From left: Kelsey, Michael and Julie Lyman

From left: Kelsey, Michael and Julie Lyman

After 32 years of teaching a myriad of criminal justice related classes at Columbia College, Dr. Michael Lyman feels like he learned just as much from his students as they did from him.

“I was always amazed throughout my time at the college, as much as I knew about policing and criminal justice, the questions that the students would ask and the concerns that they would have would remind me that there is always more to learn,” Lyman says. “You learn as you teach. Students teach you as you teach them, and it’s a very healthy, rewarding profession.”

Following his retirement as a professor in April, Lyman his wife, Julie and their daughter Kelsey, found a way to continue that cycle of knowledge with the formation of the Michael D. Lyman Criminal Justice Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship is focused on supporting a student from the college’s main campus day program with a declared major in criminal justice, a designated GPA and a minimum of 60 credit hours earned toward his or her degree.

Lyman, who is nationally renowned in the criminal justice professional community, has more than 40 years of experience in the field of policing. He has authored eight books on various topics including criminal investigation, drug trafficking and organized crime. He has also served as a source for national media outlets in high-profile criminal cases and has testified as a policing expert in federal courts throughout the country.

The former police officer made numerous contributions to the criminal justice program during his time at the college. He served as the chair of the Criminal Justice Department and initiated the development of the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program and the Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science program.

Lyman notes that the college played a vital role in his career. It offered him the opportunity to teach in a field he is passionate about while encouraging students to employ real-life tactics in response to hypothetical situations.

“My experience at the college had a huge impact on my life and my understanding of the criminal justice system,” Lyman says. “Policing is my specialty and my research agenda as well, so it impacted that every single day, in one way or another.”

The scholarship will be awarded this spring to one student. However, Lyman and his family hope to expand the scholarship through their future philanthropic gifts with the hopes of impacting several future criminal justice professionals in the future.

“The goal is to take the edge off financially for a student who may be having a difficult time making ends meet,” Lyman says. “It’s a culmination of a goal of ours to have another avenue of potential funding for students who want to go into law enforcement as a career.”

To learn how you make an impact on students for generations to come by supporting or endowing a scholarship, visit or contact the Office of Development at (573) 875-7563.