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Alumni donate $1 million to create scholarship fund for underrepresented students

A $1 million donation from Miami University alumni will fund a new scholarship program for entrepreneurship majors in financial need or from underrepresented communities. 

Alumni Jim and Michelle Ryan, both of the class of ’80, recently founded the Ryan Family Scholars Program. This initiative will give 16 students minoring or co-majoring in entrepreneurship a $20,000 renewable scholarship over six years. 

Kirk Bogard, the assistant dean of the Farmer School of Business (FSB), said the program will support students with their tuition, room and board and course fees. 

“Their gift to create the Ryan Family Scholars Program aligns well with their personal values and those of the Farmer School,” Bogard said. “We intend to leverage this program for future fundraising initiatives to benefit additional students.” 

Bogard said the Ryan Family Scholars will participate in the Passport Program –  a comprehensive program that provides academic support in addition to professional development opportunities for first-year students. The program provides the students with the academic and career advising they may not get before arriving at Miami, along with a peer mentor to aid them as they transition into their Miami experience.

The Ryan Family Scholars will also have a guaranteed internship at organizations such as The Garage Group, Salesforce and goHealth in cities including Cincinnati, Chicago and San Francisco, with the focus on honing students’ entrepreneurial skills.

Bogard said that program emphasizes diversity and inclusion, key initiatives for the school as it is preparing its students to be ready for their career or further education when they graduate. 

“The program enables students from diverse populations to gain an entrepreneurial-based college education in order to produce a more diverse entrepreneurial workforce,” Bogard said.

Jim Ryan could not be reached for comment. 

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