Founded as Arkansas College by Arkansas Presbyterians, Lyon College opened its doors in September 1872.
In 1994, after a renewal of the decades-old discussion of changing the name, on the grounds that "Arkansas College" was too commonplace to express its distinction, the venerable school became Lyon College.
It took major persuasion to convince the modest and private Frank Lyon to accept the judgment of the Board, the administration, the planners and the college family that the old Presbyterian school should bear the Lyon name. Frank Jr., himself uncomfortable with the spotlights on the Lyons, recalls that his father was angry with president John Griffith and board member Robert Young, and even with his son. "And I didn't have anything to do with it," Frank Jr. said with a laugh.
Only the Lyon family was bothered by the choice of name, though. Donald Weatherman, a faculty member at the time and now Lyon College president, observed on the day of the public announcement that "if I were to list all of the qualities of a person after whom our liberal arts institution should be named, the only person would qualify to fit that list" was Frank Lyon, Sr. And so the day marked a new birth for the old college.