Marianne Lyons, associate dean for student academic affairs at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, died Feb. 7 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Lyons had been a member of the Georgetown University community since the mid-1970s and had served as a nurse and administrator at the hospital, as well as as a senior administrator at the NHS, according to a university-wide email sent by Carole Roan Gresenz, interim dean at the NHS on Feb. 7.
Lyons encouraged the best from her colleagues and students and embodied Georgetown’s Jesuit values, according to Patricia Cloonan, former dean at the NHS.
“She believed that each of us has different gifts, and she worked to shine a light on the myriad talents of our students, staff and faculty,” Cloonan wrote in an email to The Hoya. “She embodied Georgetown’s ideals of ‘men and women for others’ and we were blessed to have her as a friend and colleague.”
Lyons encapsulated the university’s mission every day by academically advising students and educating the Georgetown community, according to Brian Floyd, assistant dean of academic affairs at the NHS.
“Dean Lyons was a shining example of the meaning of cura personalis and always stressed to us the importance of caring for the whole person through our student advising efforts while also developing our students in service for others,” Floyd wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Lyons received a master’s degree from the Maryland School of Nursing in Nursing Education in 1981 and began working at Georgetown in 2008. As an associate dean of enrollment management, Lyons supervised the administrative marketing and admissions teams to develop campus and online programming. She also worked with faculty who provided undergraduate and graduate NHS students academic advising, according to Lyons’ LinkedIn.
Lyons worked hard to make every member of the Georgetown community feel welcome at events and create a sense of community, according to Gresenz.
“She was an ever-present leader at school events, making sure that alumni, parents and families, students and faculty, and friends of the school felt genuinely welcome at commencements, family weekends, GAAP weekends, and reunions,” Gresenz wrote in a school-wide email. “Within St. Mary’s Hall, she tirelessly worked to nurture a strong sense of community.”
Lyons was always an advocate for her students and supported them with her kindness and compassion, according to Allan Angerio, associate dean at the NHS.
“It was an honor to work with Dean Lyons who would always say ‘ we are here for the students,’” Angerio wrote in an email to The Hoya. “She touched all of our students with her wisdom and love, as she did each of us.”
Lyons’ kindness and compassion towards everyone around her will be remembered by each person she worked with, according to Jennifer Ericson, assistant dean of academic affairs.
“Marianne was more full of goodness than anyone I’ve ever known,” Ericson wrote in an email to The Hoya. “She was a wonderful colleague, mentor, and friend. I will miss her every day but will continue to carry out our work with gratitude and love, in her memory.”
While at Georgetown, Lyons led the NHS to launch Georgetown’s first online degree program in 2011. She also supported fundraising efforts for St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a Jesuit high school in Nairobi for students who have lost parents to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, after traveling on a university sponsored trip to Kenya, according to the university-wide email.
Lyons’ career dedicated to service has left a lasting impact on all who worked with Lyons, according to Floyd.
“Because of the life Dean Lyons lived, the public service she rendered to our community, and kindness and compassion she provided for our students, staff and faculty that was the mark of her distinguished career, for which we all have a richer understanding of who we are as Americans and our journey as a people,” Floyd wrote. “Dean Lyons will be deeply missed, but her legacy is one that will surely endure.”
Lyons’s courage, leadership and commitment to the common good inspired Floyd throughout the 10 years he worked with her, he wrote.
“I was inspired daily by her dedication to the integration of learning, faith and service to those in our community,” Floyd wrote. “Her values were infectious and she will always remain a positive reminder to me of why I do what I do.”
NHS Communications Director Bill Cessato worked alongside Lyons for 13 years and will miss her positive and inspirational presence in St. Mary’s, he said.
“Stories brought tears to our eyes and smiles to our faces,” Cessato wrote in an email to The Hoya. “It is clear Marianne meant so much to each of us, and it is very difficult to imagine St. Mary’s Hall without her.”
Lyons is survived by her four sons Matthew, John, Daniel and Michael, as well as her mother, three brothers and three grandchildren. Donations may be made to St. Aloysius Gonzaga instead of flowers to the family, according to Legacy.com.
This article has been updated to clarify the duration of Lyons’s tenure at Georgetown.