Thomas M. Ryan

HELPING OUT HIS alma mater, the University of Rhode Island, has been a big priority for Thomas M. Ryan, the former chairman, CEO and president of CVS Health Corp.

Along with having his name emblazoned on URI’s sports arena – The Ryan Center – after leading a fundraising campaign to have the 8,000-seat arena constructed in the early 2000s, Ryan, a 1975 graduate of URI, continued to give back to the university. He and his wife, Cathy, in 2013 gave URI a $15 million gift to create a neuroscience research institute on campus.

The institute, named after Ryan’s parents – the George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience – was intended to drive research into various diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, strokes and ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Six years later, Thomas and Cathy Ryan upped the ante, literally. In September 2019, the couple gave URI its largest monetary gift in the university’s history to the tune of $35 million. Of that amount, $24 million would be for the Ryan Institute for Neuroscience; $10 million to establish at URI a Thomas M. Ryan Scholars program, which will provide four-year full scholarships and fees for selected students while also offering access to URI’s Honors Colloquium, Leadership Institute and Global Winter J-Term; and a $1 million challenge to support URI’s new basketball training facility.

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Ryan in 2020 also was named to URI’s newly created 17-member board of trustees.

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