Palmer College announces new campaign; dedicates $23M student housing project

Palmer
Paul and Donna VanDuyne, at right, talk about their days at Palmer College of Chiropractic on Saturday, Sept. 17, during a dedication ceremony for the new Paul and Donna VanDuyne Hall student housing building. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport celebrated its 125th anniversary in style with three big events over its Homecoming Weekend that included:

  • The dedication of a new $23 million student housing building at 1039 Perry St., Davenport. The building is named the Paul and Donna VanDuyne Hall.
  • The college announced the launch of its largest capital campaign in its history – a $25 million Daring and Driven fundraising campaign.
  • Paul and Donna VanDuyne, co-chairs of the fundraising campaign and former students at Palmer, made a $2.5 million contribution to kickstart the campaign.
Palmer
Paul and Donna VanDuyne cut the ribbon to dedicate the new Paul and Donna VanDuyne Hall student housing building on Saturday, Sept. 17. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

Those three events were highlighted Saturday afternoon, Sept. 17, when hundreds of people braved the rainy weather to welcome the new student housing building during a standing-room-only ceremony on the first floor of the new residential hall. That building, dedicated to the VanDuynes for their leadership, philanthropy and commitment to the college, will have 115 apartments and house up to 139 students

Mr. VanDuyne, who is president and CEO of IMEG, a Quad Cities-based global engineering firm, on Saturday called the new building “another jewel on the Palmer campus.”

“It’s just an unbelievable building. I’m getting a little emotional when I see it,” added Donna VanDuyne.

The building, which is still a work in progress, is expected to be completed by mid-October and ready for students when they begin the new academic term on Tuesday, Nov. 1. It will boast 60 studio apartments, 31 one-bedroom apartments and 24 two-bedroom apartments.

Some of the work still being completed includes fixtures, flooring, the parking lot and outdoor amenities such as the fire pit and grill area, according to Jillian McCleary, Palmer’s senior director of communication.

Palmer
This is a furnished one-bedroom apartment in the new Paul and Donna VanDuyne Hall student housing building on the Palmer College of Chiropractic campus in Davenport. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

During Saturday’s events, the QCBJ was given a tour of three of the apartments on the building’s fourth floor. Two units – a one-bedroom and a studio – were still under construction, but highlighted the open floor concept design and exterior views from the apartments. A one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor was complete and furnished.

“They are gorgeous,” said Ashley Borunda, a Palmer student attending the dedication event, about the new student housing apartments. “It’s exactly what Palmer students need. They are super convenient and state-of-the-art.”

During tours of the apartments, several Palmer guides said they heard many visitors make the same type of comments such as: “This is a lot better housing than I had when I was in school.”

Ms. VanDuyne, who was a student and faculty member at Palmer, added that she knows the importance of good student housing. That housing needs to be high quality, convenient for students and have good parking. During Saturday’s ceremony, she joked that she had so many parking tickets while at Palmer that “they knew me at the police station.”

Palmer
The new Paul and Donna VanDuyne Hall student housing building has 115 apartments for students of Palmer College of Chiropractic. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

Palmer’s Chancellor and CEO Dennis Marchiori said the new student housing project has been in the works for more than 10 years, and the building site was selected about seven years ago.

“Palmer College has a historic and celebrated past, but the best is yet to come,” Mr. Marchiori said in a statement. “We know chiropractic is in a growth mode, and with Palmer’s own growth, we’re setting the pace for the profession. We have a daring vision, and we’re inviting our alumni and friends to come along with us. This campaign must and will be successful.”

The welcoming of the new Paul and Donna VanDuyne Hall was just part of the Homecoming Weekend events for Palmer. 

Palmer
Paul and Donna VanDuyne stand in front of the new student housing building on Saturday, Sept. 17, shortly after the VanDuyne Hall sign was unveiled on the Palmer College of Chiropractic campus. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

The VanDuynes are co-chairs of Palmer College’s new $25 million Daring and Driven fundraising campaign. Announced during a special event at the RiverCenter in downtown Davenport on Friday, Sept. 16, it is the largest campaign in the college’s history. In fact, the couple have made a $2.5 million contribution to the campaign.

“We’re making this financial commitment because we feel we can be impactful, and we feel this is something worth giving to — we see Palmer getting better by the year,” said Mr. VanDuyne in a statement. “When you see you can make a difference, and you see the success that bears, it’s exciting.”

The VanDuynes were inspired by the example of Charles Keller, a 1955 graduate of Palmer, and his $1 million gift, half of which went toward the Charles and Hildegarde Keller Terrace at the Fountainhead and half of which went toward Dr. Keller’s existing scholarship endowment. “We thought about it,” Mr. Van Duyne said in a statement. “And we said, ‘Why not dig a bit deeper and see what we can do? Let’s not make it easy on ourselves.’”

During the weekend, the VanDuynes said the education they received at Palmer helped pave the way to their success today. Palmer is where they met, where Donna spent 15 years as a technique instructor and faculty member, and where their youngest son, Joey, is now studying chiropractic himself. 

“We asked ourselves, ‘What else in our life has had that big of an impact on who we are and what our family is today?’” said Mr. VanDuyne. “Donna and I both want young people coming up to be able to share that same level of success we’ve had. We want to pay it forward.”

The campaign has already raised $20.2 million over the past five years, and has helped the transformation of Palmer’s main campus on the top of Davenport’s Brady Street Hill. New facilities include the Trevor V. Ireland Student Clinic, the Bruce and Bethel Hagen Student Union, the David D. Palmer Learning Commons, the Experiential Learning Center, and now the Paul and Donna VanDuyne Hall. A fourth academic building on Palmer’s campus in Port Orange, Florida, also was recently completed to meet growing enrollment  demands on that campus.

“But Daring and Driven isn’t just about bricks and mortar,” Mr. Marchiori said in a statement. “That’s a big piece of it — and sometimes that’s the showcase because you can see it. This is a comprehensive campaign spanning everything that goes into our students’ learning experience and their success well beyond these walls, investments we’re able to make thanks to annual and endowed gifts alumni and friends make to the college.”

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