When Jerry O’Ryan completed high school in 1967 he wasn’t quite sure what his next step would be. “I didn’t have any plans to go on to higher education,” says O’Ryan. “I figured I would just start working a retail job like some of my older siblings and that would be it.”
O’Ryan’s first job ended up being an on-the-job trainee in Miami Valley Hospital’s inhalation department—a specialty now known as respiratory therapy. While working, O’Ryan attended a new respiratory care program at Sinclair and was a part of the first graduating class in 1973.
I found that all of the instructors were very helpful and aware of students like me—working people trying to advance their education so they can move upward and onward in their careers,” says O’Ryan. “The instructors at Sinclair believed in me and instilled a passion for life-long learning in me.
After graduating, O’Ryan continued to work in inhalation therapy at Miami Valley Hospital, started teaching in the hospital’s certification level program, and created and taught an evening class at Sinclair for adult respiratory care workers. He became a full-time Sinclair faculty member in 1976 and taught for a year before receiving an offer to start a pulmonary rehabilitation program at an ambulatory care center—now operating as Southview Medical Center. Throughout his professional development, O’Ryan continued to advance his education and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton in 1981.
O’Ryan went on to own and operate multiple respiratory home care businesses, publish two books on pulmonary rehabilitation and home respiratory care, author a number of articles on chronic disease state management, and serve as the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Ventilation. He will graduate with his Master’s in Public Health from Kent State University in August 2017.
To this day, O’Ryan remains involved with Sinclair by serving on the Foundation Board.
“When I get to meet current students and hear their stories I see myself in them,” says O’Ryan. “Sinclair opened the door for everything that followed in my life, the least I can do is support Sinclair through donating my time and financial gifts which will help students like the one I used to be—someone who chose Sinclair as the first step towards a new life.” Through their generosity, Jerry and his wife, Nancy, will be recognized with the naming of a conference room in the new Sinclair Health Sciences Center to open for classes in August 2017.
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