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102 graduate at Lyon commencement
102 graduate at Lyon commencement

BATESVILLE, Ark. -- One hundred and two seniors received their undergraduate degrees Saturday at the Lyon College Commencement. Rain forced the ceremony into Becknell Gymnasium at the last minute. It’s usually held outside in Couch Garden.

Rain didn’t dampen the spirit of the graduates or the families, friends and Lyon faculty and staff who filled the gymnasium to see the grand finale of their academic career at the college.

In addition, honorary doctorate degrees were awarded to the Rev. Dr. William Branch, Jr., retired general presbyter of the Arkansas Presbytery, and to L. Dickson Flake, a partner in the state’s largest commercial real estate firm, and a member of the Lyon Board of Trustees for 20 years.

Albert Parnell, a 1965 alumnus of Lyon and a prominent attorney from Atlanta, Ga., was the guest speaker. 

Parnell sought to inspire the graduates with his own story of perseverance. He said he “barely graduated from high school” and that he was voted “least likely to succeed.” However, he went back to school to improve his grades and was admitted to Arkansas College (now Lyon) as a provisional student.

"Don’t quit," he told the graduating class. "There’s a hero inside everyone of us."

Photos of the commencement are available on the Lyon College website.