When John Ryan became president of Indiana University in 1971, he had many goals—one of which was to establish a public affairs school.
Considering his educational background in public administration, Ryan had a vision for an IU that served the state and the nation by educating public servants with a solid education in public administration. The field of environmental science was emerging, as well, and Ryan believed it was the perfect time to establish a new school that blended public administration and environmental science. That belief led to the founding of the then-School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 1972.
In honor of President Emeritus Ryan’s role in the founding of the O’Neill School, his colleagues and friends established the John W. Ryan Fellowships. On the occasion of the school’s 50th anniversary, President Ryan’s widow, Pat, and daughter, Kathleen, honored John Ryan by making significant contributions to the Ryan Fellowships. John W. Ryan Fellows spend a semester working with government or NGOs on key projects.
“John was the first in his family to attend college, getting his undergraduate degree with the aid of a Navy ROTC scholarship,” Pat Ryan said. “He was always interested in supporting students because getting his degree was difficult for him. He wanted to make it easier for students. This school is the culmination of a dream of his. He would be so pleased to see where it is today and the impact its graduates have made.”