PHILIP BERMINGHAM PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTO BY ELLIOTT O'DONOVAN

Since leaving USC, Frederick J. Ryan Jr. ’77, JD ’80 has put his background in political science, communications and law to good use. Ryan might be best known today as CEO and publisher of the Washington Post, but he also founded prize-winning political journalism outfit Politico. He had a stint on “the other side,” too, serving as a White House senior staff member under President Ronald Reagan and as chief of staff during Reagan’s post-presidential years in California.

Anyone in media today realizes it’s not a profession for the timid. It’s one that attracts people who are willing to seek, embrace and shape change.

Fred Ryan

Now Ryan will draw from his experience as an entrepreneur, political adviser and newspaper publisher to support his alma mater as the newest member of the USC Board of Trustees. Here, he shares some of his reflections about USC and his career.

On the changing media landscape

“Anyone in media today realizes it’s not a profession for the timid. It’s one that attracts people who are willing to seek, embrace and shape change.”

On USC’s growing reputation

“When I first came to D.C., USC was certainly known and respected, but in the last few years, its presence here and the appreciation and admiration for what the university does has grown enormously. As a proud Trojan, that’s been great to see.”

On why Reagan asked him to be his assistant

“Boy, I don’t know. I’m just glad he did. I enjoyed working for him and with the team he put together, which included a number of Californians, several from USC.”

On the value of a law school education

“As a USC law student, I was trained to be rigorous in my analysis and think outside the box. Directly or indirectly, it seems I use my law degree virtually every day.”

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