Wayne PowellDr. Wayne B. Powell

President of Lenoir-Rhyne University

Dr. Wayne B. Powell has served as President of Lenoir-Rhyne University since December 2002. He originally came to Lenoir-Rhyne in June 2000 as the Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs.

Before that time, he directed the Graduate College at Oklahoma State University from 1992 to 2000. As Dean he was the chief administrator of the institution’s 4,600-student graduate program. From 1980 to 2000, he served as a Professor of Mathematics at Oklahoma State during which time he taught mathematics and conducted research on ordered structures, universal algebra, and abstract language theory.

Dr. Powell received his bachelor’s degree in 1971 from Texas Lutheran University, where he majored in mathematics. He received his master’s degree in 1973 from Texas A&M University, where he majored in mathematics and minored in computer science. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1978 from Tulane University.

Dr. Powell has served on the Boards of Frye Regional Medical Center (past Chair), the South Atlantic Conference (past Chair), the Lutheran Educational Consortium of North American (past Chair), the ELCA President’s Council (past Chair), the Independent Colleges and Universities of North Carolina, the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, Innovate Catawba, the Catawba Science Center, Project Potential, the Hickory Museum of Art, the Champions of Education, and the Catawba Valley Executives Club (past Chair). He is an active member of the Lake Hickory Rotary Club. 

Dr. Powell is a lifelong Lutheran and a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hickory. His wife Joyce volunteers in a number of programs in the community, including the Hickory Choral Society, the Service League, and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. They have three children: Dr. Jennifer Powell is a professor at Gettysburg College working in molecular genetics; Kevin Powell is a software specialist in Des Moines; Dr. Rachel Powell is a medical resident at the University of Michigan hospital system.

During his time as President of LRU, the University’s endowment has risen from $39m to $100m, and the enrollment has risen from 1400 to over 2200.  The University has opened new campuses in Asheville, NC and Columbia, SC and has experienced unprecedented growth.