Lyon College received a gift of $1 million, which officials pledge to use to help students, a school representative said.
The college in Batesville got word last month that the John W. Edwards trust was donating $1 million to the institution after the last living heir, John Preston Edwards, died. The donation marked the largest gift by a Batesville resident. Officials made the gift public on Friday.
David Hutchison, Lyon College's vice president for advancement, said the college wants to use the money to expand opportunities for first-generation students and to provide better support to students, but the board of trustees will determine the exact use of the donation.
The gift requires the college to use it to the institution's greatest need and without restriction, Hutchison said.
Community leaders agree that the gift will positively affect Batesville.
"Any investment into Lyon College is an investment in the community," Mayor Rick Elumbaugh said.
Lyon alumnus Gene Crawford agreed. He has strong ties to both the community and the college. Crawford graduated in 1985, and multiple family members have attended Lyon.
"Growth for Lyon means growth for Batesville," Crawford said.
Elumbaugh views Lyon as a partner to Batesville.
"If Lyon College does well, our economy does well," Elumbaugh said.
Lyon provides jobs and opportunities in the town, he said. Its students also contribute to Batesville, volunteering with multiple organizations and buying merchandise in the area.
"Our students are a big part of our community," Elumbaugh said.
Crawford said the Edwards family has long supported the college. He remembers when he was a sophomore and the dining hall addition to the Edwards Commons opened -- funded by John W. Edwards. The addition changed student life for the better.
"The Edwards family has supported the college for decades," Crawford said.
The Edwards family set up the trust before the college changed its name to Lyon in 1994. Lyon officials only found out about the trust last month when John Preston Edwards died, leaving no heirs, Hutchison said.
"It was a bit of a surprise," Hutchison said.
The largest gift to the college is $10 million by Frank Jr. and Jane Lyon, from whom the college takes its name, Hutchison said.
Hutchison said John W. Edwards was "also just a big supporter of the Presbyterian church, and Lyon is a Presbyterian college, and also just a big supporter of all things Batesville."
Edwards was on the board of trustees and continually supported the college, Hutchison said.
Crawford said he is sure Lyon will use this gift to improve the college, benefiting its students and Batesville.
"That is a significant gift for our college," Crawford said.
The gift can only improve the relationship between Batesville and Lyon, which Crawford said has "always been a strong relationship and growing stronger."
Metro on 03/09/2019
Print Headline: Trust's $1M gift to aid Lyon College students