of Port Orange played a major role in bringing Palmer to Florida, leasing the college a 25-acre site on City Center Parkway and facilitating the sale of bonds to fund construction. One of the originators of the idea to bring Palmer to the area was Port Orange chiropractor Jim Hether.
"I can't wait to see this campus materialize and mature," said Vickie Palmer, chairman of the Palmer Chiropractic University Board of Trustees, and great-granddaughter of chiropractic's founder, D.D. Palmer. "I am eager to see the student body expand, and to see the faculty grow. I know we live in the present, but I feel a very strong sense of the future as I stand here looking at all of you. Today, we are making history."
Palmer Florida's first class has 46 students - 29 men and 17 women - from 14 states. Nearly half are from Florida, and range in age from 21 to 50. Eventually, enrollment may grow as high as 750 students.
The students began classes on Oct. 7 in the Allen Green Civic Center. Classes will continue in the temporary site until fall 2003, when construction should be completed on the first phase of the college's permanent 25-acre campus on City Center Parkway. The campus will boast a clinic; student union/learning resource center; outdoor gathering spaces; and an educational facility built specifically to implement an innovative chiropractic curriculum.
According to PCCF President Guy Riekeman,DC, Palmer Florida is offering a doctor of chiropractic program geared toward students who have already earned a bachelor's degree. The graduate program will take 13 quarters to complete and will run year-round. The college is implementing an innovative way of delivering the curriculum, relying on small-group discussion and lectures. The curriculum will stress chiropractic philosophy; basic sciences; clinical skills; and practice management, exposing students to aspects of patient care from day one.
"We're here to train students to go out and help people improve the quality of their lives," Dr. Riekeman said.
Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida is the only chiropractic college in the state and the newest college of the Palmer Chiropractic University system, which also includes:
- Chiropractic's founding college, Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, with an enrollment of approximately 1,600 students;
- Palmer College of Chiropractic West in San Jose, Calif., with approximately 400 students;
- Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research in Davenport;
- Palmer Foundation for Chiropractic History in Davenport; and
- Palmer Institute for Professional Advancement in Davenport.