The Harlequin Theatre at Lyon College recently received a number of honors from the Region VI Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for its recent production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
A Festival respondent attended the September 29 evening performance of the play and gave three awards, which went to Kendra Bell for Excellence in Set Design, Dr. Fonzie Geary for Excellence in Directing, and the entire cast for Excellence in Ensemble Acting.
In addition, Trey Smith was nominated for the Irene Ryan acting competition for his performance as Algernon Moncrieff, and Carson Matthews was nominated for her performance as Lady Bracknell. The competition will take place at the Kennedy Center Regional Festival in March at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas.
The Irene Ryan Foundation awards $500 scholarships to the outstanding student performers at each regional festival. The Foundation was created through the generosity of the late Irene Ryan, best remembered as Granny Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies.
The Arkansas Symphony Chamber Orchestra will present a concert on Sunday, October 29 at 3:00 p.m. in Brown Chapel on the Lyon College campus. The program is sponsored by First Community Bank, Lyon College, and the Batesville Symphony League, and no admission will be charged.
The first half of the program will feature Kiril Laskarov and Andrew Irvin, violins, in Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach and Double Concerto by Michael Fine, which premiered in May 2017.
After a short pause, the orchestra will perform the original version of Appalachian Spring: Suite by Aaron Copland, which is rarely heard.
In addition, Maestro Geoffrey Robson, the orchestra’s conductor, will give a preconcert lecture at 2:30 pm in Bevens Music Room, located adjacent to Brown Chapel.
Garrard Conley, a 2007 graduate of Lyon College, will be the featured convocation speaker at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 23, in Brown Chapel on the Lyon campus. He will speak on “radical compassion,” and all interested persons are invited to attend this free event.
Conley will share stories from his memoir, Boy Erased, about growing up in a fundamentalist household and attending a conversion therapy program. In the midst of harmful practices and intense bigotry, Conley dug deep to find compassion for himself and even for the counselors who harmed him, struggling to understand what people should do when fundamentalist thinking damages their understanding of compassion and goodness. After over a decade of recovery, he will share some of his insights on human nature.
Conley wrote about his experiences in Boy Erased, an autobiographical account of his being outed at age 19 to his religiously-conservative parents, agreeing that he would attend a “gay conversion therapy” program at their request, its effect on him, and his decision not to “erase” who he really was but affirm his own, authentic identity while continuing a loving relationship with his family.
After the book appeared in late 2016, it attracted national attention, especially after Oprah named it to her list of The Best Memoirs of 2016. Pride recognized Boy Erased as one of 15 Must-Read LGBT Books of 2016, and Buzzfeed named it one of the Best Nonfiction Books of the year. It was also named as a top memoir by Travel + Leisure, Bustle, and the Los Angeles Times.
Joel Edgerton, a well-known actor, writer, director, and producer, read the book and decided he wanted to transform it into a film that would be faithful to the story. As a result, he asked Garrard to write a script, but the young author believed someone more experienced in the film world could do a better job. Edgerton then took it on, collaborating closely with Conley. Edgerton is also portraying the director of Love in Action, the conversion therapy program, directing, and producing.
Playing Garrard will be Lucas Hedges, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Patrick, a key character in 2016’s Manchester by the Sea.
Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe will portray Garrard’s parents. The film will be the first collaboration between these two top stars and longtime friends. It is set for release on September 28, 2018.
Garrard states, “It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to have this story taken so seriously and to have it be told by some very talented people.”
Conley applied for the Peace Corps while still a sophomore at Lyon. Immediately after graduating, he headed to the Ukraine as a Peace Corps volunteer. He also taught International Baccalaureate literature courses at the American College of Sofia, Bulgaria. During his time there, he realized how much Love in Action had brainwashed him and altered the memories of his youth, so he began work on the memoir.
Back in the U.S., Conley lives with his husband, Shahab Yunus, and teaches in Brooklyn, New York. He also runs the Memoir Incubator class for GrubStreet in Boston. His other work can be found in Time, Vice, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and on CNN.com, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Elizabeth Kostova Foundation writers’ conferences and is now in talks with his publisher on his first novel, a historical fiction narrative set in the Great Awakening of the eighteenth century, a time of widespread spiritual revival.
The Lyon College Scot Shop is selling copies of the book for $16 to be signed at the event.
Lyon College President Dr. W. Joseph King has announced the addition of four new club programs and two new varsity sports beginning in Fall 2018. Besides helping with the recruitment of new students, addition of the new programs will increase athletic and co-curricular opportunities for those who attend the institution. “Lyon College is committed to our students, and the programs that we are expanding have already been part of the culture here but are now receiving the support they have earned,” said President King.
The club teams on campus next fall will include disc golf, mountain and road cycling, archery and trap. Students have played disc golf at Lyon since 2008 when an 18-hole disc golf course was installed on campus, but this will be the first time the institution has had an official club team for the sport. Under the direction of Austin Smith, assistant director of outdoor recreation and education at Lyon, the Scots will compete for a chance to participate in the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships that are held every spring in North Augusta, South Carolina.
Darrell Shaw, director of outdoor recreation and education, will head the new mountain and road cycling club program, which will compete as part of the integrated division of USA Cycling. Those who join the new mountain and road cycling club program will train on campus on the Lyon College Bluff Trail.
The new archery club team will compete as part of the USA Archery’s Collegiate Archery Program. The program is designed to develop a participant’s skillset and capability to compete in a variety of events at the local, regional and national levels. Lyon’s recommitment to the trap team will build off of the success of its current shooting club, which has won awards at the Academics, Integrity and Marksmanship National Championships three years in a row, including a Junior Gold-Class B Level Trapshooting Championship in 2016.
“Lyon is always looking for new ways to increase student involvement,” said Lyon College Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Dr. Patrick Mulick. “These club sports fit well with the interests of our students and provide unique scholarship opportunities. We are excited to watch how these programs grow and develop.”
Lyon College has had a cheerleading team since the 2013-14 school year, but in Fall 2018, the program will expand to include a dance team and will compete at the varsity level. The NAIA is the only collegiate athletics association to offer a national championship in these sports, and Lyon will be the only college in the state to offer NAIA competitive cheer and dance.
Track and field will return to the Lyon College campus after having been disbanded in the early 1990s. At its height, Lyon’s track and field team was known for its top-notch quality, garnering three first-place finishes in AIC track and field. Lyon College Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach Adam Trausch will head the new track and field programs.
“The reinstatement of men’s and women’s track and field and the addition of cheer and dance affords Lyon College the opportunity to provide a first-class education along with opportunities for prospective students to participate in varsity athletics,” said Lyon College Director of Athletics Kevin Jenkins. “The sports are also a great way to create growth at the college.”
Interested students should reach out to the head coach of the respective sport for more information. Lyon has already begun its search for a cheer and dance coach and an archery and trap coach for the 2018-19 school year.
From managing marketing campaigns and online sales for a local startup to developing real-world software solutions, performing computational research at the Czech Academy of Sciences in the Czech Republic to liaising between a congressman and his local constituents, Lyon College upperclassmen do more than understand the dilemma that plagues them: “You can’t get experience without a job, but you can’t get a job without experience.” They overcome it.
This year, sixteen Lyon students shared their summer experiences, including jobs, internships, academic travel, and research, with the campus community at the Summer Experience Fair on September 18.
Through the Summer Experience Fair (SEF), the Lyon College Career Center aims to shed light on the process of finding and pursuing opportunities so that its students graduate with the experience necessary to pursue their preferred futures.
This year’s winner of the SEF, Thiago Reis, is a senior pursuing a double major in economics and computer science and a soccer player from Brazil. He interned at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission headquarters in software development and information technology, where he developed software to increase the efficiency of online sales and job applications.
When asked about Thiago’s internship, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Chief Information Officer Tony Davis, an alumnus and adjunct computer science professor at Lyon, said: “Thiago was definitely not your typical intern. We realized immediately that Thiago had the initiative and drive that is lacking in some interns today and gave him a project that continues to have a major impact. Thiago not only learned what it is like to be on a development team but actually put his training and coding skills into action.”
Reis wrote the first automated regression test scripts for the state's hunting and fishing license system. This system is responsible for over $25 million in transactions and is used by over 375 license dealers, including all Walmart locations in Arkansas. No updates or code changes to this system occur unless they successfully pass the test scenarios in his script. “Thiago took a two-hour process prone to human error and cut it down to less than 15 minutes, saving the taxpayers money and providing our agency with confidence that the system will continue to function. We are so impressed with Thiago that we are trying to get him to return this winter as a full-time developer,” said Davis.
Reis won a $1,000.00 scholarship prize for his presentation at the Summer Experience Fair. Other presenters included Eric Moses, sophomore (Business major); Jared Self, senior (Political Science and Economics double major); Savannah Youngblood, junior (Elementary Education major); Justas Narusus, senior (Computer Science major); Rebecca Philpott, senior (Biology and Chemistry double major); Brittany Northern, senior (Biology major); Cheyenne Kellum, senior (Business major); Makala White, senior (Biology); Ethan Wisdom, sophomore (Mathematics major, pre-engineering concentration); John Sifford, senior (Biology major); ShaNae Snow, junior (Psychology major); Ian Hall, senior (Chemistry and Biology double major); Jordan Trant, junior (Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics triple major); and Cody Richardson, senior (Anthropology major).
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