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Scottish Heritage

Founded in 1872 by Arkansas Presbyterians, Lyon College has celebrated its Scottish heritage in many ways over the years, from the choice of its athletic mascots—the Scots—to the creation of its own distinctive crimson and navy blue tartan, now registered in Scotland.

The most important way in which Lyon honors its Scottish connection, however, is through the Scottish Heritage Program, designed to teach, preserve, and celebrate the Scottish arts and traditions in America. Offering a minor focusing upon the traditions of Scottish music and a range of courses and scholarships in the Scottish arts, the program has become one of the most significant in the nation for students interested in developing and refining their skills in bagpiping, drumming, or Highland dancing in the stimulating setting of an excellent liberal arts college.


Scottish Heritage Scholarships

Scottish Heritage scholarships are awarded to pipers, drummers, and Highland dancers. Scottish fiddlers, and accordian players that can contribute to our ceilidh band are also considered as candidates. Prospective students that have already been accepted to Lyon College will receive first consideration. Scholarships are based on a candidate's ability to contribute to our program's goals, and to succeed as a Lyon student.

In addition, a number of awards are presented annually to deserving students participating in the Scottish Heritage Program.  These include The Lenard Adler Memorial Endowed Scholarship, The Agnes MacLeod Scholarship, The Jack and Sue Stephens Scholarship and the Clan Currie Scholarship. Amounts of the awards vary.

For Scottish Heritage scholarship consideration contact Pipe Major Jimmy Bell directly at james.bell@lyon.edu. For information about all Lyon College scholarship opportunities, visit our scholarships & aid programs page.


Arkansas Scottish Festival

For over a quarter of a century the Arkansas Scottish Festival has been one of the premier gatherings in the south for honoring Scottish heritage and traditions. Featuring pipers, drummers, and bands; Highland dancing; heavy athletics; Celtic music; clan and family histories; sheepdog demonstrations; and vendors of Gaelic goods and services, the Arkansas Scottish Festival offers something for everyone. Mark your calendar for every April, bring your friends and family, and join us in the fun. If you aren't Scottish when you get here, you will be when you leave.

For more information, visit the Arkansas Scottish Festival page.


Pipe Band

The Lyon College Pipe Band is comprised of students, faculty, and staff of Lyon College as well as volunteer musicians from Batesville, Arkansas and the surrounding communities. Under the direction of Pipe Major Jimmy Bell, the band performs at several official college functions, in community parades, in venues around the state of Arkansas, and at festivals and games throughout the United States and abroad.

Lyon pipers, drummers, and dancers are also involved in teaching the Scottish arts to interested parties through the Outreach Program.

If you would like to become a part of the band, engage the band for a performance, or are interested in participating in the Outreach Program please e-mail Jimmy Bell at: james.bell@lyon.edu  or call 870-307-PIPE.

For more information, visit the more comprehensive Lyon College Pipe Band page.


Celtic Arts Summer School

Every year the Scottish Heritage Program sponsors a piping summer school and brings in world-renowned instructors to provide quality instruction in a congenial setting on the beautiful Lyon College campus. Dates for the 2023 summer school are June 11-16. 

For more information, visit the Celtic Arts Summer School page.