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Elon Academy receives major gift from Lyon family

Elon trustee Frank R. Lyon ’71 and his wife, Natalie Lyon, of New Canaan, Conn., longtime supporters of the Elon Academy, have made a major gift for the creation of an endowed scholarship that will aid graduates of the college enrichment program for high school students in Alamance County.

Frank Lyon announced the gift on April 17, 2010, in an afternoon celebration of the Elon Academy’s inaugural class. It is the second time in as many years that the Lyons have made a major gift to the university in support of the academy.

Frank R. Lyon '71

The newest gift will help create the Weymouth Scholarship, named for the late Katharine Weymouth, Natalie Lyon's mother.

“I am the luckiest guy in the world,” Frank Lyon, citing his family and his career, told a crowd gathered on the Phi Beta Kappa Commons plaza for the event. “All my life I’ve been in the giving back mode, and I’m not about to stop now.”

The Lyons have been generous donors to Elon, contributing to scholarships, the Phoenix Club, the Elon Fund and the Ernest A. Koury, Sr. Business Center. The couple are members of The Elon Society President’s Circle and the Aesculus Society.

Elon University President Leo M. Lambert stands with several scholars in the inaugural class of the Elon Academy. Twenty of the 22 students in the class have been accepted into at least one four-year college or university.

The ceremony itself recognized the accomplishments of 22 scholars from Alamance County preparing to graduate from high school. Twenty of those students have been accepted at least one of more than 30 colleges and universities. In alphabetical order, those schools are: 

1. Appalachian State University
2. Bates College
3. Catawba
4. Clemson University
5. East Carolina University
6. Elon University
7. Ferrum College
8. Furman University
9. High Point University
10. Johnson C. Smith
11. Lenoir-Rhyne
12. Louisburg College
13. Mary Baldwin
14. Middlebury
15. Mount Holyoke College
16. North Carolina A & T
17. NC State University
18. Northwest Missouri State
19. Radford University
20. Saint Augustine College
21. Salem College
22. Smith College
23. UNC-Asheville
24. UNC-Chapel Hill
25. UNC-Charlotte
26. UNC-Pembroke
27. UNC-Wilmington
28. University of Tampa
29. Wake Forest
30. Western Carolina
31. Wingate University
32. Winston Salem State University 

The afternoon ceremony on the brick plaza of Phi Beta Kappa Commons featured remarks by Elon University President Leo M. Lambert, and an invocation by Robyn Hadley, executive director of the “What’s After High School” Program in the Alamance-Burlington School System.

Cummings High School senior Shelby Oldham offered personal reflections, while Daniel Fernandez, the parent of an Alpha Class scholar, also gave a thank you in his own public comments during the program. Sandra Reid, a faculty member of the Department of Human Service Studies, addressed the crowd as well.

Elon University launched the Elon Academy in 2006 to give students from local high schools the opportunity to embrace education, develop leadership skills and engage in various outreach venues. Directed by professor Deborah Long, who speakers praised along with other faculty and staff instrumental to the program's success, the academy is welcoming its fourth class of students into the program this summer.

Modeled after similar programs at Princeton, Furman and Vanderbilt universities, the Academy is a year-round program for students in the Alamance-Burlington School System who have financial need or have no family history of college attendance. It combines three intensive four-week summer residential experiences at Elon with a variety of academic activities throughout the school year.

Its goal is to inspire and empower students to attend four-year colleges or universities, and go on to assume leadership roles in their communities.

Eric Townsend,
4/27/2010 9:52 AM