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Kenneth B. Orr, 1979-1997

Kenneth B. Orr March 15, 1933 -
Kenneth B. Orr
March 15, 1933 –


Kenneth Bradley Orr, a graduate of Duke University, Union Seminary, and the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, came to PC from a position as president of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Orr was inaugurated as the 15th president of Presbyterian College during the college’s Centennial Observance in April of 1980.

During Dr. Orr’s eighteen year tenure, the college curriculum was expanded and the size of the faculty was increased by 25%. The endowment grew from $6 million to $52 million. Ten facilities were built and renovations updated several existing buildings: Grotnes/Barron Dormitories & Brown Commons (1988), Edmunds Recital Hall (1989), Information Gazebo (1992), Harper Center Gallery and Theatre (1992), Mabry Smith Yonce Annex (1994), Harrington-Peachtree (1995), Kemper Lake Sports Medicine Complex (1995), the Townhouses (1997), with renovations to Jacobs Hall (1987), Neville Hall (1988), and Leroy Springs Student Activities Center (1984).

Other milestones during President Orr’s leadership were the establishment of the Quattlebaum Honor Scholarship program, PC’s first recognition in U.S. News & World Report magazine, establishment of the Russell Program to examine the influence of media on American society, the Knight Foundation grant program in applied ethics, and PC’s classification as a Carnegie Foundation Baccalaureate I institution, joining the ranks of the finest liberal arts colleges in the nation.

Orr, Kenneth B pilot

Ken Orr was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force at his graduation from Duke University in 1954. He was called to active duty in February 1955, receiving pilot training at Lubbock, Texas as a jet and multi-engine pilot, as well as an aircraft controller. He left active duty in August 1957, as a first lieutenant and was later promoted to Captain in the Air Force Reserve before resigning his commission in 1967.

Dr. Orr retired in 1997, leaving behind a strong and vital college. In May of 1997, he was presented with the Order of the Palmetto by the state of South Carolina. He now lives in North Carolina.

Dr. Thomas Joseph Reeves, PC Class of 1957, served as interim president during the fall semester of 1997.   He is the President Emeritus of Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska, a member of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities. Dr. Reeves lives in South Carolina.