LANL Foundation Announces Pete And Elaine Lyons Endowed Memorial Scholarship


The LANL Foundation on Monday formally announced the establishment of the Pete and Elaine Lyons Endowed Memorial Scholarship, in honor of the two long-time Los Alamos residents, who both placed a high value on education. The scholarship is being funded by initial donations from the families of the three sons of Pete and Elaine Lyons: Dan, Dave, and Mike. The scholarship will be open to all graduating high school seniors in northern New Mexico planning to pursue a four-year college degree.  The scholarship’s focus is on students showing both academic excellence and a demonstrated financial need.

Pete and Elaine’s sons established the scholarship in their parents’ honor. Dan said, “We loved the idea of working with the LANL Foundation to create this scholarship since education was so important to both of our parents.”

Pete and Elaine first moved to Los Alamos in 1969 when Pete started a 30+ year career at the then Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL). The couple raised their three sons in White Rock, who all went to Los Alamos public schools, ultimately graduating from Los Alamos High School in the late 1980s and early 90s. During Pete’s tenure at the Laboratory, he also served more than 12 years on the Los Alamos School Board in the 1970s and 80s, several of those as president.

At Pete’s recent memorial, a theme among the speakers was his passion for education and mentoring the next generation, not only at the Laboratory in Los Alamos, but also during his time working for Sen. Domenici, at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and at the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy. Many speakers who worked with and for Pete recounted how he had gone out of his way to help create opportunities for them, as well as for staff at all levels of the organizations where he worked.

Education was a significant part of Elaine’s life as well. She followed in the footsteps of many in her family who had been teachers in one-room schoolhouses in tiny Midwest farming towns. Elaine initially taught history at a high school in Pasadena, California, while Pete was completing his doctorate at CalTech; however, it was not until after moving to Los Alamos that she discovered her true passion: early childhood education.

Dave recalled, “She worked for more than fifteen years teaching at Little Forest Playschool in Los Alamos, ensuring that she would be greeted all over town like a celebrity from those under five years old, calling out her name: Elaine, Elaine.”

Mike added, “When we were talking about establishing a scholarship under our parents’ name, we were confident they would have wanted us to emphasize creating opportunities for those with a financial need.”

The three Lyons sons concluded, “All three of us are very thankful to the LANL Foundation for working with us to establish this scholarship. The LANL Foundation has a special place in our family’s hearts, as our Dad helped establish the Foundation while working for Senator Domenici.  We’re thrilled to honor both of our parents’ passion for education through this memorial scholarship, and we look forward to seeing scholarship funds flow to deserving students across northern New Mexico.”