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Why We Give: Jay and Lynn Lykins

Jay and Lynn Lykins

From travelling the world to settling in Colorado, and from living on a tight budget to starting endowed scholarships, Jay and Lynn Lykins have lived a full life of service to the Lord. Now, they are focused on impacting the next generation, from their grandkids to future Covenant Scots.

Jay’s journey to Christ, and eventually to Covenant College, is a bit different than that of most Scots. He first stepped foot on Covenant’s campus while playing basketball for the University of West Georgia in 1965. When his team arrived under Carter’s stone arches to compete against the Scots, Jay remembers being greeted with a Salisbury steak dinner in the Great Hall. “The Covenant basketball players wanted to get close to us. They were friendly, and I wasn’t entirely sure why, but something was different about them.”

As a young man, Jay’s life took several swift turns (including dropping out of college and joining the Navy), but in 1969, the most drastic change came when God called Jay to Himself. Jay asked the girl next door out on a date, but after several dates, Lynn told him that she could not continue the relationship because she was a Christian and he was not. Unswayed, he asked what it meant to be a Christian. Lynn shared the Gospel with Jay and his life as a Christian began. They soon married in January, 1970.

While Jay returned to school at a community college, the young couple joined a house church where they met a Reformed Presbyterian (RPCES) minister named George Soltau. George reintroduced Jay to Covenant College, and in 1971, Jay enrolled as a junior pursuing business.

At Covenant, Jay learned biblical values, Reformed theology, and how to incorporate his faith into everyday life. He says the entire community and faculty shaped him, strengthened his faith, and prepared him for his life and career. Still new to following Jesus, Covenant offered him a solid foundation for his growing faith and his understanding of theology.

Several years after Jay graduated, YoungLife contacted him about a job in their accounting department. The Lykins soon found themselves working internationally. Jay was asked to develop and manage a new department focused on starting small businesses in third-world countries. From helping a family in Peru open a donut shop to working with Compassion International in Haiti, Jay still found time to earn his MBA in Third-World Economic Development, and then a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Oxford University. Eventually, he started an organization called Global Reach to help churches and Christian non-profits who work in international economic development.

While the Lykins found great fulfillment in their work with nonprofits and third-world communities, they lived on a small paycheck and a tight budget. In the mid-90s, they were $30,000 in debt. Still, they had no regrets about their chosen path. In Jay’s words, “Where else could we have gotten the experience, seen the things, done the things we’ve done together?” The Lord provided, and the Lykins were faithful to keep pressing on in their work.

Practicing generosity was a part of Lynn’s background, but Jay was not raised in a Christian home, so tithing was a new part of his Christian life. The Lykins valued giving to their church, but they also lived generously by sacrificing a potentially wealthy life from Jay’s business career so that they could give time and energy to developing businesses overseas.

While living in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, Lynn started working for the U.S. Embassy. After working and living overseas for several years, they returned to the States in 2001 so Jay could get some health issues resolved. In the meantime, Lynn applied to work for the U.S. Department of State, and when she was offered the opportunity to move to Israel to work full-time in foreign service, Jay told Lynn, “You’ve followed me around the world for the last 30 years. Now it’s my turn to follow you.” They spent the next decade working in foreign service, living in Israel, Iraq, Jordan, Zimbabwe, and China. Now, working in the State Department’s Foreign Service, their financial situation improved. The Lord blessed their efforts.

In 2012, after living in over ten different countries, visiting countless others, and after both leading careers they enjoyed, the Lykins retired to Estes Park, Colorado. They began giving to Covenant’s annual fund and several other organizations while continuing to faithfully give to their church. Jay has made it a point to increase their giving by ten percent each year to the organizations they support, including Covenant. Eventually, the Lykins made the generous decision to fund a scholarship at Covenant College for students who want to work in community and economic development. Jay and Lynn put aside college funds for each of their eight grandchildren, and Jay did his best to ensure that Lynn and his children will be provided for when he passes away. Then, they wanted to give out of the bounty left to them.

The Lykins’ desire to live generously comes from their hearts and their trust in the Lord. In Jay’s words, “You can’t tell somebody, ‘You have to give more.’ You have to show them. I didn’t choose to give because someone told me I needed to; I became convicted of it.”

When Jay and Lynn think about the fact that their endowed scholarship will continue at Covenant forever, they are filled with excitement. They can already picture the first student who will benefit from their scholarship in the fall of 2022.

To those who are considering making a large gift to their church, Covenant College, or any other institution, Jay asks, “Why are you thinking about it? Why aren’t you doing it? There must be something that’s gotten you to this point and God has put it on your heart, so what’s holding you back?”


Graduate School of Education

Undergraduate Departments, Majors, Minors, Certificates, Concentrations, and Programs

Academic Certificates

  • Arts Administration
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability
  • Journalism and Society
  • Medical Ethics Consultation
  • Neuroscience
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)


  • Art, 2-D Concentration 
  • Art, 3-D Concentration 
  • Art, Art History Concentration 
  • Art, Graphic Design Concentration 
  • Art, Photography Concentration 
  • Art minor
  • Art History minor

Biblical & Theological Studies

  • Biblical & Theological Studies 
  • Biblical & Theological Studies, Missions Concentration 
  • Biblical & Theological Studies minor
  • Biblical Languages minor
  • History of Christianity minor
  • Missions minor
  • Youth Ministry minor


  • Biology, Biomedical Concentration 
  • Biology, Environmental Concentration 
  • Biology, General 
  • Biology, Health Professions Concentration 
  • Biology minor


  • Business 
  • Business, Accounting Concentration 
  • Business, Finance Concentration 
  • Business, Marketing Concentration 
  • Sport Management 
  • Business minor
  • Sport Management minor


  • Chemistry, Biochemistry Concentration 
  • Chemistry, General 
  • Biochemistry minor
  • Chemistry minor

Community Development

  • Community Development 
  • Community Development minor

Computer Science

  • Computer Science 
  • Computer Science minor


  • Economics 
  • Economics minor


  • Education Studies 
  • Elementary Education (P-5) 
  • Secondary Education Certifications through MAT program 
  • Education minor

Engineering 3:2 Program

  • Natural Science, Pre-Engineering Studies Concentration


  • English 
  • English, Writing Concentration 
  • English minor
  • Writing minor

Health, Wellness and Coaching

  • Coaching minor

History, Politics, and International Studies

  • History 
  • History, Art History Concentration 
  • Political Science 
  • International Studies 
  • History minor
  • Political Science minor

Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Interdisciplinary Studies with Concentrations 


  • Mathematics 
  • Mathematics minor


  • Music, Church Music Concentration 
  • Music, Creative Studies Concentration 
  • Music, General Music Concentration 
  • Music, Instrumental Performance Concentration 
  • Music, Music Education (Pre-MAT) Concentration 
  • Music, Organ Performance Concentration 
  • Music, Piano Pedagogy Concentration 
  • Music, Piano Performance Concentration 
  • Music, Vocal Performance Concentration 
  • Music minor


  • Philosophy 
  • Philosophy minor


  • Physics 
  • Physics minor

Pre-Professional Programs

  • Pre-Law Studies 
  • Pre-Medical Studies 
  • Pre-Nursing Studies 
  • Pre-Physical Therapy Studies 


  • Psychology 
  • Psychology minor


  • Sociology 
  • Sociology, Family Studies & Social Work Concentration 
  • Sociology minor


  • Theatre minor

World Languages

  • French 
  • Spanish 
  • French minor
  • Spanish minor