Roanoke College

Perry F. Kendig - 1963 to 1975

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Coming to Roanoke as Dean of the College in 1952, Perry Kendig was a logical candidate for the presidency eleven years later. Anticipating increased enrollment in the sixties, Kendig oversaw even more building and renovation than Oberly: Bowman, Marion and the completion of Crawford dormitories and the four fraternity houses, and in the seventies, Antrim Chapel and the three-building science complex. The physical size of the campus doubled (including a new president’s home on Market Street) and more money was raised than ever before. By the seventies enrollment prospects were more bleek, but Kendig and company made concerted efforts to keep numbers from dropping dramatically.

Always the academic, Kendig also understood and advocated the professional activities of the faculty, introducing sabbaticals and supporting research grants. Strengthening the ties between the Lutheran Church and the College, several agreements were made and in 1965 the Office of Church Relations was established.

Kendig skillfully guided the campus through the social activism and changes of the late sixties and early seventies. Integration came peacefully in 1964. Social policies were liberalized: dress codes, cuts policies, and dorm visitation. Students began to participate in college governance like never before, from serving on College committees to attending faculty meetings. The calendar was revised to the 4:1:4, which included the January interterm when many students took classes that traveled. In keeping with the liberal arts tradition, the curriculum was broadened and expanded to allow students choice and flexibility in their courses. When Kendig stepped down in 1975, Roanoke College had changed in many ways from the campus he had inherited a dozen years earlier.