OXFORD, Miss. – Ryan Malone’s life was defined by his great love of people and the calling he felt to help others with their health and physical issues.
The University of Mississippi graduate student majoring in kinesiology was only 24 when he died in September 2012, but his passions and dedication will live on through the countless lives he touched and now through two new funds created by his parents Phil Malone, retired chair and associate professor of finance at Ole Miss, and Charlotte Malone, a retired teacher with the Oxford School District.
“Ryan had already earned a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science with a minor in biology and was completing a master’s degree,” Phil Malone said. “He was fascinated with the science of motion and had some ideas on prosthetics that he thought would be effective. Since high school he had worked with people to set up their exercise programs. He later became a certified personal trainer and worked at the Turner Center on campus.”
Charlotte Malone said the academic field Ryan pursued worked well with his personality.
“He had a deep love for people,” she said. “Instead of focusing on himself, he always took time to listen to people and give his opinion when asked. He enjoyed studying the human body and was respected for his knowledge in that area. Phil and I enjoyed and benefited from listening to Ryan discuss kinesiology and the human body. We were always amazed at how he could explain the workings of the human body in easy to understand terms.
“He was a good example of how well students are taught at Ole Miss. With this gift, we want to honor him through the university department he loved.”
Created to provide scholarship assistance for those students majoring in exercise science, the Ryan P. Malone Memorial Endowment has been established by the Malones with a planned gift of $1.25 million. The annual income from the endowed funds, which will be held permanently, can also be used to support student activities and programs.
The Malones also have created the Ryan P. Malone Graduate Assistantship and a Senior Achievement Award Fund by committing gifts to provide financial assistance each year to a student pursuing a graduate degree in kinesiology or a related field in the department of exercise science, as well as providing a $1,000 annual award to an outstanding senior exercise science major who has plans to pursue a graduate degree in the same field. The inaugural recipient of the graduate assistantship is Caleb Williams of Lake Butler, Florida; and the senior achievement recognition goes to Rena Goodwin of Winchester, Massachusetts.
John Garner, interim chair of the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management in the School of Applied Sciences, taught Malone in both undergraduate and graduate classes and described him as a model student.
“Ryan lived and breathed exercise science, a field he had chosen to pursue for academic study,” Garner said. “He was dedicated to learning everything he could, but he actually lived it for his own personal health. Ryan asked thoughtful questions, always delving deeper than others, and he often stayed after classes to clarify points.”
The Malones’ gifts represent the largest single private contribution ever designated for this department, Garner said. “It will make a tremendous difference in the future. The graduate assistantships and senior awards funded by the Malones will provide a tangible way for rewarding students for a job well done.”
UM Chancellor Dan Jones said Ryan Malone will always be a part of the university.
“Ryan will live on in the Ole Miss family, and his spirit will be felt across our campus, where he literally grew up,” Jones said. “He enjoyed a lifelong relationship with this university, and we are grateful he chose Ole Miss for his college home. We will think of him when we see other students immerse themselves in their chosen field of study and strive to serve others through their lives and future professions.”
Phil Malone said when his only child graduated from Oxford High School, he tried to get Ryan to look at other universities as a means of comparison. “Ryan wouldn’t hear of it. It was World War III, and I lost the war. He was a fun kid with overly conservative parents. He loved being with his friends, and he loved Oxford and Ole Miss.”
Charlotte Malone agreed, smiling, “Ryan and Phil had a relationship filled with great humor. I was the serious one. I would want students who are helped by these funds to know that Ryan loved life and being a Christian was reflected in the ways he treated and interacted with people – they were important to him.”
The Malones said Ryan was active and competitive. He was a member of College Hill Presbyterian Church. While an Oxford High School student, his peers voted him “Most Dependable” in the senior class of 2006. He was a 2005 medalist in pole vaulting at the state level and later became an avid bodybuilder. In his first entrance in a formal competition, the Mississippi Classic Body Building, he captured second place in the middle weight category and was planning to participate again.
The Malones have also have committed a major planned gift to the Department of Finance in the School of Business Administration, designated for faculty support and nonscholarship support of student activities.
“It was Phil who recruited me to Ole Miss when he was chair of the Department of Finance. He has been a friend, mentor and role model with his continued dedication to the department and to the education of our students,” said Ken Cyree, dean of School of Business Administration. The Malones’ gift will provide support that is consistent with their values and aligns with honoring Ryan’s desire to help people, so we are honored and grateful for their generosity.”
Anyone interested in supporting the Ryan P. Malone Memorial Endowment or the Ryan P. Malone Graduate Assistantship and Senior Achievement Award Fund can send a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38655; visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift; or contact Michael Upton, director of development for the School of Applied Sciences, at 662-915-3027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.