Palmer chancellor Riekeman resigns

The president of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, who also served as the chancellor for the entire Palmer system, resigned this week after just eight months as chancellor and five years as president. Guy Riekeman’s resignation is effective immediately, according to a statement released Friday afternoon. At the same time, the board of trustees announced plans to “realign the university’s administrative team and refocus on critical topics.” Vickie Palmer, chairperson of the system’s board of trustees and great-granddaughter of the school’s founder, said Riekeman requested the board keep the reason behind his resignation confidential. She said the system will be “keeping the same focus in educating the best chiropractic students.” Don Kern, who served as Palmer’s president from 1987 to 1994, will take over again as the leader of the central Davenport campus on an interim basis. Kern promised a smooth transition. “We’re moving ahead with all of the initiatives started under Riekeman,” he said, mentioning in particular the development of the new Florida campus and the continuation of the $35 million capital campaign for a learning resource center in Davenport. Kern received a phone call from the board Thursday, asking him to step into the president’s role again, he said. He also declined to answer why Riekeman resigned. Riekeman could not be reached for comment Friday by the Quad-City Times. Riekeman became the school’s eighth president in the fall of 1998 after the death of then-president Virgil Strang shortly before his retirement. A motivational speaker and creator of several professional development seminar programs, Riekeman is a 1972 graduate of Palmer. He had been an X-ray instructor, dean of philosophy and vice president of Sherman Chiropractic College in Spartanburg, S.C. One year before his presidential appointment, he was named executive director of the Palmer Institute for Professional Advancement. At the time, he said he anticipated chiropractic would become less of an “alternative” form of health care. “There is no question in my mind that in the short term, chiropractic will be a major player and in the long term, it will be a leader in the new definition of health care today,” he said. Riekeman was named chancellor of the Palmer system in summer 2003. He was to oversee Palmer and its two colleges in California and Florida, as well as the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Palmer Institute of Professional Advancement and Palmer Foundation of Chiropractic History. Palmer is 109 years old and is credited as the beginning of chiropractic education, started by the profession’s founder, Daniel David Palmer. It has 40,000 alumni, 550 employees and 2,400 students. Kirk Lee, president of Palmer’s alumni association, said the association supports the college and the board of trustees in its decision. “The president will come and go, but the alumni will always be there,” said Lee, who practices in Albion, Mich. Brent Warner, who will graduate from Palmer in three weeks, said he respects Riekeman for his accomplishments at Palmer, especially his recruitment efforts. A difference of opinion about chiropractic theory led to Riekeman’s resignation, Warner added. Warner’s serves on the school’s student council and says he received several e-mails and phone calls Friday afternoon about Riekeman’s departure as word spread. “It’s a split. There’s a lot of students who aren’t unhappy with this decision,” Warner said. “There’s a lot of students who came to this college because of Guy Riekeman. There are some who really love the guy, some who really don’t.” Ann McGlynn can be contacted at (563) 383-2336 or [email protected]. This information is reprinted with permission of the Quad-City Times. Copyright 2004.

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