Building named in honor of Dr. Richard Ryan Jr.


Des Moines, IA – A building on the campus of Des Moines University, located in Des Moines, Iowa, was recently renamed Richard M. Ryan Hall in honor of the University’s former president, Dr. Richard M. Ryan Jr., of Winchester, Mass. Ryan was 13th president of the 107-year-old medical and health sciences institution from 1996 through 2002.

The former Science and Education Building was renamed Ryan Hall during a ceremony Thursday, May 26 as part of commencement week activities. Ryan and his wife, Ethel, were present for the ceremony where the unveiling of a bronze plaque, signifying the building as Ryan Hall, was unveiled and is now affixed to the building.

During his leadership, Ryan was the chief architect behind a vision for upgrading and expanding research labs and adding new office space for faculty in the building. Ryan helped turn the building – built in 1962 – into a structure suited to the needs of a modern medical and health sciences institution.

A 24,000-square-foot addition was added to the building during phase one of the project. During the second phase, which was completed in 2002, the interior of the building was renovated, lab space was added and the mechanical systems and capabilities were significantly upgraded to accommodate higher levels of research. Of special note, the $8.2 million addition and renovation project was completed on schedule and without borrowing.

As part of his vision for the University, Ryan also created the position of dean for University research to ensure that scientific investigation and the pursuit of new knowledge would have a solid foothold in the academic life of the University for years to come.

Among many other milestones during the time Ryan was president, the University added a Master of Public Health Program, developed a comprehensive campus plan that included replacement of the oldest structure on campus, helped establish the federally funded Geriatric Education Center, oversaw an investment strategy that contributed to a significant increase in the University endowment and received the maximum years allowed between site visits for individual college accreditation and regional University accreditation.

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