Lyon College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Lyon College
As one of the oldest colleges in Arkansas, Lyon College stands out as a...

Lyon College

Batesville, Arkansas

Founded in 1872 by local Presbyterians as Arkansas College, Lyon has offered a classical curriculum and has been coeducational from its beginning. Today its student body is more diverse than ever. Many students are the first in their family to attend college, and about a third are low income. All show academic promise. Lyon helps meet any financial need by awarding merit scholarships, alongside such need-based aid as Pell Grants, to 99% of its students.


A traditional liberal arts curriculum provides broad exposure to the humanities, arts, and sciences and also builds students’ understanding of complex ideas, their ability to make logical arguments, and their appreciation of community service. And, through its student-run Honor and Social Councils, Lyon successfully promotes this growth. Lyon graduates are working professionals in such fields as business and education, and they are excelling in graduate and professional schools across the country. In fact, Lyon students who seek admission to law and medical schools have had a 90% acceptance rate!


With 16 majors, numerous pre-professional programs, and an option to develop an individualized major, Lyon offers its students an education that meets a broad variety of personal goals. Additionally, it Health Coaching program, a partnership between the College and White River Health System, gives students interested in health care the opportunity to work directly with patients to improve their health and avoid hospitalization. The Nichols International Travel Program helps cover the cost of study abroad opportunities. Through all these programs and more, Lyon proves to be dedicated to helping its students become the people they were born to be.



Student Profile

Fall 2017 Enrollment
664 undergraduate students
98% of undergrad students are full time
56% male — 44% female
33% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2017-2018 Academic Year
43 full-time faculty
14 part-time faculty
14 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2017
89% of first-year students live on campus
70% of all students live on campus

School Location

Lyon is located in Batesville, Arkansas, a community of about 10,000 that serves as a commercial, governmental, and cultural hub for the surrounding region. It is home to White River Health System, making it a medical hub for the region as well. Nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains on the beautiful White River, this historic city, platted in 1821, provides a safe and welcoming setting for the College and its students. Batesville is approximately an hour and a half northeast of Little Rock and two hours west of Memphis, TN.

See here for more information.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences  
Learning Communities  
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning  
Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X


62% of students began in Fall 2016 and returned in Fall 2017 (full-time, first-time freshmen)


52.56% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 4%
Hispanic/Latino 8%
Black or African American 7%
White 70%
American Indian or Alaska Native 2%
Asian 3%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 0%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 6%


The Lyon College Scots are part of the American Midwest Conference and the Central States Football League in NAIA athletics. Women’s varsity teams compete in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, volleyball, and wrestling. Men’s varsity teams compete in basketball, baseball, cross country, golf, football, soccer, and wrestling. Beginning in fall 2018, the College will add track and field and will become the only college in the state to offer competitive cheer and dance. Both sports will be co-educational. In addition, Lyon will add four club sports: disc golf, mountain and road cycling, archery, and trap.

See here for more information.

Other Information

Lyon College is a private co-educational institution founded in 1872 and affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commision of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Academic Programs

Art (B.A.) Biology (B.A. or B.S.) Business Administration (B.S.) Chemistry (B.A. or B.S.) Economics (B.A.) English (B.A.) Elementary Education (B.A.) French (B.A.) History (B.A.) Individualized* Mathematics (B.A.) Music (B.A.) Political Science (B.A.) Psychology (B.A.) Religion and Philosophy (B.A.) Spanish (B.A.) Theatre Studies (B.A.)

More Distinctions

  • Lyon College is frequently recognized as a leading liberal arts institution that maintains a commitment not only to exceptional undergraduate education but also to recognizing students' achievement and potential.

  • 14 C.A.S.E./Carnegie Foundation Arkansas Professor of the Year awards

  • Ranked as a Southern “Best Bang for the Buck” college by Washington Monthly three years in a row

  • Ranked by as third among 17 four-year colleges and universities in Arkansas based on acceptance selectivity; enrollment, retention, and graduation rates; and low student loan default percentage

  • Ranked in the top 15 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace military service members, veterans, and spouses as students by Victory Media

  • Named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for Lyon’s commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement

Core Curriculum

Lyon provides a common intellectual experience to its students through its core curriculum. All students must demonstrate proficiency in writing and mathematics through designated courses in freshman composition and college algebra. Additionally, all freshmen take CORE 100, a first-year seminar, along with World Literature and American Experience, an introduction to the American political tradition. As sophomores, students take two semesters of Western Civilization. Additional requirements within the core include a foreign language, mathematics, a lab science course, a social science course, a fine arts course, a religion or philosophy course, and two PE courses. Several departments require collaborative work (especially in upper-division courses), and most promote undergraduate research.

Global Learning

Diversity at Lyon College is seen in the community’s growing numbers of Hispanic and African American students, international faculty and students, and student organizations that support foreign language students, international students, and the LGBT community on campus. Lyon also offers an international film series to educate students about the world around them. International travel, made available through the Nichols program, also exposes students to experiences in many other countries, either in two-week short courses or semester- or year-long exchange programs.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band  
Dance X
Drama/theatre X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine  
Marching band X
Model UN X
Music ensembles  
Musical theatre  
Pep band X
Radio station  
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society X
Symphony orchestra  
Television station  

First-Year Seminar

CORE 100, an introductory seminar required of all freshmen, is a 12-week course that is taken in small, tightly knit groups. Each group is led by a faculty mentor with the assistance of two student mentors. The course ultimately helps new students deal with the inevitable changes they are to experience throughout their transition to college and promotes self-efficacy through structured service-learning.

Outstanding Faculty

The College is strongly committed to its Carnegie classification as a Baccalaureate-Arts and Sciences institution. Its pre-professional and secondary education offerings require a liberal arts major, and its faculty, 97% of whom carry a terminal degree in their field, believe strongly in educating students for a meaningful life rather than for just a career. Lyon faculty have never wavered in their undergraduate teaching, as exemplified through 14 Professors of the Year awards from CASE. When new majors are added or current majors expanded, faculty and administration alike look first to liberal arts standards, not to possible job placements, in order to ensure a truly enriching experience.

Academic Support

Students know that they can visit the Morrow Academic Center (“the MAC”) whenever they need academic support. This Center is home to tutoring, Supplemental Instruction, and a writing center, all in a comfortable environment that’s equipped with computers, seating areas, and a coffee shop.

Writing Intensity

Many upper-division courses across the curriculum are writing intensive. Alumni who continue into graduate or law school report that they find writing assignments to be no challenge thanks to the work they have done at Lyon. In fact, they are often asked to help out their peers who graduated from other institutions.

See more details for Lyon academics here.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages  
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Philosophy X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 63 70 48 25 3 1 0 210

Lyon Thrives

Two “Weeks of Welcome” are organized each year to introduce new students to the campus. It doesn’t take long for anyone to see the strong sense of community characterized through its 40 student organizations and such extracurricular learning opportunities as convocations, art shows, readings by published poets and novelists, and musical performances. For example, a popular European film series inspires students with such films as Fellini’s 8 ½, The Tin Drum, and The Seventh Seal, and regional symphonies, the Arkansas Symphony Chamber Orchestra, and contemporary popular groups perform in concert. A regular sequence of art shows also bring in artists who discuss their philosophy and welcome the Lyon community to their gallery openings.

Leadership and Adventure

Though it may be a small college, Lyon enjoys a very strong Greek presence with three national fraternities and three sororities, all of which uphold a commitment to scholarship, leadership, and service. And, to further promote bonding among students, the LEAP program offers many opportunities for outdoor adventure both on and off campus.

Lyon Traditions

Traditions at Lyon include a raft race each fall in which teams of freshmen compete to see who can make it across Bryan Lake first—or at least who can keep themselves from sinking! And, at the end of their four years, seniors take part in a torchlight procession to the same lake, an emotional highlight of graduation weekend.

A couple ghost stories have also been long maintained as part of the Lyon tradition. One touts of a haunted tapestry that hangs in Bevens Music Room, and another tells of the ghosts of orphaned children who died while living at the Masonic orphanage that has since been replaced by the Brown Chapel-Fine Arts Building.

See here for more about Lyon’s campus community.


Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students X
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students  
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing  
Other housing options X


Other: Pet-Friendly Housing


Lyon College is committed to community service. In addition to school-wide organized service events, many student groups take on their own individual projects each year, doing such inspiring work as raising money for Arkansas Children’s Hospital or St. Jude’s, reading to children in local elementary schools, picking up trash along highways, and working on Habitat for Humanity houses.

Internships and Practica

Several majors emphasize the importance of internships and practica. For example, journalism students are required to write for the town newspaper; art students work in galleries; religion/philosophy majors assist ministers and chaplains; and science majors work on grant-funded research projects. Those interested in medical careers can participate as “Health Coaches” to make sure that their patients understand how to avoid trips to the emergency room or further hospitalization. Some students become so involved that they even sign on for extra semesters of work.


Many majors require that students complete a capstone course or project. For example, art and music students must present a senior show or performance; psychology majors must produce a senior thesis; religion/philosophy students enroll in an advanced seminar; and English majors enroll in one of four seminars that require a research paper suitable for publication.

Outstanding Placement and Success

Lyon graduates who apply for medical or law school have shown a 90% or higher acceptance rate. And, out of 32 trustees currently serving on the Lyon Board, 21 are alumni who embody the College’s ability to prepare graduates for success in their chosen careers. These trustees have risen to prominence in their fields, which include medicine, dentistry, law, business, teaching, and public service.



1,652 total applicants
1,062 total admissions
190 total freshman enrollment

64.29% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2018-19 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Freshman Profile Fall 2017

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 510 603
SAT Math 520 633
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 22 28
ACT Math 21 27
ACT English 21 31
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator


Tuition $28,200
Fees $590
Total $28,790
Room and Board (on campus) $9,130
Estimated Total On Campus $37,920


Average Financial Aid Packages 2017-2018

$23,396 first-year students
$20,056 all undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2017-2018

73% on average, the percentage of need that was met
25% of financial need students that had need fully met

$20,056 average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,207 average need-based loan

Additional Information

Lyon uses the Common Application, which is reviewed to assure prospective students have the academic background (as indicated by ACT or SAT scores and high school GPA) to benefit from the College’s demanding curriculum. Scholarships, Pell grants, and work/study help assure that all who wish to attend can afford to do so, as underscored by the fact that 99% of Lyon students receive financial aid.

Scholarships include merit awards (at least 20 on the ACT and a GPA of 2.5), participation awards (outstanding ability in music, theatre, art), athletic scholarships, and scholarships specifically for transfer students. In addition awards are given for students whose sibling, parent, or grandparent attended Lyon and to those who are members in good standing of a Presbyterian church.  

Lyon also invites a select number of entering freshmen to apply and interview for the prestigious Lyon Fellowship, which covers the full cost of tuition for participants, who enroll in a rigorous course of study designed to hone research skills and promote the exchange of ideas in a challenging and supportive academic environment.