- M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, both in Horticultural Science
- B.A. in Biology from Rutgers College of Rutgers University
- From 1998 – 2004, Dr. Lyons held the J.C. Raulston Distinguished Professor chair in Horticultural Science at NC State University where he was also the Director of the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, N.C. From 1981 – 1998, he was Professor of Horticulture at Virginia Tech and also Co-founder/Director of the VT Horticulture Gardens.
- Consulting Editor for the Public Horticulture section of HortTechnology.