Home mission statement Dr. Melissa Taverner named 19th president of Lyon College

Dr. Melissa Taverner named 19th president of Lyon College


Lyon College’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Friday (February 18) to elect Dr. Melissa Taverner as Lyon College’s 19th President.

Taverner has served as interim president since August 2021, when Dr. Joseph King resigned after making controversial comments about President Donald Trump’s supporters and white supremacists in a national publication.

Since becoming interim president, Taverner has overseen the early stages of a transition to NCAA Division III for Lyon College Athletics. She also worked with the Board of Trustees, as well as faculty and staff, to expand Lyon College’s mission statement to offer selected graduate programs.

“I want to thank the board for this honor,” Taverner said. “I look forward to continuing to strengthen the College’s mission while expanding opportunities for students through our strategic initiatives.

“I have had the pleasure of working with outstanding faculty, staff and students at Lyon during my tenure as Provost, and I am delighted to partner with them in this new role as we work not only to preserve the legacy Lyonnais, but also to ensure the bright future of the College”, she added.

Taverner joined Lyon College in October 2017 as Rector and Dean of Faculty.

Dr. Melissa Taverner.

Prior to joining Lyon, Taverner was an associate professor of biology at Emory & Henry College, a national liberal arts college in Emory, Virginia. From 2016 to 2017, she served as Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. During her 22 years there, she also served as chair of the natural science division, director of assessment, and chair of the biology department.

Taverner earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia, her MSc in Virology from the University of Reading (UK) and her BSc in Biology from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.