President Kenneth Garren to retire in 2020

Retiring from university after 19 years

LYNCHBURG, Va- – Dr. Kenneth R. Garren will retire as president of the University of Lynchburg in 2020, the university announced this morning. At that point, he will have led the institution for 19 years.

Garren informed Nathaniel Marshall, chair of the University of Lynchburg board of trustees, earlier this month that he would not seek to extend his contract past its current end date of June 30, 2020. “Mr. Marshall and I have been working recently to form a Transition Team that will propel this institution into the next decade and beyond,” Garren said in an email to the campus community this morning.

Garren became president of Lynchburg College in 2001 after a career that included work at NASA and teaching mathematics and serving as dean at Roanoke College, his alma mater. At Lynchburg, he brought a sense of pride in the college’s excellence and optimism for its future development. Under his direction, Lynchburg College grew its graduate programs, including doctoral degrees in physical therapy, educational leadership, and medical science, which now have hundreds of alumni among them.

The institution also invested in facilities, such as Schewel Hall, the Drysdale Student Center, and the education building and Belk Observatory at the Claytor Nature Center. By developing new town homes on campus and purchasing homes in the neighborhood surrounding the campus, the college became more residential. The student body has become more diverse, in part thanks to Dr. Garren’s long-recognized focus on diversity and inclusion.

The athletics program has thrived with his enthusiasm and support, which included his attendance at many home competitions as well as support for projects such as upgrades to the Jack Toms Track and Shellenberger Field.

The growth in population and academic programs cemented the institution’s identity as a university, which is reflected in the recent adoption of the name University of Lynchburg.

“It has been my honor to serve as president of this beloved institution for the past 17 years,” Garren said. “When I became president, I saw so much to be proud of in our academic program, our student-centered approach, our alumni, and our faculty and staff. I also saw great potential for the future, and we have achieved much of that potential.

“My wife, Sheila, and I have grown to love this institution and the people who work and study here every day. The University of Lynchburg truly is a college that changes lives. It has changed mine, and it will impact people for years to come.”