Department of Entrepreneurship announces first Ryan Family Scholars

Ri'ann Yates-Miller, Pruitt Miller, Mary Acosta-Gorman

(L-R) Ri'ann Yates-Miller, Pruitt Miller, and Mary Acosta-Gorman

The Farmer School Department of Entrepreneurship has announced its first three Ryan Family Scholars for 2020-2021. Funded by a $1 million gift from Jim Ryan ’80 and his wife Michelle, the program takes a holistic approach to supporting student success. Recipients will receive tuition, room & board and fees up to $20,000 annually. Students may major in any discipline, provided they are minoring or co-majoring in entrepreneurship.

The 2020-21 Ryan Family Scholars are:

“When I first received the news that I would be named a Ryan Scholar, I felt both excited and honored to be chosen for such an amazing scholarship program. To be one of the first few chosen is astonishing,” Acosta-Gorman remarked. “I can honestly say that it is one of my proudest moments and it goes to show that the work you put in does not go unnoticed. And for that, I am very appreciative to be seen by Miami University and the Ryan family.”

"I was more surprised than anything. I was informed about the opportunity on a random weekday, so I was not at all expecting such big news to come," Yates-Miller said. "It did take a few days to decide if I wanted to enter the program because I wanted to research the basics of entrepreneurship as well as the requirements Miami has for the entrepreneurship program to see if I would be a good fit for the program. In my research, everything I saw just made me more excited about the program, as well as very grateful to God and Miami for the amazing blessing!"

"I was honestly very surprised when I got the news. I attended The American Legion Buckeye Boys State the summer going into my senior year, which was held at Miami University. That’s when I realized that I wanted to go here but my financial aid package was not enough," Miller said. "I was set on attending a small college close to home when I got a call from Michelle Thomas informing me that I received this scholarship. I was ecstatic that I received such a big scholarship and I was so excited to be attending the Entrepreneurship program at Miami."

"We are excited to welcome the inaugural class of Ryan Family Scholars made possible by the generous gift that alumnus Jim and Michelle made earlier this year from the Jim and Michelle Ryan Family Foundation," Department of Entrepreneurship chair Tim Holcomb said. "Our goal is to help prepare the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders that are ‘job ready, day one.'"

"As Ryan explained when the gift was announced in February, “I think Miami was a big part of my success, so I feel a responsibility to give back in that way. The scholarship program really brings together all of our family connections to Miami plus our philanthropic commitment to education for kids from underserved communities."

Overall, 16 students will receive the scholarship over the next seven years.