Mary Eilleen Lyon retiring from GVSU

Associate Vice President of Communications Mary Eilleen Lyon poses for a photo

After a 20-year career leading University Communications at Grand Valley, Associate Vice President Mary Eilleen Lyon is retiring March 17. 

Since her arrival in 2002, Lyon spearheaded the transformation of what was then News and Information Services into a department publishing content across multimedia platforms with significant growth in personnel and technological advancements. When she arrived, the department had a staff of five with three writers and one still photographer. It now fields a staff of 14 professionals involved with writing, social media, photography, videography and motion graphics. 

Lyon was selected for her role by recently retired Vice President Emeritus Matthew E. McLogan, joining Grand Valley after an award-winning career as a television news anchor and correspondent for network affiliates in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

“As a respectful admirer of Mary Eilleen’s journalistic reputation, I was delighted when she applied to head Grand Valley’s communications team,” McLogan said. “I thought she demonstrated the right skills to guide us as the university addressed the rapidly changing world of multimedia convergence.  

“Mary Eilleen and the talented team she assembled successfully positioned Grand Valley as a leader whose communications initiatives have been — and continue to be — copied by other educational institutions. Her creativity, integrity and wise counsel, now in her third decade of service, have benefited Grand Valley exceptionally well.”

Lyon was appointed to the President’s Cabinet by President Emeritus Thomas J. Haas, and the President’s Council by current President Philomena V. Mantella, developing and implementing strategic communications for the university. 

Associate Director of Digital & Print Publications Michele Coffill, who has worked with Lyon for her entire career at the university, said that Lyon has been integral in the department’s evolution.

“Mary Eilleen did a great job evolving University Communications to meet the rapidly changing needs of Grand Valley,” Coffill said. “Our staff handled communications for every university initiative over the past 20 years, from growing a presence in Detroit to managing pandemic communications, and Mary Eilleen led that charge.

The department is responsible for several award-winning print and digital publications: GVNext, Grand Valley Magazine and Forum, a bi-weekly online newsletter for faculty and staff. It also handles media requests, public relations, and event and crisis communications. 

The photography staff produces visual elements for University Communications’ print and digital publications and Exposure, a photo essay website, and provides photography services for departments and organizations across campus.

The social media team handles the strategic management of Grand Valley’s and President Mantella’s social platforms across Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram and LinkedIn as well as consultation for other campus departments’ accounts. Each account continues to grow in followers and impact. 

The video department creates videos for GVNext and Grand Valley’s YouTube channel and provides web streaming services for campus departments and live sporting events for FloSports.

“The last two decades at Grand Valley have provided a tremendous opportunity for me professionally and personally,” Lyon said. “I am grateful for the exceptional leaders and colleagues that I had the good fortune to work with while moving the university forward to where it is today. GVSU continues to grow in its importance to its students and alumni, the region and the state.”


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