Graceland University is pleased to welcome Ryan Watson as a new member of the Board of Trustees. He began a three-year term in August and attended his first meeting of the trustees that same month.
Watson retired in May from his position as Senior Vice President and New Jersey Branch Manager for Chubb after more than 30 years with the company. He spent the majority of his 41-year, 10-city professional career in general management positions, which allowed him to be involved in many areas of business, and he sees himself as a problem solver and mediator with the ability to bring people together for a satisfying outcome.
Watson is a 1977 graduate of Graceland College. He was born in Lawrence, Kansas, and considers himself a Kansas City native. After retirement, he and his family moved back to the Kansas City area to enjoy being near family and friends, and he feels as though he is at a point in his life when he can give back to Graceland.
“I owe a debt to Graceland, so now is my opportunity to give back,” shared Watson. “I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to open the doors I did without Graceland. I am honored, thrilled and flattered to be on the board.”
With a draw to also serve outside the corporate world, Watson has given much over the years and has served on several boards, many of which have a similar theme. He enjoyed his involvement with non-profit organizations and was drawn to opportunities to represent groups of people who he felt were under-represented and under-served, always bringing back those lessons to his corporate experience. He is a past member of the Minority Development Council and was awarded the 1990 Black Achiever in Industry Award by the Harlem Branch of the YMCA.
“As a good corporate citizen you have an obligation to give back to the communities you serve,” said Watson.
Now, Watson will serve the Graceland community. He said, “The leadership of President Draves and the other trustees is energizing,” and he is excited about the future of Graceland and for the opportunity to discuss expansion of educational offerings and recruiting. He believes he has the ability to offer an unbiased viewpoint through exposure to a different background and life experiences.
“I am excited to welcome Ryan as a new trustee and believe Graceland will greatly benefit from his contribution,” shared Graceland University President Patricia H. Draves. “Ryan’s unique and accomplished past experiences have much to offer the university, and his love for Graceland is unmistakable. I look forward to working with him.”