Linfield College


About Linfield

Linfield Scenic

Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

Press Releases

1/1/2008 Where are they now? Frank Bumpus and Densley Palmer


What started out as a dream job, turned into a more than three decade-long fulfilling career for Frank Bumpus, professor emeritus of psychology and counselor.

When Bumpus graduated from the University of Oregon, doctorate in hand, he knew he wanted to stay in Oregon, work at a small, liberal arts college and teach as well as counsel.

"Linfield offered me a job to do exactly what I wanted to do," said Bumpus, who served as a faculty member and counselor for 33 years before retiring in 2002. "The longer I stayed, the more I came to appreciate Linfield and the McMinnville community."

Now in retirement, Bumpus is nearly as busy as he was while working at Linfield.

"I changed directions, but I haven't slowed down a whole lot," he said.

Bumpus, along with his wife Kathie, have five grandchildren on opposite ends of the country -- Washington and Maryland. In addition to paying frequent visits to family members, they have traveled to Mexico, Hawaii and around the Northwest.

They serve on the board of Juliette's House, a McMinnville assessment and treatment facility for child sexual abuse, for which Bumpus trains volunteers. They are long-time members of the McMinnville Covenant Church.

"Our Christian faith is an important reality in our lives," he said. "We enjoy serving in a number of different ways. We're enjoying life. We have good health and much to be thankful for."

The two also attend a variety of Linfield events, following athletics, lectures, artistic performances and "Whatever catches our eye," he noted.

As a psychologist and counselor, Bumpus found it particularly fulfilling to work with students during a critical time of their lives. He taught the Life-Span Developmental Psychology course, focusing on birth to death development. The most important segment of the life span is the first six years. According to Bumpus, the next six-year period with the most profound influence across the life span is ages18-24.

"Young adults go through profound changes between 18 and 24," he said. "Research indicates a variety of essential foundations for later successes in life are established during this tumultuous and complicated period in the life-span. Thriving during these six years propels a person into a flourishing adulthood.

Along with missing regular interactions with students, Bumpus also fondly recalls friendships with colleagues, whom he describes as "deeply caring, highly creative people who work hard to serve students."

In addition to the people, Bumpus also misses the daily challenge of strategizing for classes.

"I enjoyed thinking about how to make important research and theory come alive and be meaningful to students. How am I going to explain it, give examples and push students to come up with their own understanding of the ideas? That was an enjoyable challenge."

"Linfield has been changing in very good ways," he added. "Alumni should be proud of Linfield's progress."

Contact Frank Bumpus at


With a soothing baritone voice, a bit of poetry and a few jokes thrown in now and again, Densley Palmer, or Denny as he was known to most people on campus, calmed and reassured members of the Linfield community for nearly two decades.

Denny, director emeritus of counseling services, worked at Linfield from 1983 to 1999, lending a steady presence and sound advice to both students and staff in times of crisis.

He and Joyce, his wife of 47 years, grew up together in Portland. "We've known one another since the first grade," said Denny, who attended Lewis and Clark College, earning a bachelor's degree, then went on to the University of Oregon to receive a master's and Ph.D. in counseling psychology.

After working 16 years as a counselor and psychology teacher at Everett Community College, Denny came across the Linfield position while browsing the Chronicle of Higher Education.

"Linfield was not new to me, for I grew up American Baptist and had known it all my life," he said. "Friends attended Linfield, my sister-in-law Shirley Jeanne (Barnett) Palmer '55, attended Linfield and I even thought about attending Linfield. The position description sounded as though there would be a good fit between my experiences, interests and what Linfield sought."

He spent the next 16 years counseling students, responding to emergencies in residence halls and supervising what was then called the Office of Counseling, Career and Learning Support Services (OCCLS). He also led programs in residence halls, helped train RAs and student advisers, and taught classes in stress management and alcohol and drug prevention.

"Counseling entails a lot of one-on-one teaching," he said. "My last semester, I ended my career where it had started by teaching a class in introductory psychology."

After retiring, the Palmers moved to Anacortes, Wash., to be near children and grandchildren in the area. Surrounded by Northwest Washington bays and the San Juan Islands, Denny and Joyce have settled into a life revolving around family and community service.

Both are avid walkers and regularly exercise at the local gym. They are also active members of Pilgrim Congregational, a United Church of Christ Church, where Denny served as moderator and put out the newsletter for a time. In the community, he participated on the Anacortes Community Health Council and the Board of Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays for Skagit County.

Denny also volunteers in study rooms at local elementary schools.

"I help to maintain law and order," he joked. "I'm working with kids who are at a very different point in education than at Linfield. They're a good group of kids."

Writing is an important aspect of Denny's life. He regularly writes letters to the President and the congressional delegation. Since leaving Linfield, he has self-published six collections of various writing including hymn poems. He has also taken writing courses at Skagit Valley College.

"I write something that can be sung to a familiar hymn tone," he said. "I try to make it more inclusive of other faith traditions, incorporating elements of peace, justice and the environment."

For Denny, positive memories of Linfield abound. He particularly enjoyed attending plays, concerts and recitals on campus, always impressed by the level of student talent. He narrated "Tubby the Tuba" when it was performed by the college band.

"What a hoot! Or was it a toot?" he said. "I met some extremely fine young people, faculty and staff."

Contact Denny Palmer at