For Christopher Palmer, 39, of Roxborough, the journey toward his Bachelor’s degree could be equated to the journey of Ulysses to return home — both took determination, effort, and many long years to complete.
Palmer’s trek began in 1980. Working for Fairmount Park, he was interested in taking courses at Temple University Ambler, home of the university’s landscape architecture and horticulture programs. Palmer is now the Park District Manager for the northwest region of Fairmount Park, an area that includes the Wissahickon Valley. He graduated, at last, in May 2001, with a B.A. in Horticulture.
“I had a goal in mind,” he said. “I wanted to take courses that would enrich my skills for the type of work I was doing.”
Often working 60 hours a week, Palmer squeezed in a course wherever he could. After 13 years, he attained his associate’s degree in horticulture in 1993, but he wasn’t content to stop there. In 1996, he returned to complete the coursework needed for a bachelor’s degree.
“As I got older I became more mature and more focused and I realized that I really enjoyed school,” Palmer said. “I keep setting new goals for myself. Someday I will become part of the master’s program.”
Along the way, he also found time to have a family, raising three children with his wife, Peg. He is a member of Pi Alpha Xi, the national honor society for Horticulture students, and is on the advisory committee of the W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences, his alma mater.
“What you have to do is set achievable goals for yourself. Don’t say you’re going to get a doctorate degree when you are just starting your first class,” he said. “The time goes by very quickly. Twenty years seems like the blink of an eye.