Getting to know...the Alumni Office’s Shawn Lyons
October 21, 2010
Shawn Lyons, Associate Vice President for Development and1. Position at Centre?
Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs
2. Where did you grow up (and describe the place in one phrase or sentence)?
I’m an “Army brat.” Born in Germany (West Germany at the time), started school in South Korea, and lived in California, Kansas, Alabama, Ohio (twice) and Virginia (twice) before coming to Centre as a freshman in 1977
3. What are your hobbies?
I referee soccer. I used to have a pretty big collection of reptiles and amphibians, but I’m down to two snakes—exactly two more than my wife and son want.
4. What is your dream vacation?
Any place warm and quiet
5. Favorite artist and/or work of art?
It would have to be “Ruby Cheeks Jones,” one of Steve Powell’s early pieces that my wife and I bought each other to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary.
6. Favorite novel or poem?
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
7. Favorite sport (to watch or play)?
I’m a football guy at heart, but I love soccer and hockey.
8. Favorite TV show?
The Middle. I swear the writers have our house bugged.
9. Favorite album?
Probably Best of Cream. It was the first album I owned.
10. Favorite holiday?
Gotta be Thanksgiving.
11. Favorite food?
My grandmother’s—and now my mother’s—homemade doughnuts
12. Most prized possession?
Probably a signed copy of a book my father wrote about the American WWII cemeteries in Europe, If These Stones Could Talk.
13. Three people, living or deceased, who you’d invite to the same dinner party?
Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Emeril Lagasse (but only if he prepares the dinner)
14. Favorite aspect of your job?
Getting to work with all kinds of folks who are excited about what Centre College does in the lives students and how their philanthropy can make Centre even better
15. Most memorable experience of your youth?
Family trips to Jackson, Ohio (where my parents grew up), to visit grandparents and other relatives every chance we got
16. What would you be doing if you weren't working at Centre?
I always thought I’d either be a high school teacher and football coach or work at a zoo.
17. Educational experience that's been most helpful to you?
Student teaching my senior year at Centre. I probably learned more biology (my major) that term than in the previous three and a half years by doing preparations for 10th grade biology classes. The fear of being stumped by a high school sophomore was a powerful motivator.
18. Fictional character in whose shoes you’d love to spend a day?
19. Favorite place on campus (and why)?
Benefactors Plaza. It’s inspiring to me to be reminded that for almost two centuries, people have cared deeply enough about the power of this place to make really extraordinary gifts to sustain and improve the College. Behind each one of those markers is a great story about somebody who thought one thing they could do to change the world was to support Centre College.
20. Advice you'd give to a first-year college student to make success more likely?
Do something outside your comfort zone—often.