Rams alumni Jon and Steve Ryan give back to the University of Regina

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: November 9, 2021 5:00 p.m.

Jon Ryan and his family at the Rams game
Jon Ryan and his family at the Rams game Piper Sports Photography

University of Regina Rams alumnus, former NFL player, and Saskatchewan Roughrider punter Jon Ryan (LLD’19) and his brother and fellow Rams alumnus Steve Ryan (BA’08) are donating $200,000 to the University of Regina to establish a new award, the Bob Ryan Memorial Award.

As part of an annual gift, five awards in the amount of $2,000 will be given out each year to active members of the Rams football team who are pursuing a University of Regina degree.

“Jon Ryan and his family mean a lot to the University of Regina, our Rams, as well as the people of Regina and Saskatchewan because of their contributions to our community both on and off the football field,” said Dr. Jeff Keshen, University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor. “We’re incredibly grateful that they have chosen to further their support of the U of R and the Rams through this donation.

The award is named after Jon and Steve’s father Bob (BA’73 and MA’77), who played an integral role in the growth and success of the Ranch Ehrlo Society. His spent more than 35 years at Ranch Ehrlo, where he had a positive impact on thousands of people. He also taught police recruits at the Saskatchewan Police College. Sadly, Bob passed away in 2006 from cancer.

U of R Rams Quarterback in action
Rams Quarterback Bryce Welter in action against the University of Manitoba Bisons.

Photo credit: Piper Sports Photography

The awards are funded by the Bob Ryan Foundation (established by the Ryan family in memory of Bob) and by the Gear Up with Jon Ryan Foundation.

“What a wonderful way to honour the legacy of a great man who had an enormous impact on the lives of so many throughout Regina and Saskatchewan,” said Harold Riemer, Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina. “I am pleased to see Bob’s legacy of helping others and supporting our Rams live on.”

“This gift is a game-changer for our Rams student athletes who are constantly having to deal with the pressure of playing a high level sport while juggling their studies,” added Lisa Robertson, the Director of Sport, Community Engagement and Athlete Development at the University of Regina. “Having financial support because of the generosity of the Ryan family ensures those student athletes can excel on the field and in the classroom.”

Steve Ryan played defensive back for the Rams between 2003 and 2007 and was second in career pass defence. His brother Jon was an all-star punter and receiver for the Rams between 2000 and 2003. As a member of the Seattle Seahawks, Jon became the first person from Saskatchewan to win the Super Bowl. Jon and his mother Barb Ryan (LLD’19) were both presented with Honorary Doctor of Laws honoris causa at the 2019Spring Convocation. 

Last month, the University of Regina and the Regina Rams Football Club celebrated the signing of a new community partnership agreement. The new agreement will extend the partnership between the University and the Rams Club, enable the Club to access a higher level of support and services from the University, and position the Rams to further build on their foundation of community support.

President Keshen emphasized that the Ryan family’s support builds on the good work underway as part of the partnership agreement.

“Their decision to donate to our football program is also an affirmation of our long-standing and now renewed relationship with the Rams Football Club Board of Directors. Together, we have and will continue to create a strong football program.

“At the end of the day, it’s about supporting our student-athletes. And the Ryan family is doing just that.”