From the Desk of Connor Ryan, Editor in Chief

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connorBy Connor Ryan

As I swapped my iPhone for a fork at my parents’ dining room table last week — sitting next to relatives, surrounded only by sweet smells and cheesy anecdotes — I had an existential moment of self-realization within the context of the tribe seated around me.

Turns out, when it comes to my family, I’m not breaking much ground.

For one reason or another, studying at Fordham and pursuing a writing career is kind of the Ryan way. I’m not really sure why I fell into it, but I did — and, truth be told, I couldn’t be prouder to have such a rich history behind me.

Years before I even thought about applying to college, I walked through the greenery of Rose Hill’s campus. I cheered on the Rams at basketball and football games. I wore a Fordham sweatshirt on family vacations. I knew all of the best places to eat on Arthur Avenue. I even picked up a copy of The Ram.

Mostly I blame my dad, Tom Ryan, FCRH ’83 — a smart guy who studied philosophy as an undergrad and then earned his M.B.A. from Fordham shortly thereafter.

Proud to tell me about his alma mater — and perhaps hoping to send a subliminal message, he’d tell me stories of what it was like to ride the Ram Van. He gave me a tour of Hughes Hall before it got its epic facelift. He explained what Dagger John’s used to be like, and where he got mugged that one time. He pointed out the Queen’s Court room he had lived in. He showed me the issue of The Ram published in 1983 that had a photo of him on the front-page (for reasons I won’t get into here).

Who would’ve thought almost 30 years later I’d be working at that same newspaper? Who would’ve thought I’d be living just a few doors down from where he did when he was my age? Thinking about my dad walking around campus as a student is a perspective I feel lucky to be able to carry with me.

(I must include here: My mom, a proud Boston College grad and the most selfless person I know, rounds out the theme of Jesuit education in my house.)

Then there’s my aunt, Tricia Ryan, FCRH ’86, who majored in English. Earlier this year she pointed out which room she had in Walsh Hall. (Not much has changed over the years, she confirmed).

Kerry Leahey (formerly a Ryan), FCRH ’92 and another aunt, was a  communication major and now works as a teacher in New Jersey.

Both were on campus in September along with my grandmother, cheering on the football team and reminiscing about how the campus has changed.

If that wasn’t enough, Dick Ryan, my grandfather who passed away in May of 2005, graduated from Fordham’s School of Social Service in 1959 before entering a longtime career as a religion writer, contributing work to: The Brooklyn Tablet, Our Sunday Visitor, The National Catholic Reporter, Newsday and The New York Daily News.

I wrote about him in my college essay, and I will forever credit his work as an inspiration for my own.

The jury’s still out on whether I’ll  be able to keep this typing gig alive after I graduate in less than two years, but I know he would want me to try.

As you can see, Fordham is deeply rooted in the Ryan bloodstream, and I’m proud to say that.

Since I’ve been on campus, I’ve kept quiet about my family history here in an effort to avoid the stigma that often follows kids whose relatives who have attended the school they go to. But not anymore.

Who knows? Maybe in another 30 or so years another Ryan will be back to infiltrate The Ram.

So, what’s the point of you knowing all this? Not sure there is one. But if there’s a lesson to be learned, perhaps it is that stepping away from your routine every once in a while to think about where you’ve come from can prove valuable going forward.

They say the best way to know the future is to know the past.

Whether that’s true or not, there’s no doubt that I look forward to carrying on the legacy of those who have come before me. My only hope is that I can continue to make them proud.

Contributing to this newspaper has been — and will always be — one of the greatest privileges of my life. I would be remiss if I didn’t take some inches to thank the entire staff for their hard work and dedication over the past year.

Balancing a full courseload while also writing hundreds of words every week, asking administrators tough questions and, perhaps worst of all, dealing with me, is not easy.

I’d like to especially thank Canton Winer and Kelly Kultys for all of their hard work — this volume would not have been possible without their dedication. I wish the best of luck to Kelly (who will succeed me as editor-in-chief beginning next month) and the entire staff of next year’s volume.

Since its first issue in 1918, The Ram has fully embodied the Jesuit mission of serving others, and I look forward to watching its continued success unfold.