Posthumous induction honors ‘true Michaelman’
An afternoon ceremony on August 9, 2018 in the Pomerleau Alumni Center Fireside Lounge honored the late Paul J Palmer ’56, P’80, P’94, GP’11 with his Posthumous Induction into the Society of Mont-Saint-Michel. In remarks at the ceremony, President Lorraine Sterritt said Paul Palmer’s induction was “in recognition of his incredible generosity to Saint Michael’s College.”
The Society of Mont-Saint-Michel is named in honor of the famed abbey in Mont-Saint-Michel, France. The Society of Saint Edmund served as caretakers for the abbey from 1867 to 1886. “Just as the Edmundites served as caretakers of the abbey, the members of the Society of Mont-Saint-Michel serve as caretakers of the College,” Sterritt said, adding that “Paul embodied what it is to be a Michaelman.”
During the ceremony, Palmer’s daughter Sarah Palmer Daigneault ’94 spoke on behalf of the many family members present, including a good number of other alumni. Also present was Fr. Ray Doherty, S.S.E. ’51, who served in the military with Paul Palmer and initially told him about Saint Michael’s, which lead to Palmer eventually attending the College and becoming its lifetime supporter.
Speakers noted how, following graduation from high school, Palmer spent three years as a Marine Corps reservist, serving in the Korean War. Following his military service, he pursued his education at Saint Michael’s. In College, he balanced athletics with academics while making lifelong friends, President Sterritt stated.
The class of 1956 yearbook states: “Paul proved to be the all-around anchor man on campus; as a catcher of the varsity diamond nine, as President of the Worcester Club and as Proctor of Old Hall II, just to list a few. Known to almost every Knight on the Hill, Paul was perhaps the most outspoken advocate of school spirit. In fact, it was rumored that during his last year he had each freshman on his floor recite the Michaelman creed before sacking out.”
After graduation, Palmer had a long and successful career working at IBM for 36 years. He served on many boards, was active in his community and was a true philanthropist, the president said, adding, “In a lifetime of service, Paul was a remarkable friend to Saint Michael’s, to higher education, to the organizations at which he served, and to all who have had the pleasure to have known him.”
Sterritt noted how Palmer’s service to Saint Michael’s was displayed throughout his life in a variety of ways. He served on the Board of Trustees from 1991 to 1997, chaired reunion classes and was instrumental in the creation of the Military Heritage Project and Scholarship. His dedication to the College earned him the 2006 Alumnus of the Year. “Through Paul’s storied life, his values of service and leadership have shown through, in particular to his alma mater,” she said.
The president concluded: “Paul’s dedication and devotion is evident in his family as well. As a devoted husband, caring father and doting grandfather and great-grandfather, Paul paved the way for two of his children and one grandchild to attend Saint Michael’s College. Paul and his family have a lasting legacy at Saint Michael’s College and will never be far from our thoughts. For Paul’s incredible support throughout his lifetime, it is my pleasure to recognize him and the entire Palmer family with membership in the Society of Mont-Saint-Michel.”