Helping students pursue their purpose

24 April 2023

Pat Ryan discovered her love for computing science at the University of Alberta in 1980. As a first-year student in the School of Business, she took two introductory computing science classes.

“I loved them so much. It left me wanting to learn more,” says Pat.

And today, she has set up the Patricia Jean Ryan endowment to help students in similar programs at the U of A pursue their purpose.

Pat spent the summer between first and second year taking more computing science courses because she was so excited by what she was learning. With hard work and encouragement from a professor, she continued to pursue computing and management sciences, eventually accepting a teacher’s assistant role in the computing science lab.

She graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a Major in Finance and Management Sciences and a Minor in Computing Science. At the time, it was uncommon to have these two fields combined.

After graduation, she accepted a position with Shell Canada in Calgary and worked there for 32 years in Information Technology. She credits her U of A education for leading her to a fulfilling career, doing what she loves.

Pat’s generous endowment will help U of A students pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce or a Bachelor of Science in Computing Science.

“I’ve set my endowment up already so that I can enjoy it while I’m alive. And, if I want, I can give money to my endowment every year and get tax receipts.” She has also left a bequest in her Will and a gift from her registered retirement funds towards her endowment.

Pat’s goal is to help pay for a student’s entire four years at university.

She knows first-hand the importance of a rewarding career and how an education is the best way for one to achieve their goals.

“A degree gives you a great work ethic. And I think it gives you a leg up for more fulfilling work.” Pat feels grateful to the U of A for helping to give her a fulfilling life, and she wants to offer that opportunity to future students.