Lyon College: Wikis


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Lyon College is an independent, residential, co-educational, undergraduate liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Founded in 1872, it is the oldest independent college in Arkansas. Lyon is a close-knit teaching and learning community distinguished by the quality of its academic programs as well as its honor system, innovative residential house system, and endowed Nichols International Studies program. US News and World Report ranks Lyon in the top tier in the category of national liberal arts colleges[1]. The College also ranks number 15 on US News and World Report’s list of “Best Colleges, Best Values,”[2] in the top 3 percent of’s list of colleges nationwide[3], and as a “Best Southeastern College” by the Princeton Review[4].

Lyon College
Motto Perseverantia Omnia Vincent Deo Volente -- Perseverance Conquers All, God Willing.
Established 1872
Type Private
President Dr. Donald Weatherman
Faculty 42
Students approx. 600
Location Batesville, Arkansas
Campus 136 acres (0.55 km2)
(City of Batesville, Independence County, Arkansas)
Religious Affiliation Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Sports Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Volleyball
Colors White and Red
Mascot Scots



A strong liberal arts college, Lyon offers degrees in a variety of disciplines and provides an unusually strong science and mathematics program. Many Lyon students are enrolled in pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, pre-veterinary, and pre-physical therapy tracks.

Lyon confers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees.

Bachelor of Arts Bachelor of Science
Art Accounting
Biology Biochemistry
Chemistry Biology
Business Administration Early Childhood/Elementary Education
Economics Chemistry
English Individualized Majors
Political Science
Religion and Philosophy
Individualized Majors


Lyon's faculty members are talented teacher-scholars who excel in the classroom, in their research programs, and as academic advisors. The vast majority of Lyon classes are taught by full-time faculty members, and more than 90% of Lyon faculty have their terminal degrees (Ph.D. or M.F.A). In a record unmatched by another college in the nation, Lyon boasts 14 out of the last 20 Carnegie/CASE Arkansas Professors of the Year. With an average class size of 14 and a student-teacher ratio of 10:1, Lyon students have unparalleled access to faculty members, many often building lifelong friendships with their professors.

Students and Student Life

Lyon enrolls approximately 500 students from 21 states and 14 countries. The middle 50% of entering freshmen score between 22 and 27 on the ACT, while 72% rank in the top quartile of their high school graduating classes. In the fall of 2009, Lyon enrolled the largest entering class in the school's history with more than 290 new students.

Student activities include more than 40 student clubs and organizations; five national Greek organizations; an active Campus Ministry Program; a regulation Disc Golf Course; ready access to some of the nations best camping, canoeing, caving, and hiking locations; and a distinctive Scottish Heritage program.

Clubs and Organizations

Campus and Facilities

Lyon's picturesque 136-acre (0.55 km2) campus is conveniently located in a secure and comfortable neighborhood setting. The campus features modern and attractive facilities such as the state-of-the-art Derby Center for Science and Mathematics, the black-box Holloway Theatre, and the Lyon Business and Economics Building (modeled after Harvard Business School facilities).

Nine student residence halls are clustered into the three "Houses" that make up the College's residential house system. Academic buildings and all residence halls have digital key card access for additional security. The Mabee-Simpson Library contains more than 200,000 media items and provides access to more than 20,000 periodicals.

Recreational facilities include a regulation soccer field, six lighted tennis courts, the Becknell Gymnasium (featuring a fitness center and an indoor swimming pool), the Scots Baseball Field, the Kelley Indoor Baseball Complex, a new women's softball field, a sand volleyball court, an 18 hole disc golf course, and an intramural field.

Bryan Lake, located on the southern portion of the campus, features a walking path and flowering trees.

Information Services and Technology

Wireless internet is available campus-wide. All campus residence halls have cable TV connections.

Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Costs

Lyon offers an extensive program of merit-based scholarships that cover up to the direct cost of attendance. Athletic grants-in-aid are also available as are federal and state need-based and merit-based financial aid programs. More than 98% of Lyon students receive some form of financial assistance.


Lyon's athletic teams, the Scots (men) and Pipers (women) compete in the TranSouth Athletic Conference, and Lyon is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The College also fields an extensive intramural program.




When Batesville lost to Fayetteville in the bid for the state university in November 1871, Reverend Isaac J. Long and other ministers in the Arkansas Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the United States led the effort to establish a denominational college there. Located on the eastern edge of town, Arkansas College opened its doors in September 1872 with Long as president and only one other college-level faculty member. Typical of nineteenth-century denominational institutions, Arkansas College maintained a grammar school (which was phased out in the 1890s) and a secondary academy (discontinued in the 1920s), and featured a curriculum heavy on mathematics, the classical languages (Latin and Greek), and religious instruction.

Originally located on the block now occupied by the First Presbyterian Church of Batesville, the college remained under the guidance of the Long family for most of its first four decades; Isaac J. Long served as president from the college’s founding until his death in 1891, and his son, Eugene R. Long, served two terms as president (1891–1895 and 1897–1913). The college was, from its inception, nonsectarian in philosophy and coeducational. Arkansas College’s first class of graduates in 1876 included three young women who became the state’s first females to receive bachelor’s degrees.

The lack of access to secondary education in north central Arkansas and the state’s meager Presbyterian population kept Arkansas College small. Before World War I, college-level enrollment rarely exceeded 100, and there were no more than five full-time faculty, including the president. A post-war boom expanded enrollment to 200 students by the mid-1920s, however, and the college, whose tiny four-building campus had been surrounded by residences, looked to expand its physical plant by purchasing land in the East End Heights section of town, known after the college’s move as the “middle campus.” The post–World War I decade also witnessed modernization of the curriculum, including a nearly wholesale abandonment of the traditional classical curriculum, the adoption of semester “hours” and electives, and the introduction of fraternities and sororities, which quickly replaced the literary societies that had played an integral role in student life since the 1880s.

But the boom years of the 1920s faded quickly. The school’s first large fundraising drive because of the flood of 1927, and Arkansas and Arkansas College sank into depression. By the early 1930s, the very survival of the college was in jeopardy; on two occasions the Synod of Arkansas came within a few votes of closing the school. Only the tireless efforts of a group of Batesville supporters and alumni prevented the Synod’s ax from falling, and only the timely generosity of a few Arkansas Presbyterian families sustained the school through the Depression.

World War II decimated the institution’s already small enrollment—the class of 1944 consisted of only two students—but Arkansas College received a new lease on life after the war as GIs filled classrooms into the early 1950s. In 1952, Dr. Paul M. McCain succeeded Reverend John D. Spragins as president of the college. The arrival of McCain, the first Arkansas College president with a university-earned Ph.D., marked a new era in the institution’s history, and his subsequent seventeen-year tenure witnessed a constant stream of change and progress.

1950 - present

The first and most obvious change was the move to a new campus. By the early 1950s, the college was, in effect, maintaining three small campuses spread over a one-mile (1.6 km) stretch—the original block that contained all academic facilities; the “middle campus” consisting of a dormitory, gymnasium, baseball field, and a couple of college-owned residences; and the old Masonic Home for Orphans on the eastern edge of town, a 100-acre (0.40 km2) plot with three large brick buildings that the college had begun renting as dormitories shortly after World War II. Looking to consolidate the small college’s far-flung activities and provide room for future growth, McCain oversaw the move to the Masonic home property, site of the current campus. The next decade and a half witnessed a frenzy of activity at Arkansas College—accreditation by the North Central Association in 1959, steady physical expansion during the 1960s, and demographic alteration of the student body through desegregation and heavy recruitment in the northeastern United States, where baby boomers threatened to overcrowd college classrooms in their own region.

The 1970s and 1980s brought further change as president Dan C. West oversaw the implementation of significant curricular reforms (including the adoption of a new core curriculum and the addition of many new non-traditional majors), the introduction of innovative fundraising techniques (including the creation of the college’s own for-profit development corporation), the establishment of an international studies program funded by a gift from former board of trustees president Shuford Nichols, and the development of the Scottish heritage program, which had come to be a defining symbol of the college by the twenty-first century. The bequest of more than $14 million by Jean Brown of Hot Springs in 1981—at the time the largest single gift to an institution of higher learning in Arkansas history—launched a drive that catapulted the college into the ranks of the nation’s best-endowed small colleges by the mid-1980s and paved the way for a dramatic expansion of scholarship funds and endowed faculty positions.

In the 1990s, president John V. Griffith utilized this momentum to place the college on the path to distinction while returning it to its more purely liberal arts roots. Among the innovations and changes of the decade were the implementation of an honor system and the development of a residential “house system.” In 1994, the board of trustees voted to change the name of Arkansas College to Lyon College, in honor of the half-century of service and support of former board president Frank Lyon Sr. of Little Rock.

Dr. Walter Roettger served as president from 1998 to 2009. Roettger, a political scientist who had been Dean of the the Faculty and Vice President of Westminster College in Fulton, MO, was the first president to have earned tenure as a faculty member at a college. Under his leadership, Lyon grew to nearly 600 full-time students in fall 2009 from about 400 students in fall 1998, developed strategic plans in 2000 and 2005, strengthened ties to the community and state, secured reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2002, added five major programs of study, completed a $90 million comprehensive campaign in 2000 and launched a $30 million campaign in 2005, completed several building projects including the Derby Center for Mathemtics and Science, and earned recognition as a "top tier" national liberal arts college from USN&WR. During Roettger's eleven years, 9 Lyon faculty were named Arkansas Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement and Support of Education. Upon Roettger's retirement in July 2009, the Board of Trustees named him the College's first "President Emeritus."

Dr. Donald Weatherman, a former Lyon faculty member and vice president for academic affairs, at Erskine College in South Carolina, assumed the presidency in July 2009.

External links


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