Academic leaders join Charlie Lyons' friends and family to honor him

7 December 2012

MAINE— Representatives from the Maine Community College System, the University of Maine System, and York County Community College gathered at YCCC on Dec. 7 to pay tribute to Dr. Charles Lyons, the college’s president for the past six years and a leader in Maine higher education for over two decades.  Dr. Lyons died of cancer in August of this year.

Charlie Lyons_pic

Charlie Lyons

Nearly 150 friends and fans of Charlie’s from across the state joined the Lyons family to dedicate the YCCC conference room, now the Charles M. Lyons Community Board Room. Colby Williams, a YCCC graduate and former president of the college’s Student Senate, assisted in the dedication and noted that: “Dr. Lyons door was always open, but even more impressive was the depth of his open heart and his open mind.  We are all inspired by his legacy, his work to provide opportunities for others to be great.”  

Speakers at the dedication also announced that two scholarship funds have been established to help carry on Dr. Lyons’ legacy:

• MCCS President John Fitzsimmons announced that the Maine Community College System has established the Dr. Charles M. Lyons Memorial Scholarship, a full tuition scholarship that YCCC will award annually to a second-year student; and

• Former UMS Chancellor Terry MacTaggart announced that the University System has also established a Dr. Charles M. Lyons Memorial Scholarship, a $2,000 scholarship that YCCC will award annually to a graduate going on to one of Maine’s universities.

In addition, President Fitzsimmons announced that at its meeting last week the MCCS Board of Trustees voted to confer President Emeritus Status on Dr. Lyons.  "Charlie brought joy to anyone who was in his presence,” he said.  “He was warm, engaging, and full of energy.  Charlie believed in the power of higher education to transform lives and spent his life making sure Maine people could achieve their dream of a college degree.”

During President Lyons’ tenure at YCCC, enrollment increased 77 percent, the college added eight new programs of study and was twice named one of the fastest growing community colleges in the country.

In addition to the legacy he leaves at York County Community College, Dr. Lyons held a variety of senior administrative posts within the University of Maine System, serving as president of both the University of Maine at Fort Kent (1996-2001) and the University of Maine at Augusta (2001-2006).  He also served for three years as vice chancellor of the University of Maine System.

As President Fitzsimmons noted in his remarks: "I hope that ten or fifty years from now students who meet in this conference room or who benefit from one of the scholarships being established here today will recognize and appreciate just how much Dr. Lyons was loved by all of us."