Chris and Doug Lyon in a familiar location--a classroom in the Education & Business Hall.
They started as students in the School of Business Administration in the 1980s, and now they are a husband-and-wife team guiding SOBA students to their own business careers.
And if you ask Doug and Chris Lyon how their life paths led them on this big circle from students to the business world and back to Fort Lewis, they'll tell you it was just the way it was meant to be.
“What I loved about my education here was the small class sizes, the collegial campus, and the fact that the faculty knew me,” says Accounting instructor Chris Lyon. “The culture was great when we were students here, and it continues to be great today.”
“For me, the most exciting part about coming back to Fort Lewis was the opportunity to be part of the institution that gave me so much,” she adds. “We’re so happy to be raising our kids here in Durango, and to be teaching these incredibly bright and down-to-earth students.”
Chris today is the faculty advisor for Beta Alpha Psi, an honors organization for accounting and finance majors. Her husband, Doug, is an Associate Professor of Management, and also has been a Durango City councilman since 2005, including a stint as mayor of Durango in 2007. But it was the long and winding road through the real-world of business that prepared the Lyons for their successful return to their alma mater.
Doug Lyon and Chris Sander met in the Fall of 1987, when Doug was starting his final semester at Fort Lewis. Chris, who had graduated the year before and moved to Florida, had returned to Durango to work for Hesperus Ski Area.
As a couple, the pair left Durango for other learning experiences: graduate programs in Phoenix, Boulder, and Lexington, Kentucky; and professional work in tax, at Price Waterhouse, and with Chevron, Deloitte & Touche, and others in Denver, San Francisco, Kentucky, and Utah. Eventually, they both taught at Utah State University.
Oh, and they had two children along the way, too.
Yet between 1987, when the Lyons left Durango, and 2002, the year they returned as Fort Lewis faculty members, the Lyon family visited Durango every year but one. And every year when in town, Doug made sure to drop by the School of Business Administration at Fort Lewis to stay in touch with his faculty friends.
“As much as we loved where we were, we still hoped to eventually end up in Durango,” says Doug.
In the summer of 2001, the Lyons' chance to return came in the form of openings in SOBA. They applied, interviewed, and were soon offered positions. In 2002, the Lyon family completed their circle quest, and moved back to Durango.
Though the road back to Fort Lewis was a bit roundabout, Chris and Doug agree that it was worth the wait. “We spent 14 years working toward this,” says Doug. “Fort Lewis has outstanding faculty, and every single one of us here loves to teach. You can make a true difference in students’ lives, and that is an amazing feeling.”