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Matt Cavanaugh to Speak at Lyon College Founders’ Day, Oct. 19

On Oct. 19, Lyon College will hold its annual Founders’ Day Convocation, and it will host Maj. Matt Cavanaugh, an active duty U.S. Army strategist and author, as the convocation speaker. In his talk, “To Be a Hero, Shine Your Shoes,” Cavanaugh will use his experiences and his dissertation research to speak about what he believes the core of the college experience is about—a student’s decision on what he or she should aim for in life and how to get there.

“I’ll make the case that they should strive to be real heroes to at least one other person and that the path to becoming that person is in part through mundane tasks of discipline and maintenance like shining their shoes,” shared Cavanaugh.

As an active duty U.S. Army strategist, Cavanaugh has had global experience in assignments ranging from the Pentagon to Korea and West Point to the Middle East. He has been the youngest recipient of the U.S. Army Strategist Association’s professional award, the Order of Saint Gabriel the Archangel award, in addition to earning West Point’s faculty-wide Apgar Award for Excellence in Teaching, and being named the U.S. Army’s Athlete of the Year. Cavanaugh has served on the Wounded Warrior Project’s Advisory Council, been a term member with the Council on Foreign Relations, is a founding member of the Military Writers Guild, and a Non-Resident Fellow and co-founder of the Modern War Institute at West Point.

In 2002, Cavanaugh received his B.S. in American politics and systems engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He went on to earn his master’s in strategic studies at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand and his Ph.D. in international relations at the University of Reading in Reading, U.K. His book, “Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict,” is currently on shelves and online, and his writings have been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and USA Today, among other outlets.

at Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Castleberry Talks Constitution

On Monday, Sept. 17, Lyon College observed Constitution Day by inviting Attorney Casey Castleberry to speak. His speech, entitled “How a Governing Document Drafted 231 Years Ago Continues to Apply to our Modern World,” focused on the adaptability of the Constitution.

Attorney Castleberry remarked he does run into “constitutional issues in [his] practice on a very frequent, possibly even daily, basis.” He described two such cases regarding the “due process” clause of the Constitution, demonstrating how constitutional issues manifest themselves even in a small-town practice of law.

He went on to give a brief history of the Constitution, which was signed on Sept. 17, 1787. The document was written during a convention to attempt to amend the Articles of Confederation; during the revision process, the Founding Fathers elected to start from scratch, and thus the Constitution was born. Castleberry called the Constitution an “imperfect but brilliant document.”

According to Castleberry, the Constitution’s “imperfections” can be seen as its greatest strengths: he believes that our Founding Fathers intentionally “didn’t set the rules very specifically,” but set them “very loosely to set the stage for debate for hundreds of years to come.” The document’s “ambiguity in the language” and lack of strict rules sparks the debates that keep lawmakers busy making sure that the Constitution functions effectively.

“I believe that the founders recognized that out of good, vigorous debate, came better ideas, came better ways of doing things, came better ways of governance,” said Castleberry.

It is extremely difficult to pass an amendment to the Constitution: a two-thirds majority must approve amendments in both the House of Representatives and Congress, or a Constitutional Convention must be called for by two-thirds of state legislatures. More often, instead of changing the wording of the laws, the interpretation of existing phrasing will occur.

“Ultimately,” Castleberry said, “the courts interpret the rules in the Constitution.” The Supreme Court will weigh in on important cases and, after considering precedent and the facts before them, make a decision that sets new precedent for the lower courts to follow.

Observing precedent constitutes a significant amount of our current understanding of the Constitution; the compilation of two-hundred years of precedent and tradition comprises Common Law doctrines, which Castleberry notes have “guided the court’s” interpretation of the Constitution in the centuries since it was drafted.”

After his lecture, Castleberry opened the floor for questions, comments, and possible debate.

Lyon’s Academic Operations Manager, Markeita Williams, shared her excitement in regards to student participation: “I was glad to see students that were there that were interacting and asking questions that they were genuinely concerned about; not just about his speech or what he talked about, but just genuine concern with our political atmosphere and what’s going on today in our modern time.”

at Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Four New Programs Come to Campus

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

at Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cars and Boycotts: Dr. Radek Szulga Presents for First Faculty Colloquium of the Semester

On Friday, September 14, Associate Professor of Economics Dr. Radek Szulga presented his body of research “The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands Incident and the Effects of the Chinese Boycott of Japanese Cars: Historical Persistence and Nationalism” at Lyon College’s first faculty colloquium of the semester.

In his lecture, Szulga described the nature and primary causes of boycotts, as well as the effect they have on producers and consumers. In the 2012 Chinese boycott of Japanese-made cars sparked by a feud over a plot of land, Szulga and his research partner Wei-Min Hu found some unexpected trends: instead of buying comparable European or American luxury vehicles, Chinese consumers consistently elected to buy more modest Chinese-made cars. The data led Szulga and his partner to question the psychology of these consumer choices and return to the raw data to run new programs to test hypotheses.

Provost Dr. Melissa Taverner, spoke to the importance of Lyon’s faculty colloquiums.

“We have a faculty that is composed of extraordinary, capable scholars,” she said. “They do original research that is relevant not just regionally, but globally. The neat thing about the colloquium is it’s really designed to help faculty members who are working on a project to present not necessarily always a final project, but a project that is in play.”

The fact that their research is still ongoing was “surprising” to mathematics and English double major Jacob Strickland, who was in attendance on Friday.

In this way, students, as well as faculty and staff get a behind-the-scenes look at not just a polished work or body of research, but also at the process of it all. Szulga’s research has led to many conclusions which he demonstrated with graphs that helped make his findings accessible to the audience.

“These colloquiums allow students to hear about topics that are not in classes, whether because it is too obscure, or simply because it does not fit under any subject the college currently offers,” shared Strickland.

at Monday, September 17, 2018

Lyon College Third Annual Peace Rally to Focus on the American Dream

Lyon College Campus Ministry in partnership with the Director of Diversity Lai-Monté Hunter will hold the third annual Lyon College Peace Rally on Thursday, September 20 at 11 a.m. in Lyon’s Couch Garden. This year’s theme is the American Dream, and owner of BodyFit in Batesville, Gilbert Lopez, Jr., will speak about his interpretation of the American Dream and how his personal experiences have helped him understand what it means to live in a peaceful world.

According to Lyon College Chaplain the Rev. Margaret Alsup, the rally coincides with the start of the National Hispanic Heritage month and Arkansas Peace Week, which helped Alsup and Hunter decided on the rally’s theme.

“It was clear that immigration was an important subject and social justice issue for students,” said Alsup. “Thinking about immigration led us to come up with the theme American Dream, focusing on what that means and why we all seek it.”

For the rally, Lopez and Student Government Association President Taylor Donnerson, ‘19, will both speak about the American Dream. There will be a communal art project, followed by a community lunch.

Lopez is a native of Eagle Pass, Texas and attended Diboll High School. Upon graduation, he enrolled at Angelina College where he received a degree in business with an applied science concentration. Lopez furthered his education by completing the registered nursing program at UACCB and also holds certifications in both sports nutrition and personal training.  He currently is a registered nurse in a pediatric day treatment center that serves children with developmental delays and mental health needs. Lopez owns BodyFit with his wife Melody where he provides personal training and leads group exercise classes.


at Thursday, September 13, 2018