Lyon College Convocation Speaker to Discuss ‘My Life as the Cemetery Angel’

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The Lyon College Convocation speaker series will continue Thursday, April 11, with a presentation by best-selling author Ruth Coker Burks, who will share “My Life as the Cemetery Angel” at 4 p.m. in the Nucor Auditorium of the Lyon Business and Economics Building on the Lyon College campus, 2300 Highland Rd., Batesville.

The free event is open to the public.

When the AIDS epidemic hit Arkansas in the early 1980s, Burks was a young mother in her early 20s. She didn’t have any medical training, but she took it upon herself to care for hundreds of AIDS patients who were abandoned by their families and the medical professionals who feared the disease.

Over the past 40 years, she’s cared for more than 1,000 people – often burying them herself in her family cemetery.

In 2017, she was awarded the Thom Weyand Unsung Hero Award by the National AIDS Memorial for her work in the darkest days of the epidemic. “The Book of Ruth,” a full-length feature film about Burks’ life and work, is currently in production.


About Lyon College

Lyon College, a private, liberal arts institution founded in 1872, is the oldest college in the state with its original charter. Ranked by US News & World Report as a 2023 “Best College,” Lyon currently enrolls almost 600 students from 26 states and seven countries. Students can tailor their education, selecting from 24 majors as well as select graduate, pre-professional and individualized options. Learn more at

Heather Pedersen

Heather Pedersen (125)

“Love is never wasted, for its value does not rest upon reciprocity.” -C.S. Lewis