Professor Palmer joined the Department in 1992 and retired in 2018. He was the Elbert H. Neese, Jr. Professor of Economics (2015-2018) and directed the Miller Upton Forum for four years, 2014-2017. He also was the Coleman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship (2011-2015), and the Mouat Junior Professor of International Studies (2003-2005). In 2009 he received the Phee Boon Kang’73 Prize for Innovation in Teaching with Technology.
Most recently, he developed a new course, IDST 313: The Life and Financial Planning Workshop, an interdisciplinary course open to any junior or senior. In 2013-2017, the course helped more than 200 students identify the key financial decisions they will face following graduation, gave them the analytical tools to make wealth- and life-enhancing decisions and helped them recognize potential entrepreneurial opportunities in choosing their life and career paths.
A late entrant into academia, Professor Palmer operated various small businesses continuously since 1975. He owned a print shop, worked as a publications consultant, contributed articles to Organic Gardening and other magazines and, with his spouse, continues to rent out the house that they designed and built in the mountains outside of Missoula, Montana. He and his spouse even once operated a small farm, at least according to the 1980 census worker who visited their Montana home and claimed that growing bedding plants for sale made their four acre homestead a “small farm”.