A semiretired insurance company owner is starting a University of Arizona scholarship fund in response to the Jan. 8 shooting rampage.

Phil Lyons, part owner of Chicago insurance firm New Century Planners LLC, wants to establish a fund for the UA's school of government and public policy in the name of slain 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green and Daniel Hernandez, an intern working for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who is credited with helping to save her life.

Setting a deadline of Feb. 18, Lyons said he will match the first $50,000 that others donate to the fund, then match the next $150,000 donated with another $50,000, with the goal of establishing the fund at $250,000.

Lyons, 75, moved to Arizona with his wife, Carol, in 1999. The couple spend winters in Tucson and summers in Flagstaff.

Lyons said he was floored by the heroism of Hernandez because the intern ran toward gunfire, and he was deeply saddened by the death of Christina-Taylor.

He wants to help students who demonstrate her zeal for learning about government and public service.

He said the idea to establish the scholarship came to him after watching the Jan. 12 memorial service.

"I thought I'd sleep on it and be sure this was not an emotional thing that hit me," Lyons said, adding that his wife supported the gesture. "I'd see what I'd feel like in the morning. I've felt the same way."


Those interested in contributing to the scholarship fund can send donations to Ginny Healy, senior director of development for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the UA:

Ginny Healy

The University of Arizona

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Douglass 200W

P.O. Box 210028

Tucson, AZ 85721-0028

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at pvillarreal@azstarnet.com or 573-4130.