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Lyon College ROTC: Leadership and Excellence

Lyon College’s Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) detachment, the Fighting Scots, will celebrate a significant milestone during the College’s ROTC commissioning ceremony on Friday, May 12. The program will graduate its sixth student, Hot Springs native Christopher Tackett, who shared his experiences and reflections on the journey he underwent.

An affiliate of the Arkansas State University ROTC program, the Lyon College ROTC program is dedicated to developing quality leaders for the United States Army.

Tackett, who is slated to graduate from Lyon College on Saturday, May 13, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a minor in Military Science, spent his college career dedicating a large portion of his time to the Fighting Scots detachment.

“I have been in the program on a 3-year scholarship, beginning my sophomore year,” said Tackett.

Throughout his time as a Fighting Scot, Tackett saw himself grow as a leader and as a person. The military standard that he had to carry out in his everyday college life was something that he found unique and special. 

 “The journey through the program has been different, specifically during COVID,” said Tackett.

Tackett’s most recent position had him serving as the Assistant Training Officer for Arkansas State University’s Red Wolf Battalion which requires Tackett to, “help plan training events from the company level down.”

“It’s just different, and something people have to experience for themselves to understand. But I couldn’t recommend it more,” said Tackett. “My favorite part has been the people I’ve been able to work with. I have a lifelong connection to people in both Active Duty and the National Guard, and I would not have grown as much without them and our course with our instructor’s guidance.”

Tackett has also served as Platoon Sergeant and Platoon Leader for the Fighting Scots, giving him crucial experience in leadership and service. But, as Tackett puts it, he’s, “honestly at a fork in the road.”

“On one hand, I have a prestigious degree that would most definitely allow me to work in the finance sector with a lot of references and capabilities for any job that I would want,” said Tackett. “On the other hand, I want to be on the frontlines of helping people and being a firsthand difference in my community.”

While his plans may still be up in the air, one thing Tackett doesn’t lack is the confidence to keep moving forward.

“I think that Lyon and its ROTC program have prepared me very well for my future,” said Tackett. “No matter what I do, I now know I have the discipline and ability to succeed in any career I choose.”

A sentiment shared by one of Tackett's peers in the program, junior Briana Huff.

“When asked what I have gained from being in the programs I sometimes don’t know what to say, but now I know the answer to that question,” said Huff, a junior Exercise Science major who is going on her fourth year as a Fighting Scot. “I have learned how to become a leader, more disciplined, and how to apply the Army values to everyday life.”

Huff, who serves as the Platoon Leader position for the Fighting Scots, said the program pushed her to be more outgoing and outspoken. She, like Tackett, also credited Jerry Bowling, Assistant Professor of Military Science, for giving the program the life it needs.

“Mr. Bowling has given the program life,” said Huff. “What I mean by that is, he has gone above and beyond to make sure Lyon ROTC is not forgotten.”

“His ability to know how to mold and motivate people is something beyond description,” said Tackett. “He is one of the most wise men that I will ever come across, and I don’t plan on our mentor/mentee relationship coming to a close after I depart from Lyon.”

He continued, “I wasn’t half the man I was when I met Jerry Bowling, and he was definitely hard on me. But I needed it. He has taught me how to conduct myself in a professional manner in the Army and civilian world, and many more lessons outside of that. My piece of advice to anyone that wants to genuinely improve themselves, would be to go talk to Jerry Bowling and at least try the program out for a little while.”

Posted by Colton Strader at Thursday, May 11, 2023

Lyon College to recognize first-generation graduates on May 10

Lyon College will have a First-Generation Graduate Pinning Ceremony on Wednesday, May 10. The event, which will take place on the Lyon Business and Economics Building Terrace at 4 p.m., will recognize and celebrate first-generation Scots. First-generation students, faculty and staff alike will be recognized during the event.

First-generation college students are individuals whose parents or legal guardians did not complete a bachelor's degree.

“There may be lots of successful people in a family who do not have a 4-year degree,” said Dr. Jennifer Daniels, Associate Professor of Psychology. “But the first-generation graduate is striking out a novel path to personal success.”

These students face unique challenges as they navigate the higher education system, yet despite these challenges, first-generation college students have shown remarkable resilience and determination in pursuing their academic goals.

“There is a risk in being first,” said Daniels. “There is a lot more to graduating from college than getting to class on time, and not having someone who can give you the inside scoop can be daunting.”

Daniels hopes that this event can give a, “perfect visual representation of the good work that we do at Lyon College.” 

“Making this kind of achievement visible is the most valuable outcome for an event like this,” said Daniels. “With an event like this, students can see just how many of the caring and competent professionals at Lyon College have a similar story!”

The First-Generation Graduate Pinning Ceremony is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of these students. The ceremony will involve the pinning of a special badge on the graduates, which they can wear on their graduation gowns as they walk across the stage during the main graduation ceremony. Recognized individuals will also receive a certificate congratulating them on their journey and reminding them of their commitment.

“The certificates say, ‘Congratulations on completing your four-year degree with us at Lyon College. Achieving a goal like this is not about making a big decision once, to go to college, but making a series of tiny decisions a thousand times,’” said Daniels.

The event is open to all members of the Lyon College community, including faculty, staff, and students. The ceremony will serve as a reminder of the challenges that these students have faced and overcome, and it will provide inspiration for future generations of students who will follow in their footsteps. Congratulations to all the first-generation graduates who will be recognized at the ceremony!

Posted by Colton Strader at Monday, May 8, 2023

BAYA comes to Kresge Gallery on May 19

Budding young artists from the Batesville area have a chance to showcase their talents in the upcoming Batesville Area Young Artists High School Juried Art Exhibition. Students from eligible schools, including Cave City High School, Batesville High School, Southside High School, and Cedar Ridge High School, who are expected to graduate in 2024 or 2025, were invited to submit up to three artworks in any 2D or 3D medium.

Dustyn Bork, Professor of Art and BAYA organizer, said he was a bit nervous about the exhibition initially. It being the first community exhibition of its kind on campus, Bork wanted to highlight the goal of the event.

“We see so many talented artists in the area, but they don’t necessarily know what steps to take next or how to showcase their art,” said Bork. “The Lyon College art program wants to create a showcase, a possibility,  that can encourage those young artists and give them an audience for their work.”

Bork emphasized that the event is here to encourage supporting the arts, and to give local young artists an opportunity to broaden their perspective and learn about what art can offer them.

“Maybe a student has taken an art class and they had the opportunity to use a few tools and learn some techniques, but maybe they’ve never been exposed to oil pastels or gouache,” said Bork. “Then they come on campus and see works done by their peers who are young artists just like them, and then they realize, ‘This is something I can do too.’”

“Or maybe there’s an artist just drawing in their room and asking themselves, ‘Is this any good? Would anyone like this quirky drawing of my favorite band?’” said Bork. “This is their opportunity to test it out, to show off their art and start a discussion about what they make. It’s about having an audience for what you create.”

The exhibition also offers prizes for selected winners. The first-place winner will receive a cash prize of $300, while the second and third-place winners will receive $200 and $100, respectively. Honorable mentions will receive $50 art gift cards. In addition to the cash prizes, the top five winners will receive Lyon College Art Scholarships of up to $500 per year. 

“There’s an opportunity to get into the exhibition, which is a great recognition in itself, but then there are the awards with prize money associated with them which hopefully sparks the idea that, 'Hey, I can get paid for my art,’” said Bork.

Bork emphasized that he hopes the event can highlight to local young artists the possibility of finding a future in art, “whether it’s just a hobby, a major you pursue, or a career, there are pathways”

These submissions will be juried by Mountain Home artist and guest juror, Dusty Mitchell. The selected pieces will then be gathered and showcased in the Kresge Gallery, located in the Alphin Humanities Building on Lyon College's campus.

“We specifically chose a professional that is not in the area to remain objective and unbiased,” said Bork. “After the selections have been made, it is possible for up to 30 pieces to be in the final show.”

The exhibition will be open to the public from May 19 to August 4, providing ample time for art enthusiasts and visitors to witness the creative expressions of these young artists. The exhibit is a fantastic opportunity for these students to showcase their skills and gain recognition for their hard work. The exhibit's reception will be held on June 8 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Awards and prizes will be delivered during the reception as well.

“Even if you didn’t submit, come out to the gallery,” said Bork. “See what was selected, see what the community can create. Come support the arts and support the community that creates these wonderful pieces.”

If you have any questions about BAYA, or the Lyon College Art Program, please contact Dustyn Bork at dustyn.bork@lyon.edu.

Posted by Colton Strader at Monday, May 8, 2023

Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Crystal Johnson to speak at Lyon College Spring 2023 Commencement

Lyon College will honor the accomplishments of 102 graduating students at the Spring 2023 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13, at 8:30 a.m. on Couch Garden of the Lyon College campus, 2300 Highland Rd., Batesville.

Crystal Johnson, president and CEO of the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, will serve as the commencement speaker. The chamber is a business network of 500 organizational members dedicated to business advocacy and promotion of those members as well as economic and community development. 

As president and CEO of the BACC since July 2009, Johnson provides strategic leadership and vision for the organization and facilitates the IMPACT Independence County community and economic strategic plan. She is also responsible for developing and facilitating the Leadership Batesville Program and leads the City of Batesville Economic Development Program. 

Her accomplishments as president and CEO of the BACC include partnering with the City of Batesville to lead a successful community development tax campaign to raise $30 million for community use facilities, including a community center, regulation size gymnasium multiplex, aquatics park and an MLB replica youth baseball complex. She also led a legislative campaign to pass Act 456 of 2019, also known as the Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Scholarship Act, that resulted in financial incentives awarded to eligible high school students, removing financial barriers and increasing speed of entry into the workforce.

Johnson is a certified professional community and economic developer (PCED) and is a 2018 graduate of the Institute for Organization Management (IOM), a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation fostering individual growth and interactive learning and networking opportunities as the premier non-profit professional development program for chambers and associations. She holds a master's degree in Community and Economic Development from the University of Central Arkansas and is a graduate of the Leadership Arkansas program and Community Development Institute (CDI). She most recently earned a Strategic Doing Workshop Leader Certification from the University of North Alabama, Center of Learning and Professional Development in 2022. 

Rev. Dr. Stuart Higginbotham, an Episcopal priest and a 2001 Lyon College alumnus, will serve as the guest speaker for the 2023 Baccalaureate service on Friday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. on Couch Garden.

He received a master’s degree in Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, in 2005 and then transferred to the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta where he completed a year of Anglican Studies at The School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 2008 and then completed the Doctor of Ministry program at Sewanee in 2017.

Dr. Higginbotham’s vocation is grounded in the wisdom of the ancient Christian contemplative tradition and the way it nurtures the present context of congregational development. He is the author of “The Heart of a Calling: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness in Congregational Ministry” and the co-editor of “Contemplation and Community: A Gathering of Fresh Voices for a Living Tradition.”

He has been the rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville, Georgia, since 2014 and will begin this August as Assistant Professor in the Practice of Spiritual Formation and Ministry at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.

The College's ROTC commissioning ceremony is set for 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 12, in Sloan Auditorium of Brown Fine Arts Building.

Each of these events is an in-person event; however, ceremonies will be streamed for those who are unable to attend in person.

Links are as follows:

ROTC Commissioning Ceremony - 10:30 a.m., Friday, May 12 - https://vimeo.com/event/3362237

Spring 2023 Baccalaureate - 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 12 - https://vimeo.com/event/3362242

Spring 2023 Commencement Ceremony - 8:30 a.m., Saturday, May 13 - https://vimeo.com/event/3362243

at Friday, April 28, 2023

Lyon College’s Kappa Sigma Chapter Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Lambda-Iota Chapter of Kappa Sigma has maintained a presence at Lyon College for 50 years. The organization’s commitment to helping the lives of its members, the Lyon College faculty, staff and student body, and the Batesville community is more than apparent. To honor decades of service, leadership, scholarship, and fellowship, Kappa Sigma will host a 50th Anniversary event this Saturday, April 29, here on Lyon College’s campus.

Watson Neal, ‘10, Secretary of the Kappa Sigma Alumni Association, said that this event brings together brothers from across the generations, celebrating the chapter’s various accomplishments and fellowship between attendees.

“I was initiated in the spring of 2004, making this weekend mark 19 years of being a brother in Kappa Sigma,” said Neal, who now works as a Staff Software Engineer. “Kappa Sigma has always focused on promoting brotherhood and friendship, making that connection amongst brothers is a driving force for the organization.”

Neal said that Kappa Sigma has always been a place where you, “always feel welcome with your fellow brothers.”

“Nowhere else have I ever experienced anything like the brotherhood I've enjoyed during my 50 years as brother and advisor in Lyon College's Lambda Iota chapter of Kappa Sigma,” said Dr. Terrell Tebbetts, Martha Heasley Cox Chair in American Literature and Kappa Sigma Faculty Advisor.

This weekend represents Kappa Sigma’s largest ever gathering with 140 brothers expected to attend, representing approximately 30 percent of the chapter’s living membership.

“I am, like many others, looking forward to the opportunity to see many faces that we have not seen in years,” said Neal. “We have many brothers traveling 500 plus miles, both by car and plane, to be with us this weekend. There are also brothers expected to attend that have not set foot on campus in over 20 years.”

The event is expected to begin Saturday evening, and is open only to brothers, alumni and their guests. 

Posted by Colton Strader at Wednesday, April 26, 2023