editor and publisher, Kalamazoo Gazette
Dan Ryan’s entire 6′ 4″ frame embodies a heart dedicated to his journalistic endeavors and to his community of Kalamazoo. Born in 1921, Ryan graduated from Kalamazoo College and did post-graduate work at Michigan State University. He served the Kalamazoo Gazette as editor and publisher for 29 years. In Kalamazoo, the name Dan Ryan is “linked to a community philosophy that supported positive growth, innovative development and the spreading cloak to all its citizens,” according to a Gazette editorial written in July 1988 upon Ryan’s retirement. Ryan unrelentlingly supported his community, yet he did not hesitate to express concerns or complaints through the medium of his newspaper. In the face of fierce criticism in 1972 over the Gazette‘s editorial support of court-ordered busing to desegregate Kalamazoo schools, Ryan directed the forces of his newspaper toward reporting, explaining and interpreting this highly emotional issues to his community. The coverage included an ad-free section of the paper with the text of the ruling. Behind Dan Ryan’s leadership, the Gazette‘s efforts helped bring calm and reason to Kalamazoo on the day the buses stopped at the schoolhouse doors. Outside Kalamazoo, Ryan served the Michigan journalism community as president of Michigan Press Association and was active with the American Newspaper Publishers Association. He is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the first Kalamazoo College Distinguished Alumni Award in 1975 and the first Liberty Bell Award in 1963 from the Kalamazoo County Bar Association. Known for his affable nature, Ryan has won the admiration and trust of his colleagues, community business leaders and people of all races and backgrounds.