From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Lyons, Donald W., Sr.

(born: 1945) 

Donald W. Lyons, Sr. was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Joseph B. and Sam Ella Lyons. He has been an educator, librarian, and athletic director.

His teaching career began in Detroit, MI, in 1968, and continued in Kentucky in 1969.

Beginning in 1971, he was hired as a librarian at Kentucky State University and became the library director in 1976. During his tenure as library director, Lyons also taught freshman classes and was a supervisor of the first-year teacher interns who were employed at various Kentucky schools.

He left the library in 1989 to become Athletic Director at Kentucky State University, retiring in 1999. He is presently a Professor Emeritus.

Lyons is a graduate of the old Dunbar High School in Lexington; he earned his A.B. degree in history and political science at Kentucky State University. He earned a master's of library science from the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1971, thus becoming the fourth African American graduate of the program. [Mrs. George O'Rourke graduated from the UK Library School in 1966.] In 1994 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Faith Grant College (formerly Daniel Payne College) for outstanding work for the cause of African-Americans and in the field of education.

Lyons has served in leadership positions on committees within the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He is a past president of the Gamma Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and is Grammateus of the Delta Tau Boulé of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He was the 2008 recipient of the UK Libraries & School of Library and Information Science Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award.

Donald W. Lyons, Sr. is an active member of community organizations and within his church. He is also presently a trustee of the Kentucky State University Foundation, serving as the treasurer and executive secretary. He is the husband of Myra L. Briggs Lyons, the father of Donald, Jr. and Reginald Lyons, and was a brother of the late Joseph B. Lyons, Jr.

Information for this entry was taken, with permission, from the Donald W. Lyons biography.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Lyons, Donald W., Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-09-29 18:30:21