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Remembering Creighton University alumnus and philanthropist Wayne Ryan

Renowned Creighton University alumnus and philanthropist Wayne Ryan, PhD, died Nov. 2.

Ryan earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science from Creighton in 1949 and 1951, respectively, and was recognized with an honorary degree in 2009 for his lifetime of accomplishments in science and business. He was inducted into the Jesuit honor society, Alpha Sigma Nu, in 1951, and recognized with the Alumni Merit Award in 1990 and Jaybacker of the Year in 2008.

“Wayne had a passion for Jesuit education, and inspired many students and faculty with his brilliance as a scientist, scholar, and educator," said Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ. “His generosity to Creighton has left an indelible mark that will continue to benefit our students for decades.”

Ryan taught in the microbiology and biochemistry departments at the University from 1953 to 1964. In 1971, he founded Streck Laboratories, which became a world leader for hematology and molecular diagnostics.

Wayne and Eileen RyanRyan and his late wife, Eileen, HON’09, left a lasting legacy with the University by funding scholarships, including the Fr. Henry W. Casper, SJ Professorship in History. The scholarship memorializes Fr. Casper’s accomplishments over a long career as a scholar and history professor, including many years at Creighton where he was one of Ryan’s favorite Jesuit professors.

In 2009, the Ryans transformed Creighton’s athletic facilities through their support of the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center, the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Training Center, and the Championship Center.

"Our family believes in Jesuit education and we are happy to lend our support as an endorsement of the vision and mission of Creighton University,” Wayne Ryan said in 2009. “We are impressed with the progressive academic and athletic plans of the University and know that this center will advance not only the campus community but the metro area as well." 

“Wayne and Eileen Ryan had a vision for Creighton women's athletics,” Bruce Rasmussen, Creighton athletic director said. “Their generosity and commitment to higher education and student athletes helped usher in a new era for Creighton and Bluejay athletics. He will be missed."

Among many local and national awards and honors, Wayne and Eileen Ryan were recognized in 2007 with the Ignatian Spirit Award from the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus.

Ryan is survived by his children, Connie, ARTS’75, HON’11, and a member of Creighton Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2016; son, Tim, DDS’80; daughter, Stacy, JD’05; daughter, Carol, JD’83; and son, Steve, BSBA’88.

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