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The words that people use to describe Kenneth R. Garren get repeated frequently: enthusiastic, energetic, creative, open, compassionate, thoughtful.


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n the decade that he has served as president of Lynchburg College, he has worked tirelessly to raise the level of academic


excellence, promote athletics, and strengthen town-gown relations. Dr. Garren shows no signs of slowing down.


“There’s nowhere I’d rather be than here at Lynchburg College,” he said. Everyone who has met Dr. Garren instantly


knows he means it. “Ken Garren is passionate about Lynchburg


College,” said Stuart Fauber, chairman of the lc Board of Trustees. “He is enthusiastic and full of energy, and he spends twenty-four hours a day advancing the cause.” Dr. Ed Polloway, vice president for commu-


nity advancement and dean of graduate studies, takes it a step further. “If you listen to him, you assume there’s no better institution of higher education in the world than Lynchburg College,” he said with a broad smile. Dr. Garren’s biggest contribution has been


how he has changed attitudes on campus, Dr. Polloway said. “He has created a real positive environment and has embraced everybody’s contributions to the College.” In a more concrete fashion, Dr. Garren saved


graduate studies from a downward decline that was destined to return lc to a strictly under- graduate institution by 2003, Dr. Polloway said. Instead, the College has added three master’s of arts degrees and a master of science in nursing, as well as two new doctoral programs,


the doctor of physical therapy program launched in fall 2010, and an ed.d. in leadership studies set for fall 2011. Graduate enrollment has tripled in size from 150 in the spring of 2002 to 450 now. Under Dr. Garren’s leadership, the number


of full-time faculty for both undergraduate and graduate programs has increased from 110 to 170. The academic profile of entering freshmen


has continued to strengthen, as has the size of each new class and the number of Westover Honor Society students. There’s a renewed emphasis on experiential learning, including more student/faculty research, and internship and study abroad opportunities. A new Health Sciences building, Elliot &


Rosel Schewel Hall, and the Belk Astronomical Observatory have come to be under Dr. Garren’s tenure. The College has also started a $4.65 million retrofit to make buildings more energy efficient. But Dr. Garren doesn’t take credit for more


than his share of the work. “It’s always a team that makes things happen at Lynchburg College,” he said. “I’m inspired by so many people. It’s our mission to serve that drives everything we do.”


Demonstrating Service


Stuart Fauber said Dr. Garren demonstrates service. “He is a man of high moral character, and when faced with a difficult decision, he always asks the question, ‘Is this the right thing to do?’”


A large part of that ethos is accountability,


which is nowhere more important than in the classroom. lc has been testing itself through the Collegiate Learning Assessment and the National Survey of Student Engagement (nsse), both of which measure what happens to students during their four years of college life. lc ranks 33 percent higher than the national average among schools releasing their results in the cla, and 10 to 40 percent better in all five benchmarks of nsse. A mathematician by training, Dr. Garren did those calculations. His reach extends well beyond his work


on campus. “Ken is a dynamic and effective president,” said Robert Lambeth, executive director of the Council of Independent Colleges of Virginia (cicv). Dr. Garren has served as chair of the cicv and as a longtime executive committee member. His advocacy for Tuition Assistance Grants from the state and for a cicv benefits consortium to keep down the cost of health care are two of his biggest legacies to date, Lambeth said. “He’s not only an advocate for Lynchburg


College, but for private colleges and liberal arts education,” he added. That commitment also shows up in his


role as a member of the board of trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (sacs). Now in his second term, Dr. Garren is a member of the Compliance and Reports Committee and also serves as chair of a number of other committees that


Spring 2011 LC MAGAZINE 27


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