Jim And Diane Ryan Announce Retirement Plans

August 15, 2002

Jim Ryan, vice president for outreach and cooperative extension, and Diane Ryan, executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association, have announced that they both plan to retire from the University in the summer of 2003.

“These leadership positions, in both the Alumni Association and outreach and cooperative extension, are the most exciting in the country and demand extraordinary commitment and energy,” said the Ryans. “We are at the point in our lives where we want time to explore our own interests and personal development while we’re still healthy…and have each other. We can’t do that and do justice to these critical positions. We both feel extremely fortunate to have had these roles with Penn State and we’re proud to hand them over to those who will follow and continue the tradition of leadership and innovation.”

Penn State President Graham B. Spanier praised the Ryans for their many accomplishments and for their great loyalty to Penn State.

“Jim and Diane have led two of the most important areas of the University during times of tremendous growth and innovation,” said Spanier. “Their accomplishments have been extraordinary and have established both of them as national leaders in their respective areas of higher education. Jim and Diane have been friends to literally thousands of Penn Staters. Their energy, loyalty and commitment will be very hard to replace.”

Penn State outreach and cooperative extension, which was reorganized under Jim Ryan’s leadership in 1996, is the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. The organization serves more than five million people from all 50 states and 80 countries at 500 locations annually. With more than 800 employees, this organization supports all academic colleges, campuses, centers and cooperative extension offices. Each year, more than 2,000 programs and services are offered in collaboration with 1,500 faculty members through Penn State’s outreach delivery units, including continuing education, cooperative extension, distance education/World Campus, and Penn State Public Broadcasting.

During his 12 years of leadership, Dr. Ryan has guided the creation of the World Campus, the addition of public radio, the expansion of The Penn Stater Conference Center, and the development of a major partnership with cooperative extension. In that same time, programs, enrollments and participation have grown dramatically, and outreach and cooperative extension has won numerous awards for innovation from state and national organizations, and is considered a national model.

Dr. Ryan also received the International Futures Award for exceptional and innovative leadership in continuing higher education from the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA). He has been active in many national, community and University organizations where he has served in leadership positions. Such positions include chair of Penn State’s Web Task Force, chair of the Centre County United Way, member of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, and member of the Board of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC).

Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Ryan served as a campus executive officer at the Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus for nine years. He also has held various administrative and faculty positions in academic affairs, institutional advancement and college student personnel with Indiana University and at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Searches will begin immediately for both positions.