On January 11, Father Ryan Class of 1947 alumnus Mr. Jack Deegan traveled from Fort Worth, Texas, to visit campus for the first time in over 25 years. Clad in his homemade, purple “Ryan ‘47” sash, which he wears frequently around his retirement community, and his class ring, Mr. Deegan came to Father Ryan to teach four Senior psychology classes about his high school experience and the transition to college. Currently 94 years old, Mr. Deegan pursued a career as a Regional Sales Executive before transitioning into teaching. He is a retired college professor from Texas Wesleyan University where he taught marketing for 27 years, established the marketing major, and developed all nine courses.
During his time as a Father Ryan student, Mr. Deegan was involved with Purple Masque Players, Moina, and Yearbook and excelled academically, resulting in the Religion/General Excellence Medal and college acceptances to Vanderbilt University and University of Notre Dame. In his presentation to Seniors, he reflected on how Father Ryan fully prepared him for collegiate academics. However, he quickly learned he was not mentally prepared for a transition that required strong time management. He struggled throughout his Freshman year until he was able to develop positive habits and time management skills. Mr. Deegan graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1951 with his bachelor’s and Florida State University in 1953 with his master’s. He has devoted years to studying the college transition to help prepare current high school students and share his story. After presenting to his first class, he said, “This is the opportunity of a lifetime to be back at Father Ryan and speak with these students.”
In between his lessons to our Seniors, Mr. Deegan enjoyed a tour of campus. He had the opportunity to meet Moina students and one of his 1947 classmate’s grandchild, who is a current Father Ryan student. When asked what Mr. Deegan would say to fellow alumni who graduated from the Elliston campus and have not visited the Norwood campus, Mr. Deegan stated, “If you want to double your pride of graduating from Father Ryan on Elliston Place, you would be delighted to see what is happening at Father Ryan on Norwood Drive.”
It was a pleasure to have Mr. Deegan on campus and for our community to see what he means when he says, “I’ve been Irish all my life!”