Iowa Conference bishop to speak at Commencement

Iowa Conference bishop to speak at Commencement

by Sharon Albright

Simpson is hoping to emphasize the college’s broader relationship with the Methodist church through its choice for the 2003 commencement speaker, according to Simpson College President R. Kevin LaGree.

Bishop Gregory Palmer, of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church will play an important role in this year’s ceremonies.

“I think that this really celebrates our relationship with the United Methodist Church,” LaGree said.

But, along with Palmer’s church experience, he also possesses other strong qualities that make him an appropriate choice, according to those who have met him.

“I’m looking forward to him coming here,” said senior Sean McRoberts, who plans on attending seminary after graduation. “I’ve heard him speak several times at different events, and he’s shown himself to be a really impressive leader as well as a neat guy.”

LaGree said that some of Palmer’s strong speaking skills come from his prior involvement in schools and churches around the country.

“He’s a wonderful speaker who has a great love for higher education,” LaGree said. “He has teaching experience and serves on our board of trustees, along with representing other Iowa Methodist institutions.”

Palmer serves as a member of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and is also a member of several of the board of trustees of Iowa United Methodist colleges and institutions outside of his involvement with Simpson.

Palmer has two college-aged children of his own, which contributes to his ability to connect with students.

“From what I’ve heard about him, he’s really smart, witty and charismatic,” said senior Cora Schuhmacher, a member of Religious Life Council and daughter of a Methodist pastor.

Palmer has also made an impression on his peers on a professional basis.

“Bishop Palmer is a passionate speaker with a compassionate heart,” said Simpson Chaplain Chris Waddle. “It will be hard for students to snooze during his commencement address.”