- Term in Office:
- University of Utah (B.A. 1951)
- Indiana University (M.A. 1958, Ph.D. 1959)
Professional Background: Professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin (1958–1962), assistant to the president and secretary of the University of Massachusetts (1961–1963), vice president for academic affairs at Arizona State University (1963–1965), chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston (1965–1968), vice president for regional campuses at Indiana University (1968–1971)
John William Ryan became Indiana University’s fourteenth president on January 26, 1971. His 16 years of service to the university saw the establishment of IU campuses in New Albany and Richmond, the formation of various cultural centers on the Bloomington campus, and the journalism school becoming a systemwide entity.
Ryan retired in 1987 and was immediately appointed president emeritus of Indiana University. He remained an active figure within the university, both as a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and as a member of several boards and committees, until his death in 2011.
John W. Ryan, the 14th president of Indiana University, who guided its development into an eight-campus institution, and the chancellor emeritus of the State University of New York (SUNY), died Saturday, August 6th, 2011 at the age of 81.
Ryan was IU's president from 1971 to 1987. Under his stewardship, the university experienced academic success and major growth in enrollment and financial support. During that time, 37 faculty members were named Guggenheim Fellows and three were named MacArthur Fellows.
He restructured the institution and transformed IU into a multi-campus university that serves every region of the state. IU Southeast in New Albany and IU East in Richmond opened during his tenure. Numerous programs and schools were created, including the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the School of Journalism, the School of Continuing Studies and the School of Optometry.
His 16 years as IU president exceeded the length of all but three of his predecessors, Herman B Wells, William Lowe Bryan and Andrew Wylie. Ryan held the titles of IU president emeritus and professor emeritus in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at the time of his death. He also was a member of the Board of Directors at the IU Foundation.