Edmund Lyon (1855-1920) was a noted manufacturer, inventor, humanitarian, and philanthropist in Rochester, New York. Mr. Lyon graduated with honors from the University of Rochester in 1877 and received his law degree from Columbia University in 1880. After practicing law for a short time, Edmund Lyon turned his attention to business, travel, and philanthropic endeavors, devoting himself passionately to education, most notably the education of deaf persons. During seven years of service at the Rochester School for the Deaf (then called the Western New York Institute for Deaf-Mutes), Mr. Lyon developed an intricate system of manual symbols to be used in speech training. His Lyon Phonetic Manual became a highly regarded resource and was used widely around the world. In 1895, Edmund Lyon was appointed Secretary of the New York State Board of Charities and subsequently was appointed by that Board as State Examiner of the nine schools for the deaf in New York State. In 1896, Mr. Lyon married Carolyn Hamilton Talcott, whom he had met at the Rochester School for the Deaf and who had taught there since 1879. The Lyons had three daughters.
Later, Mr. Lyon served as a trustee of both the Rochester Institute of Technology (1905-1920) and the Rochester School for the Deaf (1911-1920). He died on April 23, 1920. In 1980, the daughters of Edmund Lyon established the Edmund Lyon Memorial Lectureship. The purpose of this lectureship series is to bring distinguished speakers to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), one of the eight colleges of Rochester Institute of Technology. In the past, speakers have included distinguished deaf persons who have excelled in their careers with hearing colleagues in science, business, technology, industry, arts, or public service and who stand as models to the faculty and students of NTID for their career attainments. A current goal of the lectureship series is to bring in speakers whose expertise and scholarly contributions stand on the cutting edge of advancement in the education and career success of deaf persons.