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Students, donors celebrate Lyon’s giving spirit

How do donations make a difference?

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 in life.

“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 with you.”

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.