Michael Palmer


For the better part of the last 35 years, Michael Palmer has been a positive force in the public arena, his principle motivation, to make Durham a better place for all citizens. He holds a number of honors, but he has the unique distinction of being a local government executive who became a higher education administrator. Trained as a CPA, he was director of Internal Audit for Durham County Government, a senior auditor for several energy firms, an accountant for Arthur Andersen before he became Durham’s first African American deputy county manager, overseeing county government day to day operations for more than ten years. After that he became the assistant vice president for the Office of Community Affairs at Duke University. There, as principal liaison with city and county governments, he provided leadership for more than a decade in Duke’s interaction with the Durham Community, fostering productive relationships through the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership Initiative. He left Duke at the end of 2010 and joined the executive team of Self-Help where he serves as Senior Outreach Coordinator specializing in fostering collaborative working relations in communities where Self Help has made catalytic investments.