Before Davidson

Dr. Palmer attended Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, about thirty-five miles from his home in Hagerstown.  After college, he took some different jobs between graduate level education and arriving at Davidson.

Military Service:

“Right after college, I went into the service.”

He first went to basic training.

Ed at Basic Training, Shaw Base, Sumter, SC, in the summer of '59; courtesy of Ed Palmer

Private Palmer then went on active duty at Fort Knox for six months, after which he remained in the reserves for five and a half years.  Despite his service, he does not consider himself a “veteran.”

Private Ed Palmer; courtesy of Ed Palmer


Arthur Andersen:

After his military service, Dr. Palmer got a job in Philadelphia at Arthur Andersen.

“I was with them for a year, and I knew after a year I didn’t want to give my life to that.”


Lutheran Theological Seminary:

He returned from Philadelphia, and as he had always been told that we would make a great minister, he decided to enroll at the seminary in Gettysburg.

“We had a fairly good time up there in seminary, but we worked pretty hard.”

Here is Dr. Palmer with a story about one of his seminary professors:

Ed at seminary with Ruth Ann; courtesy of Ed Palmer


Ohio University:

After seminary, Dr. Palmer received a partial scholarship to study Psychology at Ohio University.

“I’d been accepted in clinical psychology.”

“My reason for going was to get what I thought would be counseling training to take back into the parish.  But, I liked psychology and I stayed with it.”

In fact, at that point, Dr. Palmer had no previous experience with any Psychology.

“I had to go that summer because I had never had any psychology courses.  So here I was, a kid coming into graduate school in Psychology without any Psychology.  But I took intro that summer, and I took the statistics course that fall, which was a washout course… but I managed to pass.”

He came very close to finishing his dissertation and getting his Ph.D., but he began to feel worn down, and needed to take a break.

“I got burned out partway through.  I was almost through.”



So, to get away from the University, he went back to Hagerstown to work at the radio station again.

“I called the radio station where I had worked part time when I was in seminary and when I was in college, and asked if they had any position open.  And they had the night shift open.  So, I went back to Hagerstown and took the night shift.”

“The community that would call in, you would imagine they would be working at night… soon you developed sort of a little community of people.  You kind of knew who they were.  One time, I went up to meet with one of the nightwatchmen.  He wanted to show me around his factory.”

“It was a fascinating experience.”

Dr. Palmer would also take a job as a radio host in Pottstown, PA, for a brief time.

Ed as a morning DJ in Pottstown in '68; courtesy of Ed Palmer

Here is Dr. Palmer’s voice-over demo from his time in the radio.  It gives the listener an appreciation for his voice:


Western Maryland College:

Wanting to return to his academic background, he left the radio job to take a teaching position.

“I had taught two years at a place called Western Maryland College in Westminster, Maryland.”

“I was ‘ABD’ – all but dissertation – at that point.”

After only a year and a half, however, he knew that he wanted to finish his own education.  Ed Palmer was about to become Dr. Ed Palmer.


Ohio University (again):

When he returned to Ohio to finish his dissertation, he came across a difficulty.  He could no longer take clinical psychology courses at the University.  Here is Dr. Palmer with the story:

“My kids even now, they understand.  If it’s a movie like Saving Private Ryan, they say, ‘Dad you don’t want to watch.  You don’t want to see that movie.’  Because I kinda get into it.  I’m very much into it and I feel it, and that’s the kind of thing they look out for.”

“You have to have that separation – that the problems that you are hearing and that you are working with aren’t going home with you.”

“I had an experience that kind of blew my mind.  There was a psychiatrist I was working with, and while I was working with him, he committed suicide.  That’s one of the dangers.”

Ultimately, however, Dr. Palmer received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology.  Soon after, he was hired by a small school called Davidson College, which was far away in North Carolina, to teach just that.


Continue to Davidson

Return to top