Students interested in pursuing the Lyon College ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) Program can apply for full-tuition scholarships from the Army National Guard this March.
Military science instructor Master Sgt. James Bacon said the scholarships offer many fiscal benefits for students. They can be applied to tuition and fees or room and board and include a $600 book stipend per semester and an ROTC allowance of $420 per month.
“Students can stack this with their other scholarships,” Bacon said. “If there are funds from their other scholarships already being used, that which is left over each semester will go back to the student’s pocket, up to $5,000.”
As a member of the Guard, students will also receive drill pay.
To qualify for the scholarships, students must be U.S. citizens, have a minimum high school GPA of 2.5., have a minimum score of 19 on the ACT or 920 on the SAT, complete the ROTC Basic Course requirements or Basic Combat Training, and be medically and morally qualified.
“Typically, if a Lyon student walks in they’re already reaching 75 percent of what we’re looking for,” Bacon said. “The other 25 percent is the physical fitness aspect.”
The Army Physical Fitness Test consists of a two-mile run, timed push-ups, and timed sit-ups.
“If they can get about 70 push-ups and 70 sit-ups in the two minutes allowed and do the two-mile run in about 15 minutes, then we’re looking pretty good,” he said.
“That puts you in the competitive range. We’ve gotten some scholarships for less than that.”
Bacon said the Army National Guard also considers extracurriculars, like sports and JROTC, when selecting scholarship recipients.
Students who qualify can pursue full-time Army serve, the Army National Guard, or the Army Reserve. They will attend drill one weekend a month.
Bacon added that academics are a top-priority for the cadets, as well as their other college commitments.
He continued, “If a student is on the football team and has a game on Saturday, we do a memorandum here at the school, and they don’t go to drill that weekend.”
While at Lyon, ROTC students will attend military science courses that teach interpersonal communication skills, ethical decision-making, time management, and managerial skills in addition to the tactical aspect.
“Not only will they be learning these approaches, they’ll also be practicing them,” Bacon said. “As they progress through the program, they are charged with more responsibility.”
“By the time they’re seniors, they actually facilitate and run the program with the cadre oversight.”
Students can take the military science courses without committing to the Army, he said, but they will not be eligible for the Army National Guard scholarships.
“This program allows students to understand the Department of Defense better, as well as the worldwide operations that are occurring,” Bacon said. “It’s not just news anymore.”
He encourages students interested in ROTC to research and prepare before the scholarships become available in March.
“It’s a competitive process. The scholarships are very much first come, first served,” Bacon said. “The Army wants to make sure we’re picking the right people to get such an advantageous incentive.”
Lyon College had three students and one graduate apply to dental school this semester, and all four were accepted.
Keifer Hartwig, ’19, of Corning, will attend the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry. Senior Vinston Van, of Batesville, will attend the University of Florida College of Dentistry. Senior Taylor Dale, of Batesville, has been accepted to five dental schools and is still making her decision.
Senior Ayden Henry, of Thayer, Mo., will attend the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry and received the university’s Dental Academic Scholar Award, which is presented to the top students in the incoming dental class.
“When I got the call that I had been accepted, I felt like I was on top of the world,” said Hartwig. “This has been a dream of mine for a while, so finally getting accepted felt amazing.”
Henry said he “couldn’t stop smiling” when he got the news.
“It’s been a stressful couple of months. Knowing that my future was set, and I didn’t have to worry about that anymore made me very happy.”
Van got the call from the University of Florida at 6 a.m.
“I was still kind of dazed when they told me,” he said, laughing. “It didn’t sink in until a couple of days later.”
Dale said she felt “excited and overwhelmed” because she has to select which university she will attend by the end of December.
Their professors were equally excited.
“I was thrilled when I heard that all four students were accepted,” said Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Cassia Oliveira. “I wasn’t surprised, though.”
She continued, “All four of them are top students and worked hard during their tenure at Lyon in preparation for the dental school application. It is fulfilling to see our hard work recognized by their own personal success.”
The students credited Lyon’s biology department for preparing them for the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and application process.
“It was hard material, but a lot of it was review because I’ve learned it here,” Dale said. “Lyon taught me the discipline and focus it took to succeed on the test.”
While his biology professors prepared him for graduate level education, Henry said Career Services helped him with communication and interview skills.
“The faculty and staff here prepared me in more ways than I can even explain,” Henry said.
“The professors are always there to motivate you and encourage you to pursue your dreams,” said Hartwig. “I could not have gotten in without the awesome professors at Lyon.”
Associate Professor of History Dr. Mark Wallace was elected to the Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
According to socantscot.org, the organization’s aim is to promote the cultural heritage of Scotland. The oldest antiquarian society in Scotland, it was founded in 1780 and has existed for over 235 years.
“I am honored to be a part of such a prestigious society,” Wallace said.
There are 3,000 Fellows worldwide, the site says, and only about 331 in the United States.
“The preservation of Scotland’s past and the promotion of its history through research and teaching is important,” Wallace said, “and working with like-minded individuals allows me to achieve these passions on an even larger global scale.”
Lyon College’s new Hispanic Students Association joined the roster of student-led campus organizations.
Approved by the Student Government Association on Nov. 22, HSA is focused on providing members with a strong united community in order to ensure appreciation for the richness of Hispanic culture.
“HSA will help Hispanic students on campus make friends and communicate with each other,” said junior Yessenia Escobar, club president. “We will also do outreach in the community and educate other students about Hispanic culture.”
Dean of Campus Life and Diversity Lai-Monté Hunter said HSA is a good organization to have on campus because of the increase in Hispanic students attending Lyon College.
“This club will offer a place for students to convene to learn more about each other’s cultures and to connect with their peers,” he said. “It will also help in our efforts to foster connections between Lyon and the Batesville community.”
“It almost makes me feel more validated on campus,” said junior Raul Gonzalez, club vice president. “HSA will help students create bonds with people who share similar cultural identities.”
Sophomore Sarah Guerrero said the formation of HSA gives her a sense of unity.
“It makes me feel more included at Lyon College,” she said.
A packed crowd gathered at Lyon College to celebrate the newest members of its Athletic Hall of Fame during a banquet and induction ceremony held on Saturday, Nov. 23, in Edwards Commons.
The Lyon College 2019 Class included Aubrey Bell, ’72; John Harvey, ’01; Steven Wright, ’07; and Maribeth (Waters) Richards, ’09; each who had traveled from places near and far to accept the honor.
Arkansas State Representative Stuart Smith, ’82, presided over the event, which included a reception, entertainment, and dinner. Dr. W. Joseph King, president of Lyon College, welcomed the honorees.
“It’s nice because not only do we get to honor the new inductees, but also those that come before them,” King said, adding, “(There’s a) tradition of excellence here at Lyon College.”
Bell expressed his gratitude for his parents, sharecroppers who had a hard life, but instilled in him a “dogged determination” to keep going. He also thanked a fellow athlete who taught him “to do what was right and not just what was popular,” as well as his wife, a cancer survivor and successful businesswoman in her own right.
“Lyon College gave me the tools to use in my business life,” he said. “The things that I learned here, and the friendships that I made, and the ones I have today–I owe that to the college.”
Harvey said he had never heard of Lyon College as a high schooler in Lufkin, Texas, but was struck by a letter he received from the coach, the only handwritten one he got from several that were sent.
He added that Coach Kirk Kelley, former Lyon College Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach (1992-09), provided strength during difficult times and was also instrumental in guiding Harvey during his own 19-year career as a college coach.
“Those years between 18 and 22, especially being seven hours from home, are crucial years for developing habits and figuring out who you are,” Harvey said. “So it certainly helped having a coach like him . . . He’s been such an important man in my life.”
Wright acknowledged the tears his family shed upon first learning of his induction, as he also described the impact of the motto–Improvise, Adapt, Overcome– he first picked up at Lyon College and which has carried him through the years, in good times and bad.
“Remember your training,” he said. “That’s what I learned from that . . . passion was something we practiced daily.”
Wright said that he put everything he had into baseball, training as if his life depended on it. Interestingly, today his current occupation as a counter-terrorism police officer does require him to train as if his life depends upon it, he said.
“This is where I learned how to truly be a leader. Where I went from a young man just training and trying to prepare myself to get through college, into a man who is prepared to get through life.”
The last award was delivered to Richards, who stated her pride at having the opportunity to be inducted with other distinguished members of the 2019 Hall of Fame. Richards said that as a high schooler, her father impressed upon her that “winning doesn’t define success,” and it was a lesson she carried into her first year at the college.
“Not always winning was always hard for me,” she said. Nonetheless, Richards said she learned how to be truly grateful for the gifts of being a collegiate athlete.
“Sometimes we take all the opportunities, but we don’t always realize how lucky we are to be student-athletes,” she said. “Although being a student-athlete is hard, you’ll learn so much and be given opportunities other students aren’t going to receive.”
Richards also pointed to another lesson she learned as a student-athlete: Success is not measured by what is gained, but by that which is left behind.
Today more than half of Lyon College students participate in one of 18 collegiate sports programs, stemming from just four that existed in 1965 when former coach Fred Wann first arrived on campus.
More about the inductees:
Aubrey Bell, ’72, was a member of the Scots baseball team from 1971-72, helping greatly improve their record in just the second year after baseball returned to campus. He served as a team leader and as the everyday centerfielder while he batted .327, the seventh-best mark in the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference. He was also a charter member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Bell graduated with a B.A. in economics and supported Lyon through his business, Charleston Winsupply Company, where he has been president and board chair for 35 years. His company donated the plumbing fixtures and supplies for remodeling all the campus apartments, the new baseball facility, and the new wrestling facility. Bell lives in Charleston, S.C., with his wife, Terri.
John Harvey, ’01, was a four-year starter at second base for the Lyon College baseball team from 1998-01. A career .310 hitter, Harvey ranks eighth in program history for career hits (179). During his senior season, Harvey collected 70 hits, scored 50 runs, and drove in 43. He batted .359 during the 2001 season. He graduated with a B.A. in psychology and began his coaching career as an assistant at Itawamba Community College. He then served as assistant baseball coach at Henderson State University in 2003-04 before being promoted to head coach, ultimately leading the Reddies to three 30-win seasons and a combined total of 20 all-conference honorees. In 2004, he earned a master’s degree in sports administration from HSU. He ranks third all-time at HSU in wins. Harvey became head baseball coach at the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 2010. The UAM Weevils are 257-181, including a 222-129 mark over the last seven seasons with four NCAA regional trips and four consecutive Great American Conference championships. Harvey recorded his 400th overall victory in 2019 and heads into the 2020 season with an overall record of 411-329. He and his wife, Jaime (Bedard) Harvey, ’01, have two sons, Brooks and Brock.
Steven Wright, ’07, was a two-year letter winner for the Lyon College baseball team during the 2005 and 2006 seasons, etching his name in the record book in multiple categories during his playing career. He ranks third all-time for total bases in a single season (143), total hits in a single season (88), first and third for runs scored in a single season (77 and 65) and first in doubles in a single season (27). In 2005, he earned Second Team All-TranSouth honors. In 2006, he earned NAIA All-American honorable mention as well as First-Team All-Region XI and First-Team All-TransSouth accolades. He was also named a Scholar Athlete at Lyon for maintaining a GPA of 3.0 and higher. Wright graduated with a B.S. in business management and a minor in finance. After graduation, he began an eight-season professional minor league baseball career, during which he was named team captain three times and twice named to the All-League team. He remained active in teaching and coaching baseball during his off seasons. After retiring from baseball, he began a career in law enforcement in Las Vegas, N.V., becoming the lead tactical liaison for his unit, training and teaching law enforcement officers from all over the world in firearms, defensive tactics, and crisis negotiations. Wright is active in his church and community, organizing and running multiple sports camps and clinics for athletes of all ages and coaches.
Maribeth (Waters) Richards, ’09, was a four-year letter winner for the Lyon College women’s basketball team from 2005-09. She ranks sixth all-time in scoring with 1,421 points and third in career rebounds with 718. She was named to the All-Freshman Team in 2005, earned TranSouth Conference Scholar-Athlete honors 2007-09, and was the recipient of the Lyon College Winnie Marable Award for top female athlete in 2009. She graduated from Lyon with a B.A. in English and secondary education and earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Arkansas State University. Her career in education led her to Lake Hamilton School District, where she currently serves as oral communications teacher, junior high basketball coach, and boys/girls tennis coach. While at Lyon, she met her future husband, Garry Richards, ’11, (baseball ’07-11). A member of the Crossgate Church in Hot Springs, she and Garry have two sons, Dawson, 4, and Hayes, 2.
The 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame selection committee included: Chair Larry Rogers; Past Chair Ronnie Brogdon, ’70; Julie Church, ’04; Jasper “Doc” Freeman, ’55; Terry Garner; Jim Haney, ’68; Jim Hansen, ’76; Ryland Kieffer, ’98; Elbert Lindsey, ’76; David Parker, ’74; Jennifer (Walls) Payton, ’98; Peter Smith, ’07; Jim Summers, ’96; Tracy Stewart-Lange, ’86; and Fred Wann, ’59.
The following are ex-officio members of the selection committee: Director of Athletics Kevin Jenkins, ’86; Athletic Administrative Assistant Megan Bryant; and Director of Alumni Engagement Cindy Barber, ’85.
Lyon College’s varsity esports team took first place at the Hendrix Smash Tournament in Conway on Nov. 16.
The tournament featured two versus two matches in the game Rocket League, with the winning team scoring best out of three rounds.
The varsity team of senior Jordan “Jaba” Bright, of Tuckerman, and freshman Eddie “Plasmaburst2” Hunt, of Tulsa, Okla., went on an undefeated streak and captured first place and the trophy. The junior varsity team of junior Odie “Psyra9998” Cauthon, of Russellville, and freshman Wyatt “xXBu1sn3ssXx” Frerichs, of McLoud, Okla., tied for third place.
“I am extremely proud of the teams,” said Coach Austin Lonsert. “They work very hard every single week to improve as players and as teammates.”
“I couldn’t be happier with the students I have gotten to work with in our first year of the program. We look forward to many more first place wins to come! We are going to put in the effort to make sure that happens.”
Lyon College is a private liberal arts college in Arkansas. The oldest college in Arkansas with its original charter, Lyon is located in Batesville, a historic town of 10,000 named by USA Today as the best city to live in the state. Listed among Forbes “Top American colleges,” Lyon currently enrolls almost 700 undergraduate students, and 99 percent of its graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.
Donors got to hear about the impact of their giving
directly from the students at the 2019 Scholarship Awards Celebration on
Nov. 13. The event honored the achievements of over 130 students who
have earned endowed and annual scholarships and the generous
philanthropy of alumni and friends who created the awards.
Melanie Beehler reflected on Lyon’s tradition of
philanthropy, describing how it is instilled in every class of new
students through the annual Service Day.
“Students leave their cozy beds and choose to make a
difference,” she said. “We understand the importance and fulfillment
that helping others can bestow upon ourselves.”
She said donors make that tradition possible through their own commitment to philanthropy.
“You see potential in the future generation,” Beehler said.
“Know that Lyon College would not stand how it is today without those
before us, but also without each of you.”
Jason Smith dreamed of attending Lyon College in high school, but the $40,000 needed for tuition was a barrier for his family.
“With an annual family income floating around $10,000 at
the time… the cost of attending seemed out of reach,” said Jason Smith.
“I was in tears the night before I was supposed to move onto campus
because there was no way to pay for the costs.”
He said the scholarships and financial aid from individuals and institutions allowed him to fulfill his dream of attending Lyon.
“I would be hard-pressed to adequately explain how much scholarship aid has meant in my life personally, but thank you.”
Smith asked that donors continue to support and sponsor
scholarships for the many young adults searching for purpose and meaning
“Your aid is helping them answer those most sincere of
personal callings,” he said. “Myself and all those who have received
your help and support have much that we may never be able to repay.”
“I hope I may someday return this helping hand to another.”
Nelson Barnett, representing the Barnett Family
scholarship, said his family has always had a great deal of affinity for
the College because his parents both graduated from Lyon, then Arkansas
College, and met while they were students.
“Because of their relationship to Arkansas College, they
were very interested in scholarship and in education,” he said. “I want
to congratulate all of you.”
“The fact you’re here means you’re interested in going to a
good school and will be successful when you graduate from Lyon and move
on to your career. Thank you for allowing us to come here and celebrate
The perfect graduate school program can be just down the road, or, in Sarajane Armstrong’s case, just across the ocean.
After graduating from Lyon College with a degree in
elementary education in 2018, Armstrong completed her first year of
teaching and started to look into master’s programs. She was not sure
what she wanted to study.
“When I couldn’t find a major I liked in the states, I decided to search abroad,” she said.
Armstrong finally found the M.Ed. in children’s literature
and literacies at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. The program
appealed to her because her favorite course at Lyon had been children’s
literature, and she had developed a love of traveling on her Nichols Trip to London and Oxford.
“I got my first taste of life abroad, and I was hooked,”
she said, laughing. “It was just a plus that I would end up in the
United Kingdom again.”
Living abroad for graduate school was a stressful decision.
“I am very close with my family and didn’t want to leave
them,” Armstrong said, “but I knew that if I didn’t come here I would
The process required a lot of research and planning to get
everything in order, such as her travel visa and international health
insurance. She received support from her friend Laura Spell, ’17, who
studied abroad at Durham University in England, and Assistant Professor
of Elementary Education Karin Brown.
“They both gave me great advice and encouragement through
my application process. [Brown] always told me I can do anything I set
my mind to.”
The stress was all worth it once she arrived in Glasgow.
“The atmosphere is similar to Lyon,” Armstrong said. “My professors are really nice and always there to answer questions.”
The children’s literature program allows her to set her own
study schedule. There are tasks to complete, but none of the work is
“It gives me a lot of room to focus on learning rather than
worrying about finishing a bunch of graded assignments throughout the
One of her favorite spots on campus is the library of children’s books in the St. Andrew’s Building.
“It’s very hidden away and cozy. There is a wall of windows where you can look out as you read. It’s a pretty magical place!”
Living in a new country has also been exciting for
Armstrong. Going from small towns to the big city of Glasgow was an
adjustment, but the community has been very welcoming.
“The saying here is ‘People make Glasgow.’ It reminds me a
lot of Arkansas in that regard. I haven’t really felt the culture shock
that people talk about.”
She has enjoyed exploring her new home and making friends
from all over the world. The city center has shops with kilts and
bagpipers on the street that remind her of Lyon, and she gets to walk
through the beautiful Kelvingrove Park on her way to class each morning.
“I still haven’t gotten used to it. I hope it never gets old,” she said.
Though she hasn’t decided on a career yet, Armstrong’s
major will allow her to pursue work in education, publishing, or library
She is paying her experience forward by being an e-mentor for her master’s program.
“It’s a platform for students to showcase their lives at
university for people who may be interested in the programs we study.
I’ve created a public Instagram and Twitter, and I post about the books
I’m reading for my course as well as pictures from my travels.”
She advises other students thinking about studying abroad to research programs thoroughly and apply early.
“Don’t wait until you decide that you definitely want to
go,” Armstrong said. “And always reach out to someone who has gone
through the process if you’re unsure of something.”
The new LEAP Scholars program is an application-based
program open to incoming students. It will include a four-year
scholarship that will be awarded to up to four incoming students every
fall. The scholarship will increase throughout the students’ four years
at Lyon, alongside an increase in responsibility within the LEAP
“LEAP is excited to offer this opportunity to students who
are interested in gaining leadership skills while working throughout
their college careers,” said Assistant Director of Outdoor Education and
Recreation Carson Grant.
The scholarship starts at $1,000 and increases by $500
every year a student is in the program alongside the increased
To be eligible for the scholarship, students must complete the LEAP Scholars application, maintain a 2.5 grade point average, and be enrolled in one outdoor learning program course per semester.
The scholarship duties
will include LEAP programming, planning, and leading day trips,
organizing on-campus workshops, and attending the Arkansas Regional
Adventure Programming Conference.
“This program will allow students to gain real world skills
and a respect for the outdoors,” Grant said. “That, along with the
liberal arts education offered by Lyon, will help students in a wide
array of career fields.