Continuing a spring tradition that links the University of Virginia to one of the world’s most famous races, UVA President Jim Ryan will once again compete in the Boston Marathon.
This time, he’s running for veterans.
The 126th annual Boston Marathon on April 18 will mark Ryan’s 11th consecutive year running the streets of Beantown. And while the 55-year-old always logs respectable times – last year he had a 6:58 minutes-per-mile pace and finished in the top 30 in his age group – it’s his charity work within the race that’s equally impressive.
Ryan’s campaign this year supports the UVA Veteran Student Center, which opened last September. The center, located in Newcomb Hall, is a joint project of the Student Veterans of Americans at the University of Virginia, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Jefferson Trust and the Eli Banana Fund. The center is meant to be an active space for UVA’s military community, including student veterans and ROTC students.
This year, I’m running the Boston Marathon for veterans! If you’d like to honor a veteran and support the UVA Veteran Student Center, please consider supporting this campaign. https://t.co/okKLD8wIyc pic.twitter.com/gKeayoJdvd— Jim Ryan (@presjimryan) April 7, 2022
“It’s a place that I hope will help remind you that you belong here at UVA,” Ryan told veterans during the center’s opening ceremony. “No matter where you are from, or whether you are the first in your family to attend college, whether you are a graduate or undergraduate student, or what your background is, you are welcome here, and you are also part of what makes us the University of Virginia. You are part of what makes us among the most vibrant university communities in the world. When you graduate, I know that you will have helped to shape this place, just as UVA will have helped to shape you.”
To be a part of Ryan’s campaign, you can make a donation. A minimum donation of $260 allows for the name of a veteran of your choice to appear on the shirt Ryan will wear during the race.
The effort to support the Veteran Student Center also includes a virtual “Run With Jim” campaign. Alumni and friends are encouraged to run “anywhere, anytime” during the week leading up to the Boston Marathon. A portion of the funds raised through the campaign will be provided as a gift to the veterans’ center, and participants also will receive a “Run With Jim” shirt.
Ryan has supported various causes over the years in association with the marathon, including nurses, teachers and Madison House, the independent, nonprofit volunteer center for UVA students.
In 2021, with sponsors recognizing a special nurse for each mile and having their names printed on the back of his shirt, Ryan helped raise more than $13,000 for UVA nursing student scholarships.