Student research has found new support in the Dr. Richard A. Ryan Endowed Summer Science Fund, which will provide financial assistance to select students who conduct scientific research at the Colleges each summer. In particular, Ryan’s gift will create stipends that support students doing research with a particular emphasis on biology.
The Colleges’ summer research students produce a steady stream of published articles, support a research-active faculty, and develop the experience necessary to enter careers in the sciences and social sciences. With approximately 60 students participating each summer, the research program also plays a key role in preparing students for graduate work, an endeavor that 80 percent of Honors students in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields pursue.
HWS students have received national recognition following their research, including Rhodes, Marshall and Goldwater scholarships. Recently there has been an uptick in Fulbright scholarships, funding from the American Chemical Society and fellowships at the National Institutes of Health.
“Dr. Ryan wants to make a difference in the academic student experience, especially for those actively engaged in summer scientific research projects. He walked into our office one day and asked how he could help support these students,” states Ben Foster, senior director of leadership giving. “We are so appreciative of his generosity and continuing dedication to HWS.”
A professor emeritus of biology, Ryan taught at the Colleges for 35 years before retiring in 1987. With a reputation rooted in exceptional teaching and a steadfast commitment to the environment, Ryan published several articles on duck banding and received the Distinguished Faculty Award for his service to the Colleges.
After serving in the armed forces during World War II, Ryan earned his B.A., M.S. and Ph.D. in vertebrate zoology from Cornell University. With a passion for ornithology, Ryan led bird watching expeditions that were popular among students during his time at the Colleges.
Ryan is also the namesake of The Richard A. Ryan Field Station located at the Henry Hanley Biological Field Preserve, a 108-acre site owned by the Colleges and operated by the Biology Department. The Field Station serves as a base for conducting ecological research and on-site instruction.