Siena Heights Welcomes New President


Dr. Douglas Palmer, who was selected to be the next president of Siena Heights, also was the top choice of the student panel. The panel met with all four candidates in January and Palmer was the one who stood out the most. 

Palmer asked each of the students to introduce themselves and asked what we were studying.  He had welcoming body language and exhibited a strong faith. In fact, before the interview started, he told the group he “felt he was called by God to help in the education system.”

From all the answers Palmer had given us, we were interested in what he would bring to the table when it came to our Catholic beliefs and the Sisters. He communicated to us that he is clearly Catholic, but for the students who aren’t, he is warmly Christian and willing to embrace all religions on campus if possible. He also intends to respect the traditions of the Sisters. 

There were a lot of strengths among the four candidates, but the one who stood out to the student panel was Douglas Palmer. During our interview with him, he exemplified an outstanding candidate. He had welcoming body language and was genuinely interested in getting to know us. He first asked for our names, years, and what we are studying, and actively listened, and remembered, everything we mentioned. Before starting the question process, he told us that he felt he was called by God to help in the education system. 

The perimeters of the questions included how to further diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. His answer was one the longest ones we had heard when considering the other candidates. He mentioned that he’s willing to put aside his theological beliefs if it impacts a student’s identity and their right to be a part of the community. He also stated that at one of his previous institutions, he joined his students at the front of the line in a Black Lives Matter protest. 

The recent faculty cuts were at the top of everyone’s mind. What Palmer said to these was that students, parents, faculty, and staff deserve transparency about what is happening on campus. Of course, confidential information will be kept to those who need to know, but if the information is important and can be shared, it will be. Palmer also mentioned that he plans to hold regular “town hall meetings” with those who are interested. They will be able to ask questions and get insight into what they want to know. At the end of his response, he told the panel that he believes students should not be used as pawns for their personal gain. When it came to the budget cut questions, Palmer ensured us that he plans to gain money to help with our education. Whether that means supplies for classrooms, gear for sporting teams, and any other reasonable situation that calls for funding. He mentioned working with the Adrian community to help us with fundraising and currency. 

At the end of our interview, Palmer shook our hands and thanked us for our time. When the panel debriefed, we concluded that we wanted him as our next president. 

On behalf of the student panel, and the Siena community, we welcome Douglas Palmer and his family to the Saints campus! We look forward to seeing you in the Fall!

Students on the panel: Rachelle Lowery, Joseph Turner, Elizabeth Heintz, Brooke Beyer, Madison Hawk, Matthew Scally, Kaya Robinson, Jalen Williams, Jonathan LaBelle, and Julianne Lark.