E. Wilson Lyon

E. Wilson Lyon
E. Wilson Lyon.jpg
6th President of Pomona College
In office
July 1, 1941 β€“ July 1, 1969
Preceded by Charles K. Edmunds
Succeeded by David Alexander
Personal details
Elijah Wilson Lyon

(1905-01-06)January 6, 1905
Heidelberg, Mississippi
Died March 4, 1989(1989-03-04) (aged 84)
Pomona, California
Spouse(s) Carolyn Lyon
Children Elizabeth, John
Alma mater University of Mississippi
St John's College, Oxford
Profession Academic

Elijah Wilson Lyon (1904 β€“ 1989) was an American diplomatic historian who was the sixth president of Pomona College from 1941 to 1969. Born in Mississippi, he studied at the University of Mississippi and Colgate University, and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.[1] During his tenure at Pomona, he guided the college through a transformational and turbulent period, and he is credited with helping shape it into a leading liberal arts institution. After his retirement, he wrote a history of the college, published in 1977.

Early life and career

Elijah Wilson Lyon was born in Heidelberg, Mississippi, in 1904. Lyon had planned on becoming a journalist, but history drew his interest later on in life. Lyon attended the University of Mississippi. As a result of his great academic rigor, his tenure as senior class president, and editor of the college newspaper, he won a Rhodes Scholarship to St. John's College, Oxford. When he returned to the United States, he became an assistant professor of history at Louisiana Polytechnic Institute, then at Colgate University. He was named head of the history department in 1934 at Colgate.[2]

Pomona College presidency

In 1941, Lyon was appointed president of Pomona College. He helped shape Pomona into a leading liberal arts institution. Lyon’s presidency was turbulent as it extended from the Second World War to Vietnam. He led Pomona through the birth of the civil rights movement and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. At Pomona, students protested about many college and national issues. During his term, the school's endowment rose from $3.5 million to over $22 million and the student body grew from 790 to 1,200.[3]

Following his retirement, he wrote a history of the college, published in 1977 as The History of Pomona College, 1887–1969. The account was praised by critics for its comprehensiveness and objectivity.[4][5][6]


  1. ^ "E. Wilson Lyon, 84, Ex-College President". The New York Times. March 24, 1989. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  2. ^ "E.W. Lyon, 84; Ex-President of Pomona College". Los Angeles Times. March 5, 1989. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  3. ^ "President E. Wilson Lyon". Pomona College Timeline. Pomona College. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  4. ^ Pflueger, Donald H. (1979). "Review of The History of Pomona College, 1887-1969". Southern California Quarterly. 61 (2): 212–215. doi:10.2307/41170824. ISSN 0038-3929. JSTOR 41170824. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  5. ^ Rolle, Andrew (1979). "Review of The History of Pomona College, 1887-1969". Pacific Historical Review. 48 (4): 620–621. doi:10.2307/3638713. ISSN 0030-8684. JSTOR 3638713. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Ringenberg, William C. (1978). "Review of The History of Pomona College, 1887-1969". The American Historical Review. 83 (5): 1351–1352. doi:10.2307/1854869. ISSN 0002-8762. JSTOR 1854869. Retrieved August 24, 2020.

Further reading

  • Webb, Elizabeth Lyon (January 1, 2009). The Education of a Mississippian: The Early Life of E. Wilson Lyon. Pomona College. ISBN 9780981895512.

External links

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