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Before retiring this year after more than 20 years of continuous service, Mary Alice Lyon demonstrated strong commitment to the success of UCM students, particularly those who are underrepresented in higher education.
She entered the education field in 1971 as a graduate assistant teaching English at College High School, and served the university between 1972-78 as an instructor of humanities and English for the PREP and IDEA Programs, in addition to coordinating the university’s Whiteman Air Force Base office. She left UCM in the late ‘70’s to pursue teaching experiences that took her to institutions elsewhere in the U.S. and to Germany, but returned to campus in 1985 as director of Student Support Services (SSS). In 1991, she became director of TRIO Programs, where she oversaw SSS and the McNair Scholars Program. The director emerita continues to serve TRIO on a part-time basis.
The success and continuation of TRIO Programs over the years were due, in part, to Lyon’s ability to secure grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education. Her skills paid off for the university, which, over a 16-year period, received more than $8.2 million in federal grants to enhance educational opportunities for first-generation, low-income students and students with disabilities.
Her contributions and those of other staff members in the Department of Academic Enrichment enabled the department to receive “Best Developmental Education Program” honors regionally by MRADE in 1996, and nationally by NADE in 1997. More recently, Lyon’s contributions to the campus community were recognized by her peers as a recipient of the J.P. Mees Award for Outstanding Professional Staff.
Lyon is a UCM alumna, having earned Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Education Specialist degrees from the university.