$30M gift – largest in UNT history – will create G. Brint Ryan College of Business

September 19, 2019 0 By Kody Olson

Great job, Hank. It’s my first time to be at a UNT event where
people settled down, so wow. Well, welcome. I am David Wolf, Vice President for University
Advancement here at the University of North Texas. You can cheer for that. And what a marvelous, amazing day it is to
have all of us here together as a family and via the internet. We are streaming live, so behave. But I want to thank you for joining us today
for this very historic moment for all of us together and for our university. We are glad so many of you could be here with
us. I would like to point out a few special people. Representative Richard Pena Raymond is here
with us. Thanks for joining us today, Richard. Chancellor Lesa Roe, Chancellor of the University
of North Texas System is here. Chairman Brint Ryan is with us today. Chairman Ryan. Regent Mary Denny is with us. Mary. Regent A.K. Mago is with us today. And Regent Carlos Munguia is with us today. Also joining us are several of our best donors. I can’t name them all, but our President’s
Leadership Board and others. Wow. Thank you all for coming. A standing room only crowd. This is fantastic. And you’re all looking really good. You know, universities are places that change
people’s lives and help them to get a leg up in the world, find a job, find their path,
give them a sense of well-being through the supportive and caring education that we give
and that we are so proud to be entrusted with. And here at the University of North Texas,
we really take pride in the fact that we go the extra mile. We really help our students. We help them through thick and thin. We teach them if they’re gonna fail, fail
faster so that they can move ahead. And we also hope that they will become the
creative leaders of tomorrow. In this crazy world, we need students who
have grit and determination, students who can weather challenges and difficulty. And it is so wonderful when we get help in
helping our students. We have 38,000 students, and with a little
luck we’ll teach them all how to be nimble, agile, and prepared to face whatever adversity
they meet as they graduate. Our campus is full of all kinds of people. You heard our harp folks out here. We have budding musicians, entrepreneurs,
teachers, scientists, accountants, and people who understand that education isn’t just a
way to change yourself — it’s a way to change your whole family tree. Because when you get a degree from a university,
your brothers and sisters are more likely to go to the university. Your nieces and nephews will have a role model. Your mothers and fathers will live a better
life. And in general, you are going to pay it forward
serving as an exemplar. And that’s what we do here. And it makes me incredibly proud of our university. Now, our alumni have been so generous to us
in the past. And they’ve created a merge of excellence. But we have one incredibly driven and accomplished
man who is in the audience today, someone who has made a huge difference. But like most of our students who are hardworking,
passionate contenders who want to make a difference in the world, we enjoy the contributions that
our alumni make when they figure out that they didn’t just get a job certificate but
that they got their lives changed when they came to this university. So, at this time, we’re going to allow a little
bit of musical pomp and circumstance and a selection from the College of Music festival
brass ensemble. And I would like to invite up two very special
people, people who we are honored to have here today. I would like to invite up our Chairman, Brint
Ryan, and his wife, Amanda Ryan to please come to the stage along with Dean Wiley. And fanfare, it’s time to go. Wow … Thank you so much to the College of
Music and to our wonderful brass ensemble. Terrific job, and just a sample of the incredible
things that are going on. Well, what are we here for today? We’ve been teasing you for awhile. And here we are in the College of Business
with Brint Ryan standing on the stage. Gee, I wonder what’s coming next. Today, it gives me incredible pleasure to
announce the largest gift that we have ever received in our entire university’s history,
even adjusting for inflation. A gift from our friend, a prestigious alum,
and Chairman of the UNT System Board of Regents, Brint Ryan and his family. So first, big round of applause. You are probably going to want to stay standing. When you hear that, because of his generosity,
Brint has agreed to present a gift of $30 million to the UNT’s College of Business. Now we need the fanfare. Now, given that we have a non-majority of
the Board of Regents here, I will say, pending approval next week by our Board of Regents,
we intend to name this college the G. Brint Ryan College of Business. So, for a man who’s pushed us all hard to
make us better, I couldn’t ask for a better gift or a better naming opportunity or a better
name to name this college. And all I can do now is see if Brint would
like to say a few words and make sure he knows he has my heartfelt thanks for everything
that he does. Oh, and we should have-
Here it is. Coming. And we’ll invite you all back later when it’s
up in fancy letters all over the place. Brint, would you like to say a few remarks? Thank you, President Smatresk. You know, Amanda and I are thrilled to be
among so many friends and supporters today on this momentous occasion for UNT and the
Ryan family. I’m thrilled to have Chairman Richard Raymond,
my good friend, here today. And Chancellor Roe, thank you for coming. I also have a number of the Board of Regents
that David mentioned earlier, Carlos Munguia, A.K. Mago. Mary Denny is here. Thank you all for coming out. Just so you know, this is proof that I put
my money where my mouth is. So when I’m complaining all the time, it’s
for the better of the university. Also, I’m thrilled to have with me, of course,
my wife Amanda who approved this gift. Thank you, honey. And I have with us today, also, three of our
five lovely daughters, Annabelle Ryan, Victoria Ryan, and Mary Rae Ryan. I believe they are here representing their
inheritance. Just kidding, girls. Just a joke. When I arrived at North Texas State in the
fall of 1982, I could not have imagined being here today. I was wild and undisciplined, and frankly
more suited for the ranches of West Texas than I was for the halls of academia. I had no idea where I was going and no idea
how to get there. I came here with a lot of growing up to do,
and it happened right here on this campus. My eyes were opened to incredible possibilities. I was challenged by some of the best minds
in accounting and taxation. Professors like Horace Brock, who very quickly
disabused me of the idea that I was the smartest kid in the room. Professors like Hershel Anderson, who really
lit the fire of creativity for me in tax, really in a way no one has before or since. It was professor Tom Klammer, and I’m thrilled
that Professor Klammer is with us in the audience today. He was the one who patiently put up with my
struggles in Intermediate II. Dr. Klammer, I hope you know that I had nightmares
about that class well into my 40’s. But folks, it was this experience that enabled
me to start a small tax services firm, attract some incredibly talented people like our COO
Ginny Kissling who’s here with us today, also a UNT grad, our seventh employee by the way. And it gave me the skills to lead that team
from the beginning to the top of the tax services and software industry. Today, Ryan LLC is the largest firm in the
world dedicated exclusively to business taxes, with more than 2,500 professionals and associates
serving over 14,000 clients in 50 countries around the world. It is this opportunity that I want to support
for current and future students at UNT. I want them to have an even better experience
than I had. I want to see them go out and change the world
and, in the process, make UNT proud. You know, Dr. Smatresk said, and I agree,
that education is the great equalizer. It not only changes the lives of graduates,
but it changes the lives of their entire families and, in some cases, even generations of families. It brings people out of poverty. And it propels our civil society. Amanda and I believe there is no greater investment
that we can make. We’ve both lived it firsthand, and we’re thrilled
to be able to invest in the incredible mission of the UNT College of Business. And Dr. Smatresk, Board of Regents, I am profoundly
grateful that the university has decided to name the college in my honor. You know, I couldn’t begin to thank all of
the people that made this possible. I do, however, want to give special thanks
to one very important individual, my father George Alden Ryan. His health doesn’t permit him to be with us
today, but his contribution was the most valuable of all. When I decided to defer coming to North Texas
State to wait for my girlfriend at Big Spring High, his response was a simple, “Hell no.” It was “go to college or get a job at the
refinery.” And, you know, that wasn’t a hard choice. And for that, Amanda and I both thank him
very much. When my partying got a little out of control,
and I got in some trouble with Denton’s finest, it was Dad that took care of it. Without Dad, I wouldn’t have been here, and
I wouldn’t have been able to stay here. So, Dad, if you’re watching on Facebook, thank
you very much. Finally, I want to thank those major donors
that are here with us today, that have also given generously of their time and treasure. They give to make UNT a better place. Ernie Kuehne, Jim McNatt, C. Dan Smith, Don
Potts, Frank Bracken, Bryan Milner, Bob Sherman, I want you to know I’m proud to be in your
company. Go Mean Green. Thank you, Brint. And as a token of our gratitude, I will say
a very small token but it’s just the beginning, we would like to present you with this certificate
of appreciation. Thank you. Thank you. The naming of a college is a very important
and special signal. And to us, this naming conveys four things. First, it’s a very important symbol of support
and commitment that signifies our value to the world. It brings resources that immeasurably increase
our impact on the lives of our students and of the corporate community we serve. It recognizes the tremendous leadership and
business success demonstrated by Brint Ryan, one of our own graduates. And because his name will lead the college,
it inspires our students to reach higher, to see what he has done, and to believe that
their own opportunities are achievable. So on behalf of the college, all of our faculty
and students and staff, thank you for this supreme act of generosity which will surely
transform the future for our business students, faculty, and alumni. Thank you, Dean Wiley. I noticed Brint was looking at the certificate. It’s the first diploma with his own college
name on it, and we wanted to make sure he got to be the first for that. Well, thank you all for being here with us
today. It is an amazing day to be a part of the Mean
Green family. And we are so appreciative of all of you for
sharing in this experience with us. I want to especially say thank you to Brint
and Amanda. Thank you for your leadership and your generosity. You are difference-makers. This has been a highlight of the things that
we accomplish every day, University Advancement, and I appreciate you allowing me to be a part
of the ride. I would like to give a couple of shout-outs
to some campus partners that have helped us so much today. First of all, to the UNT System Office of
General Counsel. Nancy Footer and Alan Stucky, thank you for
all your help. To the UNT Foundation Board, specifically
Mike Mlinac and Bob Sherman, thank you for your teamwork. To Dean Wiley and the College of Business,
University Facilities for helping us today, and Dean Richmond and the College of Music
for providing the excellent music today. And lastly, to my colleagues in University
Advancement, thank you for putting up with me for the last couple of months and not knowing
what I was doing. Again, today marks a very important day in
the history of the University of North Texas. I hope you will share and tweet and repost
things, ’cause I want the world to know that today we have a named College of Business,
the G. Brint Ryan College of Business. The housecleaning part is we will be conducting
some media interviews after this is over. So please stick around, enjoy the refreshments. And thanks again. And what do we do when we end something? There’s three magic words. Go Mean Green. Go Mean Green. Thank you.