SAN ANGELO, Texas — Angelo State University received a $1 million gift Monday from Dallas-based entrepreneur and philanthropist, G. Brint Ryan, to establish a permanent endowment for ASU's Department of English and Modern Languages.
In recognition of the gift, the department has been renamed the Natalie Zan Ryan Department of English and Modern Languages to honor and memorialize Ryan's late sister, who was an ASU alumna and a longtime faculty member in the department.
"Natalie loved teaching and dedicated her life to her students," Ryan said. "We are proud to honor her legacy by supporting the mission of ASU's Department of English and Modern Languages. We know she would be thrilled with this recognition."
Natalie Zan Ryan received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Arts in English degrees at ASU. She was inducted into the Sigma Tau Delta international English honor society, was included in Who's Who Among American Colleges and Universities and named a 2003 Outstanding Graduate Student.
While working on her master's degree, Ryan worked in the Department of English and Modern Languages as a graduate assistant and teaching assistant and joined the faculty as a lecturer in 2004. She taught freshman English classes focused on the writing process, methods of development and components of the research paper. She remained a valued faculty member until her death in December 2021.
"We are grateful for the generosity of the Ryan family in endowing this gift in honor of Natalie, and we will proudly carry her legacy forward as the Natalie Zan Ryan Department of English and Modern Languages," Dr. Erin Ashworth-King, department chair, said. "This gift will enable us to realize many plans for the future to enrich the educational experiences of our students. Allowing us to give scholarships, bring in speakers and create events, Mr. Ryan's gift will shape the department in ways we hope would make Professor Ryan proud."
Brint Ryan is the founder, chairman and CEO of Ryan LLC, an award-winning global tax services and software company and the largest firm in the world dedicated exclusively to business taxes. He is the chairman of the Texas Association of Business and the state's tax policy advisory board. He is ranked among the Dallas 500 Most Influential Business Leaders in Dallas-Fort Worth by D CEO magazine and is a three-time winner of the International Customer Service CEO of the Year Award from the Customer Service Institute of America.
A native of Big Spring, he has bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from the University of North Texas and served on the UNT System Board of Regents from 2013-2021. UNT's G. Brint Ryan College of Business is named in recognition of his philanthropy on behalf of his alma mater.
The Natalie Zan Ryan Department of English and Modern Languages is ASU's third named department, joining the Dr. Arnoldo De Leon Department of History and the David L. Hirschfeld Department of Engineering.