The Culver-Stockton College Board of Trustees elected Dr. Douglas B. Palmer as its 27th president on Feb. 6. Dr. Palmer has accepted this nomination and will begin his duties on July 1, 2020.

Culver-Stockton College trustees elect 27th president

CANTON, Mo. — The Culver-Stockton College Board of Trustees elected Dr. Douglas B. Palmer as its 27th president on Feb. 6. Dr. Palmer has accepted this nomination and will begin his duties on July 1, 2020. He replaces Dr. Kelly M. Thompson, who is retiring at the end of June 2020.

Dr. Palmer has served as provost, vice president of academic affairs and dean at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, since 2015. He was responsible for academics (five schools and one stand-alone division), enrollment management (for undergraduates, graduates and adults), retention, assessment and institutional effectiveness, the library, the academic resource center, advising, experiential learning, career services and accreditation. He also was secretary for the Board of Trustees, and he was acting president for a portion of 2018 during a medical leave of the president.

“On behalf of the trustees, Culver-Stockton welcomes Dr. Palmer to the College,” said Ron Leftwich ’64, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “He brings strong academic experience and leadership, and we look forward to working with him as the College focuses on the future and enhancing the student experience through our experiential learning curriculum.”

Dr. Palmer’s accomplishments at Walsh include:

  • Directing the building design planning and assisting with the development and fundraising for the $11.4 million Marlene and Joe Toot Global Learning Center, a 44,000 square foot facility which opened in 2018.
  • Establishing Walsh’s first research institutes – the Institute for Community Health and the Food Design Institute, which were designed to allow faculty, students and guests to work towards solutions on issues that affect local and global communities.
  • Developing the Brother Francis Blouin Global Scholars Program, a living-learning community dedicated to developing students as leaders in service with a global perspective, in 2012.
  • Adding 11 online programs for adult-degree completion.
  • Leading the effort to rebrand and reorganize the adult-learner programs as the Walsh University Digital Campus.
  • Spearheading the launch of Walsh’s undergraduate degree program in museum studies, the only program of its kind offered in Ohio and throughout the Midwest.
  • Raising funds for two named professorships.
  • Leading academic affairs and enrollment management to ensure enrollment and revenue projections to deliver a balanced budget each year.

“I am deeply humbled and honored by the invitation of the Board of Trustees to serve as Culver-Stockton’s 27th president,” Dr. Palmer said. “Culver-Stockton’s focus on students and emphasis on experiential learning tell me that this is a place of creativity and innovation. It is leading in preparing students for the jobs of the 21st century. My family and I can’t wait to meet everyone on ‘the Hill’ and to become part of the Culver-Stockton family. Go Wildcats!”

Dr. Palmer holds a doctorate in European history from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree in modern European history from the University of Oregon and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in 2001-02, and he was a research fellow at the Emory University School of Law in 2004-05.

Before taking his current position, Dr. Palmer was the assistant dean of academic innovation and a professor of history at Walsh.

He also served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C., from 1989 to 1993. Both Dr. Palmer and his wife Catherine grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa. Together they have three sons and live in Canton, Ohio.

“Dr. Palmer is the right leader for us based on his passion for experiential learning, his experience with innovative graduate and online programs, and his deep understanding of the value of a small, liberal arts college education.  We are excited to welcome him to the Culver-Stockton College family,” said Dr. Lauren Schellenberger, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College.

A reception to introduce Dr. Palmer and his family to the community will be held at a later date.


Contact the Marketing & Public Relations Office, at or 573-288-6000 ext. 6728 for more information.

NOTE: A number that appears immediately after a person’s name (i.e. Jane Doe ’18) is a reference to the year that person earned their bachelor’s degree from Culver-Stockton.

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