Inspired to Give Back

Fredonia Couple Creates Communication Scholarship Endowment

Rich and Pam Ryan

Rich, '86 and Pam (Chase), '87 Ryan

Designating Communication majors as recipients of a scholarship they created through the Fredonia College Foundation was a "no-brainer" for Rich and Pam (Chase) Ryan. Both graduates, from the classes of '86 and '87, respectively, majored in Communication. And upon reflecting on their lives over the last two decades, Rich and Pam credit their Fredonia education for career success that ultimately led both to become entrepreneurs.

Not to be overlooked, of course, Fredonia is where they met.

"We feel very strongly about giving back to Fredonia because we wouldn't be where we are today without the educational foundation that we both received there," the couple attests. "We appreciate how hard students and their families work to obtain a quality education, and we wanted to play a small part to help ease financial obligations."

The Richard G. and Pamela C. Ryan Endowment Scholarship Fund, launched in 2014 with an initial $10,000 gift, is designed to benefit talented sophomore or junior Communication majors with a financial need, with preference to New York State residents.

Rich, who had a minor in English, worked for industry trade associations for over 12 years before starting RGR Services in 2001. He handles advertising, exhibit sales and event planning for small-business clients and relishes the freedom and flexibility to be an agile problem solver that owning his own firm affords.

"The well-rounded education that I received at Fredonia gave me the background I needed to be a viable candidate in a competitive market," adds the Farmingdale, N.Y., native who gained hands-on experience in TV production at WNYF on campus.

Pam held various administrative roles in the corporate world for nearly 20 years before she launched Virtual Ringmaster LLC in 2008 to provide long-term administrative services to small business owners. And like her husband, Pam also minored in English and worked at WNYF, Fredonia Radio Systems and The Leader.

An internship in Washington, D.C., during her senior year convinced Pam to move to the nation's capital following graduation.

The Aurora, N.Y., native echoes Rich's sentiments about Fredonia, saying a well-rounded education helped her to adapt to the numerous corporate positions. Both praise the influence that several faculty members had on them.

Rich says Drs. John Malcolm and Ted Schwalbe taught with a passion for the industry that was contagious, and reports that he still draws upon the knowledge that both shared.

Pam "fell in love" with Fredonia during a campus visit led by Dr. Malcolm, who, sadly, passed away in 2017, and she added that the staff and students were friendly and "made me feel right at home."

The couple, who now reside in Port Clinton, Ohio, met at Erie Dining Hall, started dating a year later and married a year after Pam graduated.

They attended the Communication department awards reception in the Spring of 2015 and were gratified to meet Sara Fuller and Rachel Fisher, their first two scholarship recipients.

There are many ways you, like the Ryans, can make a lasting impact on Fredonia students. To learn more, contact the Fredonia College Foundation at (716) 673-3321 or Foundation@fredonia.edu.

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