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Cliff and Sig Ryan honored for gift
Trine University president Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., presents a framed plaque and photograph to Cliff and Sig Ryan Sept. 30 during a dedication ceremony for the Ryan Skywalk, which is named in their honor.
Trine dedicates Ryan Skywalk
ANGOLA, Ind. – Trine University alumni, friends and employees gathered in the Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium Hospitality Suite to honor trustee and alumnus Cliff Ryan and his wife, Sig, Friday morning during the dedication ceremony for the Ryan Skywalk.
“Cliff and Sig Ryan are people who see endless possibilities,” said Trine president Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D. “When they first saw the architectural renderings of our capital improvements on campus, they both were struck by the image of a skywalk. They liked the idea of an iconic, modern structure becoming the focal point of campus.”
The Ryans are natives of Angola, and Cliff Ryan came to Tri-State College to study accounting. He was a good student who earned the respect of his professors and classmates. Shortly into his college career, though, money became tight, and dropping out of college became a real possibility. A professor saw his potential and awarded him the Vern Jones Scholarship to help him pay his tuition.
Thanks to the scholarship, Ryan finished school, graduating cum laude, and went on to become the owner and chief executive officer of United Wastewater Services Inc. He started his career as a CPA with Price Waterhouse & Co. and then went onto administrative roles at Dubois Chemicals and Johnson group. In 1987, Ryan took a risk and purchased a small environmental company specializing in the recycling of non-hazardous industrial oils and other waste streams. Over the next 17 years, he grew the company to become a dominant supplier of disposal and recycling services for many customers in a five-state region. In 2004, he sold the company, but still remains active on the board of directors.
“The first time I met Cliff, he quickly inquired about the continued existence of the scholarship that allowed him to stay in school and be successful,” Brooks said. “He next reached in his pocket and handed me a check which totally repaid the scholarship he received, his gesture to do the same for someone else. He has been involved with the university ever since, joining the board of trustees in 2009.”
The Ryans also are major contributors to the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts, and the Ryan Concert Hall is named in their honor. They saw funding the center as a way of preserving an important piece of their hometown community for future generations to enjoy.
“They support many aspects of life at this university, and the Ryans are helping to bridge the best of academics and athletics,” Brooks said. “Our primary focus at Trine is all about quality academics, and some of our best and brightest students are athletes.”
This year, 75 Thunder student-athletes were named to the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s Honor Roll. More than 650 of Trine students voluntarily play on one of the university’s 22 NCAA Division III teams.
“Athletics and academics combine to provide opportunities for students to build friendships, character and perseverance, all the qualities the Ryans have,” Brooks said.
To share your news, contact Trine University communication specialist Lindsay Winslow Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.