Joyce Kipps was born in Madison County, Virginia, and raised on the family farm in Aroda, Virginia. Her desire to be an educator brought her to Roanoke College where she majored in education and psychology. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950.
After graduating from Roanoke, Kipps taught the 3rd and 4th grades at Criglersville Elementary School in Criglersville, Virginia. Her goal, however, was to teach high school math, a goal she would later achieve. Kipps continued her education at the University of Virginia and earned her Master's degree in special education in 1970. After receiving her Master's, she taught intermediate and high school special education classes in Madison County and then taught education and math classes at Madison County High School.
Kipps retired after serving forty years as an educator, but her belief in the power of education has continued. Knowing the value of financial aid and how important it is for young people to have help, she established the Joyce R. Kipps '50 Endowed Scholarship which provides scholarships to full-time students attending Roanoke College. In addition, she established the Joyce R. Kipps '50 International Lutheran Scholarship which provides scholarships to full-time international students attending Roanoke College. Along with her classmates, she helped to establish the Class of 1950's Dawson-Bartlett Memorial Scholarship to honor Dr. Charles A. Dawson and Dr. William I. Bartlett '25, two beloved Roanoke College professors.
Besides her generous financial support to help future generations to achieve an education at Roanoke College, Kipps has served as Class Agent for the Class of 1950. She is member of the Society of 1842 and a member of the Roanoke College Associates. Kipps also worked with Mawine Diggs '06, a former international Lutheran student from Liberia and past SGA president, to start a Lutheran women's group on campus. For many years, Kipps also served as a volunteer advisor to Church Relations and has financially supported the College's Church Relations Outreach Program.
Kipps is active in Mt. Nebo Lutheran Church in Rochelle, Virginia, where she has taught Sunday school and has served as a member of the choir and the church council. She was president of the Virginia Synod Women's Organization for four years. While serving as president, she assisted in establishing the Virginia Synodical Women's Organization of the ELCA Scholarship.
In the community, Kipps is active in the Woman's Club, Retired Teacher's Organization, DAR, and the Community Concert Board.
Ms. Kipps now lives on the family farm where she grew up.
Joyce R. Kipps received the Roanoke College Medal in 2010.