For the past 35 years, Nancy L. Floyd Ryan has spent her days helping University of Miami students. As executive assistant to Patricia Whitely, vice president for student affairs, she answers questions, points students in the right direction and, from time to time, serves as an informal counselor.
“It brings me joy to see our students succeed,” Ryan said. “I watch them grow from their freshman year until they cross the stage at graduation, and go out in the world with the values and experiences they gained at our University.”
Among those students is her son Sean, 24, an undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences who, like his parents, has a deep allegiance to the U. Back in 1989, Ryan and her husband, Robert, consulted a doctor at the School of Medicine for fertility treatments. Although Ryan had only a 50 percent chance of having a child through treatment, she became pregnant the very next month.
Today, Ryan gives back to the institution that she says played such an integral role in her life—personally, professionally and educationally—by donating to the University through the United Way campaign, as well as directly to the Division of Student Affairs and the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center.
“I am forever indebted to the University,” Ryan said. “Sean practically grew up on campus, as one of the first Mini-Cane Camp attendees, and is now a ’Cane loving his experience at the U. Our little family definitely bleeds orange, green, and white!”
A native Floridian who grew up in Hialeah, Ryan pursued an associate degree at Miami Dade Community College before marrying and moving to England and Texas. In 1979 she returned to Miami, taking a position at UM as executive assistant to William R. Butler, then vice president for student affairs. When Butler retired 19 years later, she continued in that role with Whitely.
During the 1980s, Ryan took night classes at UM, earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration while working her day job. In 1999 she was tapped into the Iron Arrow Honor Society.
“My job has given me the ability to help students and has allowed me to work in a great environment,” Ryan said. “Now, it’s my turn to give back and make a difference in others’ lives. I want to keep our University moving forward and help build a better world for our children.”
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