Education 2023: JAMES E. RYAN
PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA, CHARLOTTESVILLE
Ryan, who became the University of Virginia’s ninth president in 2018, has spearheaded several growth initiatives at the state’s flagship university, including the School of Data Science, a new performing arts center and the Karsh Institute of Democracy — all projects funded by donors, including a record 2019 gift of $120 million from alumni couple Jaffray and Merrill Woodriff for the data science school.
In January, U.Va. announced a $100 million donation from Charlottesville philanthropists Paul and Diane Manning to create a $300 million biotechnology institute to produce new medical treatments. U.Va. will contribute $150 million to the center, and the state has allocated $50 million in initial investments.
Ryan also has dealt with significant challenges as president, including the November 2022 mass shooting that claimed the lives of three football players and injured two other students, as well as the aftermath of the white nationalist march that took place on U.Va.’s Grounds the night before the deadly Unite the Right Rally.
Ryan, who previously served as dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, was a first-generation college student who graduated summa cum laude from Yale University and was first in his U.Va. law class.