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Colleagues, Widow Establish Scholarship in Memory

May 13, 2010

      Two retired Anne Arundel Community College administrators and Dorothy Palmer of Severna Park have established a scholarship in honor of the late John D. Palmer, a longtime dean and faculty member at AACC who served the college community under all four AACC presidents.

      Elizabeth Mathias, Ed.D., of Stevensville, professor of nursing emeritus, and Rose Rivera, Ed.D., of Annapolis, assistant dean of allied health emeritus, joined his widow Dorothy Palmer in creating the Dean John Palmer Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship fund will help academically proven students prepare for a career or to upgrade job skills in career and technical education.

      Palmer served under all four AACC presidents. He joined AACC in 1968 to establish business programs at the request of AACC founding president Andrew G. Truxal, Ph.D., L.L.D.

      “Known as a wise, prudent and ethical educator and administrator, Palmer has left a remarkable legacy at AACC and touched the lives of thousands of community residents,” said Stacey Sickels Heckel, CFRE, executive director of the AACC Foundation Inc. The foundation helps establish and maintain institutional scholarships.

      Palmer headed the Business and Public Administration program, directed the Secretarial Science program from 1968-69 and chaired the new Business division from 1969-77. Palmer later served as acting dean of academic affairs and acting dean of the college. According to “A Stepping Stone: The History of Anne Arundel Community College,” Palmer was among key college leaders who, by 1972, were guiding AACC’s expanding instructional focus from transfer programs to both transfer and career training. That year, 34 percent of the enrollment occurred in 13 career programs and by spring 1975, 40 percent of the college enrollment was in career programs. In fiscal year 2009, 29 percent of graduates received career program degrees and 23 percent earned certificates.

      In 1980, Palmer won promotion to dean of technical and career programs and served in that capacity until 1986, when he returned to the faculty as a business professor. When he retired in 1996, Palmer continued to teach business classes part time until his death in February 2009.

      Palmer led numerous faculty committees, wrote and administered policy and helped achieve college accreditations. Under his supervision, the college launched many new academic programs in response to community and employer demand, including radiologic technology and hotel and restaurant management.

      Mathias and Rivera, both of whom served as deans at AACC during their careers, were instrumental in founding this scholarship in appreciation of his leadership and guidance. In the scholarship Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), they write that he “encouraged them to expand their visions and to develop high quality allied health programs.” He also, Mathias said, was “the guiding force for the development of the hotel-restaurant management program.”

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