Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Longtime KCKCC History Professor Retires

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- John Ryan started teaching at Kansas City Kansas Community College as a graduate student at the University of Kansas.  So when he received the opportunity to become an adjunct professor, he jumped at the chance.

“I loved everything about the place,” he said. “I loved the students. I loved the teachers.”

That was in the spring of 1971. When KCKCC moved to the State Ave. campus in the fall of 1972, he became a full-time professor.

“I have loved history since I was in the ninth grade,” he said. “I am fascinated by the stories; there are so many exciting, amazing stories. But it struck me early on, how many students hated history.”

Ryan has taught World Civilization, American history and Western Civilization at KCKCC. He received a bachelor’s degree from Merriam College in Massachusetts and a master’s degree and doctorate from KU.

“I think it is much more important for effective citizenship for people to learn from the past, which is where history comes into play,” he said. “I have been lucky. I have loved what I have done. I love the interaction with the students. I love introducing them to a new way of thinking.”

Ryan’s said his love of history came from his father, who was an engineer. He said they would sit around the dinner table every night and talk about current or historical events. Then, like so many educators, there was one teacher.

“In ninth grade I had a teacher. I really looked up to him,” he said. “I wanted to be like him because he loved teaching so much. I thought it was great.”

As he looks at retirement, Ryan said he is ready to have more time to relax and pursue other interests. He said he would also like to spend more time with his two children, one of which lives in the Kansas City area.

“I figured it was time. It feels right. It’s time to let someone else have their turn,” he said. “I think there will be a lot more time for movies, and I want to learn Spanish. I will miss the day to day – the teachers, students and staff. This is a great place, and I will miss the creativity. I tried to make history meaningful. I have loved it till the end.”