The Lyon College Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday (Feb. 18) to elect Dr. Melissa Taverner as the 19th president of Lyon College.
Taverner has been serving as interim president since August 2021 when Dr. Joseph King resigned after making controversial comments about President Donald Trump supporters and white supremacists in a national publication.
Since becoming interim president, Taverner has overseen the initial steps of a transition to NCAA Division III for Lyon College Athletics. She has also worked with the board of trustees, as well as faculty and staff, to expand Lyon College’s mission statement to offer select graduate programs.
“I want to thank the board of trustees for this honor,” Taverner said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to strengthen the College’s mission while expanding opportunities for students through our strategic initiatives.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with exceptional faculty, staff and students at Lyon during my time as Provost, and I’m excited to collaborate with them in this new role as we work toward not only preserving the Lyon legacy but also ensuring the College’s bright future,” she added.
Taverner joined Lyon College in October 2017 as provost and Dean of Faculty.
Before joining Lyon, Taverner was an Associate Professor of Biology at Emory & Henry College, a national liberal arts college located in Emory, Virginia. From 2016 to 2017, she served as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. In her 22 years there, she also served as Chair of the Division of Natural Sciences, Director of Assessment, and Chair of the Department of Biology.
Taverner received her Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia, her Master of Science in virology from the University of Reading (United Kingdom), and her B.A. in Biology from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.