Iowa DNR director Kayla Lyon graduates from ISU this weekend

Lyon was one course shy of her degree when she was appointed in June

Iowa DNR director Kayla Lyon, photographed at Blue Strawberry in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. (Liz Martin/The
Iowa DNR director Kayla Lyon, photographed at Blue Strawberry in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon will graduate from Iowa State University this weekend.

Lyon will earn a Bachelor’s degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, DNR Spokesman Alex Murphy confirmed. She will not participate in commencement ceremonies Friday or Saturday, he said.

Lyon was appointed June 26 to lead the 1,400-employee agency charged with protecting wildlife, enforcing environmental laws and providing outdoor recreation venues for Iowans, among other duties. The Iowa Senate will vote on Lyon’s appointment early next year.

Lyon, 35, of Ames, enrolled at ISU in Fall 2002 and was majoring in agricultural communications. She was president of the Dairy Science Club in 2005-2006 and participated in the groundbreaking for the ISU Dairy Farm and Ag Discovery Center.

She was last enrolled at ISU in fall 2007, but did not earn a degree at that time, the university told The Gazette in July.

“Director Lyon chose to focus on her career path, along with raising her family, but has recently decided it is an appropriate time for her to return to complete the one final course she needs to earn her degree,” Murphy said at that time.

Lyon took her last class this fall. She declined to say in November what course she was taking.


Lyon’s boss, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, 60, earned her Bachelor’s degree from ISU in December 2016, The Gazette reported.

Reynolds, who was open about her goal to finish her education, started at Upper Iowa University and included in her coursework night and online classes, her spokesman told the Washington Post in 2016. She graduated with an ISU degree in Liberal Studies degree with concentrations in political science, business management and communications.

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