This story appeared in the spring 2014 issue of Chapman Magazine.
New Schmid College Dean Andrew Lyon sees ample opportunities for collaboration and growth.
Andrew Lyon, Ph.D., is a renowned researcher who explores soft matter in the hard sciences. Perhaps that nod to overlapping disciplines and multilayered thought is why excitement surrounds his new appointment at Chapman University.
In July, he takes over as dean of Schmid College of Science and Technology, which encompasses everything from biochemistry to physics to software engineering.
It’s a dynamic time for Lyon, Schmid and the sciences at Chapman, where examples of the University’s expanding scientific reach abound. Among other things, Chapman is launching the new Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, growing the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine to include a third building, and raising funds to build a new home for the sciences on the main campus in Orange.
Currently chair of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech, Lyon was hired to lead Schmid College after a nationwide search.
“His interest in being part of the Chapman family illustrates our rising national presence and suggests exciting new opportunities for Schmid College,” said Chapman Chancellor Daniele Struppa, Ph.D. “We’re extraordinarily fortunate to have Andrew lead our continued growth in the sciences.”
For his part, Lyon said he’s energized to engage with “Chapman’s incredibly entrepreneurial leadership.”
“At Chapman, we can immerse students in experiential learning that is valid not just for content depth but also for on-the-job training,” he added.
As a researcher in soft-materials chemistry, Lyon led his own group, exploring colloid and polymer science. Areas of discovery include the self-healing properties of nanomaterials that when fully realized might help patients recover normal blood-clotting function and close wounds.
In also leading a school with 40 faculty members and 100 postdoctoral scholars and scientists, Lyon learned many valuable lessons in collaboration.
“You don’t have to give up something to work together; you just have to bring a larger toolset to solve bigger problems,” he said.
Lyon knew of Chapman from serving in scientific advisory roles for the Orange County-based Beckman Foundation. He says that joining the University as it more greatly emphasizes the sciences “is super exciting,” but not just from a scientific perspective.
“One cool thing about it is that I’m coming from a place where the liberal arts are not valued in the same way (they are at Chapman). I was a philosophy minor, and I love that connection. That’s one of the things about which I was wide-eyed as I walked around campus.
“This feels like what it should be, and the campus itself leaves an amazing impression.”