Lyon College to offer ROTC Program in fall 2019

On Wednesday, February 13, Lyon College and the Arkansas State University (ASU) Department of Military Science and Leadership signed a memorandum of agreement declaring Lyon as an affiliate unit of the ASU ROTC program. Starting in fall 2019, Lyon students will be able to take ROTC courses led by the ASU ROTC Cadre for Lyon College class credit. The College will also offer a military science concentration.

The Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) provides leadership training which can lead to professional success as a civilian or, if a student decides to contract with the military, commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard upon graduation.

As part of the memorandum of agreement, ASU ROTC supports Lyon’s program by providing Cadre support, meaning ROTC instructors from ASU’s program will travel to Lyon to train and instruct students. Courses will be once a week lasting approximately 50 minutes. ASU ROTC will also provide uniforms, equipment, and textbooks to students at no charge.

“We are very excited to begin teaching military science classes and offering commissions to Lyon College students, as they will immediately and undoubtedly bring impressive academic achievements and high ethical and moral character to our total Army team,” said ASU Professor of Military Science Lieutenant Colonel Brian L. Mason. “Support of Lyon College and the entire community for a senior ROTC program on this campus has been enthusiastic and inspirational for me and my team. We are ready to teach, coach, mentor, guide and lead Lyon College students who want to pursue a career in the Army, Army National Guard or Army Reserve.”

Lyon will support the program by providing classroom space, access to materials needed for instruction, access to physical fitness facilities and equipment in case of inclement weather, the use of the college campus for training, and establishment of ROTC courses with Lyon’s Registrar.

By participating in ROTC, Lyon students will gain leadership skills and experience. Students can enroll in basic courses without contracting military service obligation. The ROTC curriculum for freshmen and sophomores consists of four basic courses, one taken each semester. There are four more courses available for juniors and seniors, contingent upon contracting. Students who contract are ROTC cadets, and they can receive scholarships covering full tuition or room and board as well as a monthly stipend. The ROTC curriculum will also include summer training for cadets.

Students may decide if they want to contract with the U.S. Army as soon as they start the program. In order to contract, students must undergo extensive counseling provided by the ROTC Cadre, to determine if committing to service is the right decision.

“We can begin offering contract and scholarship opportunities for those who qualify as early as the start of school this fall,” said Mason. “Students and prospective students who would like more information or who wish to begin this process, can do so by contacting our enrollment and scholarships officer, Mr. David Hastings at 870-972-2064 or” 

Interested students can also contact Captain Chance C. Hall, one of the instructors responsible for instructing Lyon students, at

When asked about the benefits of adding ROTC to Lyon’s campus, Lyon College Provost Dr. Melissa Taverner shared that ROTC will not only support Lyon’s mission of academic excellence but also offer an opportunity to receive a liberal arts education to those that otherwise would not have the option.

“We are providing a way to develop leaders that the country needs, that are highly educated and thoughtful persons who can make good decisions for themselves, their charges, and their country,” said Taverner. “The main thing is that we see this as a way to help our students see a four-year private liberal arts education as a way forward.”

Lyon College joins the ASU ROTC program’s three other affiliate units: Harding University, ASU Beebe, and Williams Baptist College.

Lyon College art student receives STEM grant for caving photography

Earlier in January, Lyon College senior art student Nichole Cook, ‘19, applied for a STEM Minority grant from the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium (ASGC), and her proposal was granted.

Under the advisement of biology professor and Cavers of the Batesville Region of Arkansas (COBRA) Grotto president, Dr. David Thomas, Cook will document Thomas’s caving research team in local Ozark caves. In order to photograph in caves, Cook needed appropriate camera and lighting equipment, which the STEM Minority grant helped to provide.

“I never would have imagined applying for a NASA-related grant,” Cook explained in her proposal to the ASGC. “However, I now believe that my artistic perspective of caving appeals to NASA’s vision to ‘reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.’ I hope to document cave life and the research my team is doing to expand our understanding of life not only on Earth, but throughout the cosmos.”

Person wearing protective clothing inspects a cave with a flashlight.
Photo by Dr. David Thomas

But how did an art and English double major develop an interest in speleology, the study and exploration of caves?

“I put off taking my lab science credit until the fall of my senior year, and landed myself in BIO 110 with Dr. Thomas,” said Cook. “He mentioned in class one day that beginners were welcome to come on an upcoming caving trip, and on a whim I decided to try it. When I first set foot in Coon Creek Cave, I was shocked at the beauty of the actinobacteria-coated walls and ceiling of the cave. The reflected light of my headlamp made them look like stars in a dark sky. I was hooked from that first cave, and every chance I got I went out with his speleology class.”

Thomas took note of Cook’s interest in caving and photography and encouraged her to apply for the grant.

“I knew that she had an interest in photography and was looking for something to do for her senior [art] project,” said Thomas. “I found out that there were student STEM Minority grants still available at the December ASGC meeting and suggested to Nichole that she should apply for one. The proposal was enthusiastically received by the ASGC board.”

When Cook and Thomas found out her proposal was granted, they said they were both pleased.

“I was very proud and satisfied that she received it,” said Thomas. “She spent a lot of effort on her proposal and application. Most of these grants go to students in STEM majors. She was able to tie in the art of photography to the sciences of speleology and astrobiology.”

Cook said, “Frankly, I was astonished that I actually got it. I was just really happy and extremely excited at the opportunity to further my skill and experience with these two things that I love and share it with both STEM and liberal arts audiences.”

Cook will also use her photography for her art senior thesis project, among her other interests.

“I’ve since used my caving experience in my poetry, art, and I am now excited to be working with Dr. Thomas and the research team and presenting at the STEM conference in April.”

Cook will present at ASGC’s annual symposium on April 19.

Lyon College biology major named one of the top programs in Arkansas

Recently, Zippia ranked Lyon College’s biology major as number two out of seven programs in the state. According to Zippia, the rank was determined by career results and school performance. This rank follows Zippia’s study showing that Lyon College produces the highest earning graduates in Arkansas.

When asked about what makes the biology program at Lyon unique, biology faculty emphasized the College’s health coaching program and faculty mentoring.

“Our health coaching program provides our pre-professional students with intensive preparation and experience working directly with chronically ill patients,” said Assistant Professor of Biology Allyn Dodd, ‘07. “However, the characteristic that makes our biology program so special is the individualized attention we give our students.  We work diligently and collaboratively with one another to support each


on his or her unique path.”

“Our best asset is our faculty,” said W.D. Bryan Professor of Biology David Thomas. “Nothing can make up for quality teaching and mentoring.”

Another benefit Lyon’s biology program offers student is hands-on experience, from research opportunities to specialized projects.

“Our faculty members seize every opportunity to offer students research and laboratory experience that provides transferable skills that our students can utilize after Lyon, regardless of whether they pursue professional school, graduate school, or directly enter the workforce,” said Dodd.

“From basic lab methods in Principles of Biology to field work in Speleology to individual projects in Microbiology, my students learn real-world applications from the very start,” added Thomas.

As for career results, institutional research recently found that Lyon had an 87% medical school acceptance rate, which is more than double the national average for colleges. Also, 98% of Lyon graduates are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation. 

For the full list of the seven schools in Arkansas that made the ranks, visit

Lyon College students pitch their entrepreneurial ideas

A post-grad baseball program, a golf club warmer and a hemp farming operation were among the ideas pitched by entrepreneurship students Tuesday, December 10, in an Enactus business pitch competition.

Eight teams presented their ideas to an audience that included Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Parks Director Jeff Owens, area business owners and other students.

Dr. Angela Buchanan, assistant professor of business and economics, is the Enactus chapter adviser.

The competition called “Pitch Slap” was the final presentation for Buchanan’s entrepreneurship class. Enactus hosted the event to serve as a model for future pitch competitions that would be open possibly to entrepreneurs in the Batesville area. If nothing else, the entrepreneurship class will present business pitches next fall as the final class project. Jake Wilson served as host for the evening. Demio Enterprises and Shadrach’s Coffee were the top pitches.

Among the ideas pitched were:

• Post-Grad Baseball – Ryan Lewis, Rease Kinley, Mekhi Malvo-McFall and Kylan Barnett explained that the program would provide a second chance for high school baseball players to continue the sport without losing a year of eligibility. They said that of the thousands of high school baseball players, only 11.5 percent go on to play ball at the college level.

Based in Scottsdale, Ariz., the one-year program would allow recent high school graduates to continue to hone their skills before they begin their college careers. They said there would be five competitors in the U.S., but that Post-Grad Baseball would be $4,000 less expensive than the competition. The business would be financed by a bank loan that would be paid back by tuition and fees charged the participants.

• Stiff Stix – Mitch Cannon and Tomas Mariscotti, both members of the Lyon golf team, pitched the idea of a battery-powered golf grip warmer. The device, similar to a heating pad, would be wrapped around the club and fastened in place by Velcro. This would keep the grip warm for golfers in colder climates. There are 60 million golfers in the world, and there would be no direct competition. Cannon, the owner, said the business would be based in Jonesboro. The device would cost $13.50 per unit and he estimated sales of 60,000 units in the first year. The first step would be having a prototype designed and built.

• J.P.T. Hemp Farming – Tyler Vanlandingham, Peyton Noland, Joseph Mahe and Josh Sierra proposed a private farm operation in northern Arkansas to grow hemp. Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant that is grown specifically for its industrial uses. One of the fastest growing plants, it can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, rope and animal feed.

The Arkansas Legislature legalized the growing of hemp in 2017 but licenses must be obtained from the state Plant Board. Once they obtain a license, J.P.T. would lease land and equipment for the farming operation. It would be financed by a $400,000 bank loan.

• Demio Enterprises – Pitched by Josh Settimio, Josh Abel and Jake Wilson, Demio Enterprises is a marketing and consulting enterprise that would offer web design, branding and large and small event planning. In their presentation, they described Batesville as both historic and progressive. They want to become a liaison to Impact Independence, the strategic planning initiative. They also want to help establish an entrepreneur incubator program.

• NLine, LLC – Zac Lilly, Sam Taylor, Jacob Reithemeyer presented an idea for an application that would use contractors to wait in line for customers who use the app. There are similar companies but they are located in New York City and Los Angeles and do not market in most of the country. Not only would the app connect customers with those who would stand in line for them, it also would have a “marketplace” feature showing customers new release dates, prices and deals. It also would have an NLine Guard feature that would connect customers with contractors who would serve as bodyguards and security guards.

• JAB Entertainment – Andrew Hyde, Bruce Whitehead, John Bentley pitched the idea of bar and restaurant that would offer various entertainment activities similar to Dave and Buster’s. It would have an arcade, billiards, mini-golf and other activities. The proposed location would be in Independence Square between JC Penney Co. and Harbor Freight. The competition would be movie theaters, bowling alley, and the Batesville Community Center. The estimated start-up cost is $500,000 to $2 million. Estimated revenue is $40,000 a month.

• Shadrachs Coffee Roasting Co. – Zac Stewart, Clark Thornton, Dennis Maxwell proposed opening a branch of the coffee roasting and sales company located in Jonesboro. Stewart described the proposed location as a small structure similar to a food truck that would be on Myers Street behind Colton’s.Steak House.

• AMF Bowling – Presented by Hannah Stucky, Karina Chavez, Destiny Nunez and Lilly Lopez.

Enactus is an international organization that connects students with academic and business leaders through entrepreneurial-based projects. Guided by academic advisers and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement entrepreneurial projects. The experience helps students develop the talent and perspective that are essential to leadership in a challenging world.

Lyon College Announces Addition of Men’s Lacrosse, Monty Curtis Named Head Coach

Lyon College President Dr. W. Joseph King announced the addition of men’s lacrosse and introduced the team’s new head coach, Monty Curtis, at a press conference Thursday, December 6.

The College will apply for membership in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA), a league of eight college lacrosse conferences. Lyon will petition to join the MCLA’s Lone Star Alliance (LSA), which consists of teams in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. The team would start competing in 2021 with potential for NAIA affiliation in the future.

The sport’s new coach, Curtis, has more than two decades of experience in coaching lacrosse, and has helped to move a college team to national affiliation before. Curtis, a charter member of the Southwestern University lacrosse team, was a player, coach, and faculty adviser for the program in Georgetown, Texas. He coached the team to its first win, as well as its first Southwest Lacrosse Association (SWLA) Championship. The SWLA was the precursor to the LSA Conference. Curtis also served as league president during his tenure with the Southwest Lacrosse Association. Curtis left Southwestern with a 70-56 record.

Curtis went on to take over the only National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) lacrosse team in Louisiana at Centenary College in Shreveport. He was coach when the team had its first win.

“I am humbled to have this opportunity to introduce lacrosse to the Lyon community,” said Curtis. “What we build has the chance to last and positively impact real lives and the reputation of the sport and the College.”

Curtis said a few factors he will focus on for developing the program will be recruiting, fundamentals, and game strategies.

“A player who spends time practicing the fundamentals will see their efforts rewarded quickly; their success is not necessarily dependent on their physical stature,” he said.

According to, lacrosse is one of the fastest growing team sports in the country. With more than 60,000 competitors in the United States, the number of players has doubled since the late 1990s, early 2000s.

Today, lacrosse is found nationwide. Over 400 schools compete at the NCAA level, 32 at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level, and more than 200 colleges and universities offer men’s club teams. Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) is the primary association for men’s club teams. The MCLA has eligibility rules and All-American selections, much like that of the NAIA and NCAA.

Hutchison named new vice president of advancement at Lyon College

David Hutchison has been announced as the new vice president for advancement at Lyon College. He will start January 10, 2019.

David Hutchinson

In his new role, Hutchison will be responsible for increasing advancement efforts, assessing the need for program and organizational adjustments, and implementing projects of improvement. This is an exciting time for the College as it institutes its goals of the four year strategic plan, which Hutchison will partner with President Joey King to accomplish.

“We are delighted to have David joining the leadership team,” said King. “We had a strong pool of advancement professionals, but David impressed us with his variety of experience, energy, and dedication to our liberal arts mission.”

As the executive director of advancement and alumni programs at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri, he successfully executed a $20 million capital campaign, added $4 million to the university’s endowment, oversaw the major gifts program, and managed several alumni engagement initiatives.

Hutchison also served on the executive board for the Fayette Main Street Association, where he fundraised for economic and community development projects.

“I am extremely excited to be joining Lyon College at a time of great transformation,” said Hutchison. “I look forward to working with President King, as well as the board, faculty, and staff, and most importantly with alumni and friends of Lyon College to move forward with the College’s strategic vision.”

Before his time in advancement, Hutchison was a pastor for the Central Methodist University campus. Besides leading a congregation, he oversaw collaborative programs between the church and the campus community. His time in church leadership prepared him for his roles in engagement.

“I learned that leading people to support a mission begins with developing committed, authentic relationships,” said Hutchison. “The work of college advancement is no different, and I am eager to begin developing relationships, connecting the passions of our community and alumni and friends with the mission and vision of Lyon College.”

Hutchison expects to receive his Doctor of Education in higher education leadership and policy from the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University this May. He also has a Master of Divinity from Saint Paul School of Theology and a Bachelor of Arts in history and religion from Central Methodist University.

“As a product of a liberal arts education at a small, private Christian college myself, I know well and am deeply invested in the kind of personalized, life-changing education that Lyon College provides,” said Hutchison. “What a gift to be a part of helping make that happen at what is both the most exciting and most important time in young people’s lives.”

Lyon students succeed at Model UN Conference

Earlier this month, eight students from Lyon’s Model United Nations (UN) group attended the eighth annual Arkansas Collegiate Model United Nations (ACMUN) conference at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

Serving on four different committees, the students represented the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Cuba. They finished the day with David Lewis, ’20, winning the outstanding delegate award.

Model UN conferences allow students to role play as delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees. Students learn about real politics for the countries they represent and practice cooperating with other nations to resolve international conflicts.

This was the group’s first time to attend the conference, and Model UN faculty advisor Dr. Jaeyun Sung was pleased with the results.

“Our students played their roles firmly even though it was their first experience,” said Sung. “They didn’t hesitate to explore different perspectives and were actively engaged in negotiations. I see that they are ready to take the next step.”

According to Sung, the next step will mean more conference opportunities in the future. The team will now commit to attend the ACMUN every year and plan new tactics for the competition.

Lyon College Radio is Live

On Monday, October 8, students, faculty, and staff gathered to celebrate the launch of the new Lyon College radio station, KILT. Those attending enjoyed pizza and refreshments as they discussed the success of current shows on the station as well as plans for new ones.

Lyon’s Director of Institutional Research Andrew English played his guitar live on the air during the event.

Junior Miguel Hernandez is thrilled that Lyon has started a radio station. He has plans of participating in a show called “Sad Boi Hour” that will be airing on Wednesdays and Fridays from 7-8 p.m.

“I think it’s really neat that we finally have a radio platform,” said junior Navy Griffin. “I am really excited about it! I think that it’s a great way to have our students’ voices be heard.”

KILT’s faculty advisor, Dr. Radek Szulga, is pleased with all the interest the campus community has shown in KILT so far.

“We have eleven shows right now,” said Szulga. “Some are live, and some are pre-recorded, and everyone is super enthusiastic. We’re having a lot of fun.”

KILT is an online radio station, so anyone anywhere can listen. Check out KILT at For more information, contact Szulga at

Four New Programs Come to Lyon College

Competitions, community service, and creativity will characterize four new engaging options for Lyon College students. These programs align with Lyon’s mission—fostering critical, creative thought, service, ethical growth, and lifelong learning. Each program will also provide scholarship opportunities.


Enactus encourages students to adopt integrity, innovation, collaboration, and passion as values for life, helping students develop “a head for business and a heart for the world.”

Faculty sponsor Dr. Angela Buchanan says, “Enactus builds critical leadership and business skills by putting classroom theory into entrepreneurial action. The focus is social entrepreneurship, empowering community members to improve their lives through sustainable real world solutions.”

Any student with an entrepreneurial spirit will be able to join Enactus. Members will form teams that participate in needs assessment and data collection for community impact projects that might support such things as women’s economic empowerment, food availability, clean water supplies, or increased entrepreneurship. Students will connect with business leaders and compete for regional, national, and international titles.

The College’s chapter currently plans an internship workshop for employers in the Batesville area and the return of the pitch competition for budding entrepreneurs in the community, which will expand to include high school students. For more information, contact Dr. Angela Buchanan at

Rock Climbing

A new climbing club will allow students to enter climbing competitions through USA Climbing: Collegiate, an organization that sponsors competitions in bouldering, sport climbing, and speed climbing for students currently enrolled at a college or university.

Bouldering is performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls, without the use of ropes or harnesses. Most climbers still use climbing shoes to help secure footholds, chalk to keep their hands dry and provide a firmer grip, and bouldering mats to prevent injuries from falls. Sport climbing is a form of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock. In contrast, traditional climbers must place removable protection as they climb. Speed climbing is done on rocks, walls and poles. Competition speed climbing, which takes place on an artificial standardized climbing wall, is the main form. For more information, contact Dr. Rodney Griffin at


eSports is a form of competition using mostly multiplayer video games. Millions worldwide now watch eSports on online streaming media platforms. The majority of viewers are between the ages of 18 and 34. Companies like Nintendo now sponsor tournaments which may last more than a month. Lyon eSports teams will hold on-campus tournaments and also participate in regional competitions.

While training for athletes in traditional sports is based almost entirely on honing their physical prowess, emphasizing strength, agility, endurance, and muscle memory, eSports athletes’ training relies much more on training the mind by studying strategies and new updates in their chosen games. For more information, contact Tommy Newton at and Dr. Rodney Griffin at

Lyon College Radio

With the call letters KILT, Lyon College Radio launches in fall 2018 in a sound-proofed room to support live broadcasts of solo or small band performances. Because KILT will be an online radio station, anyone in the United States can listen in.

Students will program, produce, and market the station with guidance from faculty sponsor Dr. Radek Szulga. Students will decide how KILT will mix music with talk/news/features and sports. A regular rotation of current “college music” will be available alongside dedicated genre shows, featuring categories like gospel, bluegrass, reggae, classical, and more. Exact coverage will depend on student interest.

Szulga says, “We hope to be on air 24 hours although a good part—especially overnight—will be automated. We also very much want to focus on service to both the community and campus.” KILT will offer weekly features on campus organizations and events, producing spots and advertisements for bigger events.

Szulga also plans to involve the community by featuring local musicians, artists, and businesses. Some possibilities are a “what’s happening downtown” show as well as a buy/sell program that will take call-ins from people seeking or selling particular items. He will be contacting individuals in the community and town organizations to gather ideas and expects this kind of programming to enhance Lyon’s connection with Batesville and the surrounding area. For more information, contact Dr. Radek Szulga at

These four new programs are joining Lyon’s programs added last year, archery, shooting, dance and cheer, disc golf, and cycling. For more information about archery, contact Dr. Rodney Griffin at, and for shooting, please contact Dalton Lamons at For dance and cheer, contact Kristen McMullin at For disc golf, contact Austin Smith at And for cycling, contact Dr. Rodney Griffin at

Lyon College Joins Disc Golf Association

This year, the Lyon College Disc Golf Club will compete in college matches as part of its joining the Southern Collegiate Disc Golf Association (SCDGA). The club has grown into a team of eight members, with Andrew Hyde, ’19, as the team captain.

Disc golf is part of the Lyon Education Adventure Program (LEAP)’s activities. Disc golf has become popular enough on campus that LEAP is needing to purchase more disc golf rental sets for students.

Director of Outdoor Education and Recreation Austin Smith is excited Lyon’s disc golf club will compete at the collegiate level and notes that the disc golf club has helped with disc golf’s popularity on campus.

“The club has promoted a disc golf culture on campus, and we have seen a huge growth in the number of students playing disc golf,” said Smith. “LEAP’s mission is to provide opportunities for students to have fun, learn, grow, and develop outdoor skills, increased leadership, and an appreciation for the environment. Through the creation of the Club and disc golf culture on campus our disc rentals and student participation have been much higher than past years.”

View the SCDGA schedule here.