Dr. Kenneth R. Garren is in his 18th year as president of University of Lynchburg, beginning his tenure in 2001 as the College’s tenth president since its founding in 1903. He brings to the office 51 years of higher education experience including service as a college vice president, chief academic officer, associate dean, and professor of mathematics.
During Dr. Garren’s tenure as president, University of Lynchburg’s enrollment has grown at an impressive rate: 32% at the undergraduate level and 169% in graduate programs.
A native of Augusta, Georgia, President Garren earned his baccalaureate degree in mathematics from Roanoke College, his master’s degree in mathematics from The College of William and Mary, and his PhD in mathematics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).
President Garren was involved in the early days of the U.S. space program as an aerospace engineer, working on the Apollo and Gemini projects at NASA’s Langley Research Center.
He also served as a member of the famed 29th Infantry Division of the Army National Guard, beginning his service as a private and finishing his distinguished military career with the rank of Colonel, Infantry, United States Army Reserve.
The former vice president and dean of the college at Roanoke College, Dr. Garren has since led the University of Lynchburg through its 2003 Centennial Celebration and a growing list of accomplishments.
- Student Center Expansion Campaign
- The University of Lynchburg’s strategic plan
- Campus facilities master planning
- Multiple building projects including 5 student townhouses and an apartment building, Elliot & Rosel Schewel Hall, Shellenberger Field, and Drysdale Student Center
- Continued development of the Claytor Nature Study Center including construction of the Belk Observatory and the Chandler Eco-Lodge.
- Addition of the University of Lynchburg’s first three doctoral programs – DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy), EdD in Leadership Studies, and DMSc (Doctor of Medical Science)
- Educational linkage between the University of Lynchburg and the island nation of St. Lucia
- Led the institution through a recognition from Lynchburg College to the University of Lynchburg
President Garren’s current board service includes:
- National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), Washington, DC
- Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc. (EIIA)
- Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges (VFIC); Chair of the annual Ethics Bowl tournament among the 15 member institutions
- The Council of Colleges & Universities of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Executive Committee
- Lynchburg City Schools’ Education Foundation
- Legislative Affairs Committee, Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance
He has also been recognized by the Piedmont Chapter, Military Order of World Wars, with the award of the Silver Patrick Henry Medallion for Patriotic Achievement and received the 2010 Humanitarian Award by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC).
In February 2014, he received the Mayor of Lynchburg’s Excellence Award for service to the community.
In April 2014 he received the “Roanoke College Medal” from his alma mater in recognition of outstanding service to college and community.
President Garren was featured by front-page coverage in the November 8-9, 2015 issue of the Wall Street Journal for his work on Capitol Hill. The article is titled “Colleges Show Their Lobbying Might.”
In May 2016 he received the Charles Foreman Award from the Council of Independent Colleges, an award to recognize a single college president or corporate trustee.
An enthusiastic advocate of liberal arts education, President Garren sees the liberal arts environment as a place where students “learn to learn.” His leadership style is characterized as open, energetic, and student-centered, and he has been described as an “architect, visionary, and champion for progress.”