The best legacies offer their heirs roots and wings. That’s especially true for Dr. Corey Lyon (B.S., ‘96) whose family includes three generations of Rams.
Lyon is a board-certified, family physician and currently serves at the University of Colorado School of Medicine as both the associate vice chair of clinical affairs for the Department of Family Medicine as well as the associate program director of the Family Medicine Residency.
Practicing “full scope” family medicine (i.e., treating everything from broken arms to heart disease) requires a broad set of medical and interpersonal skills. Lyon enjoys the challenge while also attending to hospitalized patients and providing obstetric and newborn care. Alongside being a highly versatile physician, Lyon cherishes his role overseeing the experiential learning of residents, young doctors completing their three-year residencies at the hospital.
“We train our doctors to be able to go anywhere, into any community, and provide care that’s needed. Part of what I want to do is be able to model that as a teacher. So, I still take calls, I still go in and deliver babies in the middle of the night and take care of moms and babies the next day.”
Lyon’s humble yet hardworking approach to his profession certainly reflects the can-do character and spirit of Colorado State University – a place he knew well before starting his career.
Big Things Often Start Small
Lyon was born in Aurora, Colorado, to Penny and Dennis Lyon (B.S., ’70), both of whom attended Colorado State University. Dennis, a graduate of the Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture in the College of Agricultural Sciences, managed Aurora’s public golf courses for 35 years.
At some point during high school, Lyon’s interest in science sparked his desire to become a physician. When considering universities, he thought the University of Colorado was the likely choice because of its medical school. “But none of the universities I visited felt right,” he said. “I always knew I would go to CSU. My parents went there, so my siblings and I definitely had a lot of exposure to the university growing up.”
The Adventure Begins
Soon after arriving on campus, Lyon met MaryLydia Trevillian (B.S., ‘96), the youngest in a family of four from Virginia. “We were dorm sweethearts in Ingersoll Hall,” he recounts. The two of them kept busy, though, he was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and involved with ASCSU, becoming vice president his senior year; she was a Dean’s Scholars Scholarship recipient and a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology.
After graduating in 1996, Lyon attended medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences for four years. He and MaryLydia married in 1998; while he was in medical school, she began her career in human resources.
To help defray the cost of medical school, Lyon applied for a Health Professions Scholarship offered by three branches of the United States military and was accepted by the U.S. Navy. Following graduation, he completed his family-medicine residency training at the Naval Hospital Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida. While there, MaryLydia gave birth to two of their three daughters, Alexandra and Cassandra.
After his residency, and to fulfill his service obligation to the Navy, Lyon and his family were stationed for three years at the Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, Italy. “The naval hospital was a great place to serve because the Navy really values family medicine. It was a really good experience to solidify my skills and to work in such an amazing environment with amazing people.” The couple’s third daughter, Madison, was born there in 2007.
Catching the Teaching Bug
Lyon was a young physician, and several of the other Navy doctors were more senior and had already served in faculty positions at training programs. “They were more like mentors to me and helped grow my skills,” said Lyon, who began to see himself doing that kind of work for others, a role he was already performing by onboarding young physician assistants.
When preparing to leave the Navy in 2007, Lyon decided to pursue academic medicine. His first position in the field was in Kansas City, Missouri, with a residency program at a community hospital. The program was not affiliated with a university, but in 2011 he made the move to CU’s School of Medicine, a large academic program on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
Lyon expected to give up some of the relationships with patients when deciding to split his time between teaching and practicing, and he did. But he gained something else. “I exchanged relationships with families for relationships with my learners. Being part of the journey of a young physician becoming a board-certified family physician is really rewarding.”
The Third Generation Begins
If legacy is defined as a personal history of traditions inspiring the next generation to reach even higher, then the Lyon legacy has served the family well.
In 2018, Alex Lyon, the couple’s oldest daughter began attending Colorado State. She is a senior at the College of Business studying business administration with a concentration in accounting in the College of Business. Her younger sister, Cassie, began attending CSU this fall and is studying health and exercise science at the College of Health and Human Sciences.
As part of considering universities to attend, both daughters visited other schools, but like their grandparents, their parents, an uncle, and two aunts, Colorado State was the winning choice – one perhaps they were predisposed to as babies, “All of them grew up wearing CSU onesies,” Lyon said.
“CSU has done a great job figuring out how to provide education and opportunities to its students, and make every student feel like they are important,” said Lyon. “The way campus has evolved over the past twenty years, it’s only gotten better, and Fort Collins is such an amazing town that’s all about community. It’s a great place for my daughters to grow into adulthood.”
Ringing in Commencement
In recognition of the Lyon family and its multi-generational legacy at Colorado State University, the Alumni Association invited them to be the honorary Old Main Bell ringers to commemorate the December 2021 graduates.
Alex, who is graduating this month, completed her coursework in three and a half years but still found time to be a member of the Women in Business Association and serve as an officer in the Finance Club. She also worked as a tutor in the accounting lab where she offered fun and creative test preparation sessions, often attracting more than 100 students.
Last summer, Alex completed an internship with RSM, a global financial consulting firm, and in the spring, begins a second internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers. In the fall of 2022, Alex plans to return to CSU for a master’s degree in accountancy before taking the exam to become a certified public accountant.
That’s how legacies are built: one generation at a time.