Colleagues remember government professor emeritus Lyons

by Anthony Lafontant | 1/14/13 11:00pm

Correction appended

Government professor emeritus Eugene Lyons will be remembered for his passion for international affairs and decades-long service to the College, according to faculty who knew him. He died of complications from Parkinson's disease and a stroke on Jan. 10. He was 88 years old.

Lyons worked at the College for 37 years before retiring in 1994. He continued to return to the College to serve on panels and give lectures after his retirement.

"He was a man of great influence and very committed to his field and profession," said Lyons' son Mark Lyons. "His legacy, in a way, was for people to think of themselves in the context of the world and not solely in terms of their immediate goals."

Lyons mentored many of the students who passed through his classroom and remained close with them for years after they graduated, according to his son.

Faculty recalled his deep sense of purpose in regard to international affairs and optimism for a more peaceful world.

"He always said that there were plenty of smart people in the world, and the trick was to find the good ones, the ones who used their gifts for the betterment of others," associate director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding Christianne Wohlforth said.

His enthusiasm endeared him to the student body, and he was a popular professor, according to Wohlforth.

Government professor Richard Winters said that Lyons was comfortable in the classroom and tended to teach international affairs from both empirical and philosophical angles.

Lyons initially came to Dartmouth in 1957 to teach military education. After completing of his PhD at Columbia University in 1958, Lyons became an associate professor at the College and, in 1961, took over as director of the "Great Issues" course at the College. When the course was canceled in 1966, he was part of a group of faculty members that petitioned for the creation of the Dickey Center. In 1995 to 1997, Lyons later served as acting director of the Dickey Center, bringing former Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar to speak to students at the Dickey Center's fifth anniversary. Lyons also served as the associate dean of social sciences from 1974 to 1978, as well as the director of the now-defunct Public Affairs Center from 1961 to 1966 and again from 1973 to 1975.

During his academic career, Lyons also taught at a number of other institutions, including the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Paris. He authored several books on a variety of subjects, including international relations and military education. He was also involved with the National Academy of Sciences, the United Nations International Refugee Organization, the U.N. Korean Reconstruction Agency and the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

"Gene was a highly-regarded and well-respected international relations scholar," Winters said. "He will most certainly be missed by both his academic peers and his former students."

Lyons was born in Revere, Mass. and attended Tufts University. He later served in the U.S. military during World War II and was awarded a Bronze Star before attaining an advanced degree at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland in 1949. Lyons later went on to work with the U.N. to aid with post-war displacement of millions of refugees across Eastern Europe. Between 1948 and 1952, Lyons served as the chief of management for the U.N. International Refugee Organization and, following the end of the Korean War, worked with the U.N. Korean Reconstruction Agency until 1956.

**The original version of this article misidentified the number of years that Lyons spent at the College. He worked for 37 years, from 1957 to 1994.*