CHICAGO — DePaul University has elected business executive James
T. Ryan chair of its board of trustees. He succeeds William E. Bennett, who
will continue to serve on the board. Ryan is chairman of industrial supply
company Grainger and has served on DePaul’s board since 2007. As vice chair, Ryan
led the recent search for the university’s next president.
“Jim has demonstrated a strong commitment to DePaul’s
mission and values,” said Bennett. “He showed great leadership while guiding
the university through a competitive, successful presidential search. I am
pleased to welcome him into this role.”
Lori Holland, managing director at Neuberger Berman, was elected
vice chair of DePaul’s board of trustees. Holland earned a bachelor’s degree in
finance from DePaul and joined the board in 2011.
Ryan retired as president and CEO of Lake Forest, Illinois-based
W.W. Grainger, Inc. last year and remains as chairman of the board, a position
he has held since 2009. He served as CEO from 2008 to 2016 and was named
president in 2006. Serving in increasingly responsible roles since 1980, Ryan
helped guide Grainger through economic challenges and major changes in the
marketplace, from preparing information systems ahead of Y2K to adapting sales
and marketing with the rise of online competition.
“Jim’s deep commitment to DePaul’s mission and his proven
experience make him a perfect fit for this role. I enjoyed getting to know him
during the presidential search and look forward to working with the leadership
team as we enter DePaul’s next chapter,” said A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., president-elect
of DePaul. Ryan was chair of the presidential search committee that ultimately
chose Esteban to become DePaul’s 12th president. Esteban steps into his new
role July 1.
Recently Ryan and his wife, Michelle, donated $1 million to fund
a scholarship at the university. The James T. and Michelle A. Ryan Family
Scholarship will fund tuition and expenses for students from modest economic
means and will give preference to applicants from Chicago Jesuit Academy, a
middle school in the Austin neighborhood that offers young men a college prep
education in the Catholic tradition.
“DePaul makes a real difference in Chicago and prepares
students for the real world challenges of work and life,” said Ryan. “I am
honored to work with the board of trustees and Dr. Esteban to serve the DePaul
A graduate of DePaul, Ryan earned an MBA with a
concentration in marketing from the Driehaus College of Business. In 1999, Ryan
received the Distinguished MBA Alumni Award from DePaul. He also holds a
bachelor’s degree in business from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
DePaul University’s board of trustees is responsible for
shaping the strategies that best promote the fulfillment of the university’s
mission and values. With more than 23,000 students and some 300 academic
programs, DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the United States and
the largest private, nonprofit university in the Midwest. It is nationally
recognized for incorporating service learning throughout its curriculum and
preparing its graduates for a global economy.
DePaul was founded in Chicago in 1898 by the Congregation of
the Mission (Vincentians), a Roman Catholic religious community dedicated to
following the ideals of St. Vincent de Paul, the 17th century priest for whom
the university is named. DePaul’s tradition of providing a quality education to
students from a broad range of backgrounds, with particular attention to
first-generation students, has resulted in one of the nation’s most diverse
student bodies. More information is available at http://www.depaul.edu.
Kristin Claes Mathews