April 19, 2011
Dr. David Palmer, president of Waycross College since August 2006, has announced his plans to step down from the presidency. Palmer will leave at the conclusion of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
In a memo to faculty and staff, Palmer, 68, cited his desire to spend more time with his wife, Nancy, and their three children and seven grandchildren as his primary reason for leaving.
“While I am still quite healthy, Nancy and I want to shift gears and priorities. For four decades, I’ve put my job ahead of my family. I want to reverse that now,” he said.
During Palmer’s tenure, WC experienced an enrollment increase, based on a semester-to-semester comparison, for six consecutive semesters, culminating in 1,107 students enrolled fall 2010. A “Campus Revitalization Project”, which brought sweeping renovations to the college’s administrative and student services buildings, was completed in March 2010.
With the approval of the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents and WC’s student body, the college reinstated its intercollegiate athletic program, beginning with men’s basketball in 2009 and women’s fastpitch softball in 2010.
Even more importantly, Palmer said, was the ability of the college to weather one of the most uncertain financial periods in recent history.
“We’ve managed ourselves well financially and have not had to lay off or curtail the employment of any employee during reduced and harsh budget years,” he said.
Palmer added that strong support from the community has also played a vital role in the college’s recent successes.
“I wish everyone in town could have the opportunity to work at Waycross College, and I wish everyone who worked at the college had the opportunity to interact with all the people in town that I have,” he said. “Everyone in this area of our state – teachers, superintendents, elected officials, medical people, law enforcement staff, business owners, and shopkeepers – has been so very supportive of this college.
“It’s certainly been the best job I’ve ever had and the most supportive environment I’ve ever known,” Palmer continued.
Prior to his appointment to WC, Palmer served as president of Andrew College in Cuthbert, Ga. from 2002-2006. A majority of his career was spent as vice president for student life at Hanover College in Indiana (1981-2002). He has also worked for colleges and universities in Iowa, Kentucky, and Michigan.
Palmer received bachelor of arts degrees in English and sociology from Hanover College, followed by a master of arts degree in college student personnel from The Ohio State University. He received a second master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in executive management from Xavier University. Palmer earned his doctorate in higher education administration from Michigan State University.
“By stepping down (as WC president), I will have more flexibility in life that has been put on hold with respect to my wife and family. I’m looking forward to having coffee with my wife in the mornings and not having to leave her and go to work for ten hours, day after day,” he said.
Palmer said he and his wife will remain in Waycross for the immediate future. He added that, with more time flexibility, they are looking forward to being able to attend their grandchildren’s school events, birthday parties, and other daily activities. Three of the grandchildren live in Indiana, two are in Kentucky, and the other two are in North Carolina.
“You just can’t make a round-trip, 12-hour drive to Kentucky in one weekend,” Palmer lamented.
In addition to spending time with family, Palmer enjoys following the game of golf and is ready to step onto the links with his two sons again.
“I haven’t played golf with my sons in nine years,” he said. “I’m ready to do that because, who knows, I may not be able to swing a club years from now!”Details regarding the search for Palmer’s successor, including the appointment of an interim president, will be announced by the Board of Regents.
Waycross College has been a proud member of the University System of Georgia since the College’s founding in 1976.
Director of Development and Community Services