Alumni Profile: Ryan Colaianni

Posted on Mar 8, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Ryan Colaianni, j’07, c’07, is vice president of Edelman in Washington, D.C. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, where he leads the Washington, D.C. Alumni Network and has hosted numerous student recruitment and alumni events. In 2011, he received the Dick Wintermote Award, which honors network volunteers who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership to their network and the alumni association. Ryan is a Life Member and Presidents Club member and is also a member of the KU Alumni Association’s national board of directors.

I became a Jayhawk because…

Ryan Colaianni, j'07, c'07I knew that I wanted to study journalism at a university that allowed me to write for the student paper my freshman year. I started working for the Kansan before my first class and by my sophomore year, I was traveling the country covering the KU football team. By my junior year I was covering the men’s basketball team. I was writing professionally for the Lawrence Journal-World and the Topeka Capital Journal before I graduated.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

The hands-on experience I gained at KU through a variety of activities, including the University Daily Kansan, and spending a summer as an orientation assistant helped develop my writing skills and instilled an ability to meet any deadline.

Where is the most unexpected place you’ve ever heard someone yell, “Rock Chalk”?

I’ve heard it everywhere! From Copenhagen to Florence to Jamaica, there is not a place I have been while wearing a KU shirt that I haven’t heard “Rock Chalk.” That bird helps make real connections in the places you least expect it.

What made your degree program distinctly KU?

I visited a number of journalism schools while looking at colleges and most provided a bland presentation with dozens of other prospective students. When I visited KU, I toured with just one other potential student and got to meet real students and professors to hear firsthand how I could succeed at KU. That experience carried over throughout my four years.

How did KU push you to try harder or to try something new?

I didn’t know a soul when I arrived at KU from the east coast. The campus community was unbelievably accepting, and I quickly had a number of different niches and groups to be a part of. From Greek life, to my classes, to the campus activities I picked, I was always challenged to go further and try something new.

My best advice for college students is…

Go to class. It will save you hours of pain when you try to cram for that exam or write that paper.

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