Nationally known for her expertise and innovation in senior housing and services, Southeast alumna Mary Alice Ryan serves as the President/CEO of St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors. Her days are spent strategically positioning the company’s entities for the future, fund raising, coordinating public relations and building a successful team of people who love what they do. With more than $50 million in business, 20 locations and 1,100 employees, this position is no small task.
“My favorite aspect is planning a new building or program,” she says. “I enjoy getting into the details of design and budgeting.”
As one of 10 children, Ryan chose to attend Southeast because it had a great reputation for academics while being close to her St. Louis home, and it was inexpensive enough to afford. The collegiate experience allowed her to gain a new independence and forge a solid academic foundation that allowed her to switch her career focus five years after graduation and pursue what has become a “dream job.”
Ryan also leveraged her academic success at Southeast as she completed a master’s degree in health care administration at Washington University in 1979. Four years later, she became the vice president and chief operating officer at St. Andrew’s. She subsequently became president in 1990, a position she continues to hold today.
Ryan also has been involved in several committees and has held numerous organizational offices focused on services for the aging. This includes time as president of the Missouri Association for Homes for the Aging and, most recently, chair of the board of directors of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA). AAHSA is a national trade association serving more than one million older adults with more than 5,600 not-for-profit members.
Whether it was walking across campus during the spring, sitting by the river or spending time with friends, Ryan fondly remembers her time in Cape Girardeau.
She passes along the following advice to current and future Southeast students: “Enjoy every minute of the experience; the real world will catch up with you too soon. Have lots of fun, get the best grades you can, meet lots of people and make lots of friends.”