Kenneth Garren, Lucy Weiss receive Roanoke College Medal

Salem - Roanoke College will honor two alumni this Friday, April 11 for their outstanding contributions to the college and their professional accomplishments.

Dr. Kenneth R. Garren '62 of Lynchburg and Dr. Lucy Cline Weiss '72 of Roanoke are this year's recipients of the Roanoke College Medal. This medal, the highest honor given to alumni of the College, recognizes Roanoke graduates who have demonstrated leadership, intellectual integrity and a dedication to serving their communities.

Garren and Weiss will receive their medals during the annual Society of 1842 luncheon as part of Roanoke's Alumni Weekend festivities.

Garren was born in Augusta, Ga., and he was one of the first in his family to attend college.

While at Roanoke, Garren was a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and the track team.

After graduating, Garren landed a job at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he worked on the manual abort launch of Apollo. He worked alongside astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Garren later earned his master's degree in mathematics at William & Mary and a doctorate at Virginia Tech.

Garren returned to Roanoke as a mathematics professor, and eventually became a vice president and dean of the College. He also started the College's math national honor society, Pi Mu Epsilon.

After working at Roanoke for 34 years, Garren became president of Lynchburg College in 2001.  

Since Garren has worked at Lynchburg, the college's undergraduate enrollment has increased by 32 percent. Graduate program enrollment has grown 169 percent.

Garren is rarely behind his desk. He spends most of his time engaging with students on his campus. His impact with the students led Lynchburg College to be recognized as one of eight institutions in the country for strong student engagement by the Spencer Foundation.

Garren's three children also graduated from Roanoke College. Dr. David Garren is a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, Dr. Steven Garren is a professor at James Madison University, and Dr. Kristine Snow is a guidance counselor at Salem High School.

Weiss was born in Salem, and she attended Andrew Lewis High School, where she discovered her passion for science and decided to pursue pharmacy in college. She graduated from high school as a 16-year-old and attended Roanoke.

While at Roanoke, Weiss was a member of several organizations, including the Chi Omega Sorority, Cardinal Key National Honor Society and the American Chemistry Society.

Weiss, who was valedictorian of her class, graduated from Roanoke with a bachelor's degree in chemistry.

She earned her doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of Virginia, and she completed postdoctoral research in biophysics at Iowa State University.

Weiss taught chemistry as an assistant professor at Carleton College in Minnesota for two years, but eventually she took a job as a patent liaison at 3M, a Minnesota-based company, formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co.

She later attended the William Mitchell College of Law to earn a law degree, and she became an intellectual property and patent attorney at 3M.

Weiss and her husband, Rick, now are retired and live in Roanoke. Weiss hopes to begin a new chapter in her life and become involved in aspects of the arts and mentoring.

Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful, undergraduate setting. Roanoke is one of just seven percent of colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review lists Roanoke as the 18th most beautiful campus in its "Best 376 Colleges" 2012 guidebook.

Follow Roanoke College on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.