When he arrived at the University of Arizona in the fall of 1993, Brother Ryan Anderson had lofty goals.
“When I met Ryan as a freshman, he spoke of one day becoming president of the United States,” his best friend Jeff Klinger ’94 says. “I was not really sure what to think about that when I first met him. It was a lofty goal. As the years went on, I realized that Ryan was serious.”
Eleven years later, Brother Anderson may or may not be pursuing a career as leader of the free world, but he has had his share of triumphs along the way. He started by becoming president of the Gamma-Rho Chapter as a sophomore and joining the Inter-Fraternal Council on the UA campus, as well as making the Dean’s List from 1995-1997.
He also helped Gamma-Rho transition from a smaller group of brothers to a large organization that is a major player at UA.
“Ryan helped motivate everyone else to believe we didn’t have to be an ‘also-ran’ fraternity, but could become one of the leading organizations on campus,” Schneider says. He didn’t just say it, but demonstrated it by rising to prominence within student government and in the social circles. Many people would agree that he was a pivotal force in changing the mindset of the fraternity into a ‘winning’ culture.
He graduated from the UA in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and English and then went on to attend law school at Southwestern College in Downtown Los Angeles, where he met his future wife, Dina.
While at Southwestern, he served as a law clerk for the Law Office of Franklin L. Ferguson, Jr., in Los Angeles and the Hate Crimes Division for the Los Angeles County District Attorney.
At the Law Office of Franklin L. Ferguson, Jr., he drafted appellate opening briefs, reply briefs and other legal memoranda; prepared questions for depositions; attended settlement conferences; summarized discovery for various cases; and performed legal research.
For the L.A. County District Attorney, he served as law clerk for four attorneys, conducted legal and factual research for trial preparation and provided support for jury and bench trials.
While at the UA, he served as a special assistant for legal issues for Pima County Parks and Recreation, writing contracts and intergovernmental agreements between Pima County and other state government agencies, serving as a liaison for County Board of Supervisors on contractual issues in Pima County and developing template contracts for Recreation department.
After graduating law school in May 2001,Ryan and Dina moved to Phoenix, where he joined Patrick Murphy’s law firm, Guttilla & Murphy PC, as an associate. He has case responsibility for Federal and State Receiverships, including depositions, discovery, pleadings and motions, as well as appearances in State and Federal Court.
Of course, for all of his professional achievements, Brother Anderson’s acceptance of the award couldn’t come without some good-natured ribbing from his buddies, especially when it involves “The Anderson Factor.”
“The Anderson Factor was when you had a certain level of reality, but Ryan would magnify everything,” Steve Napoles ’94 said.
“Ryan was known as the ‘Two-Beer President’ because it only took him two beers to get drunk,” Klinger says. Adds Napoles: “We’d go to Dirt-bags and everyone would spend $15-20, but Anderson would spend $3 on two beers and claim that he spent and drank as much as everyone else.”
Another case of The Anderson Factor has to do with Ryan’s all-state football and basketball career at Webb High School in Claremont, California – or lack thereof.
“The joke is that he never played football there, which we only found out when I brought up his exploits unknowingly in front of his brother Matt, who shot the whole thing down,” Schneider says. “He’ll hate me for reminding him of that, as I usually do, but it’s so much fun.”
When the brothers moved into the new chapter house in 1995-1996 school year, the chapter decided to get a large Christmas tree for its Christmas party. However, a few of the brothers, Anderson included, played a prank on House Manager George Jenson and removed half the branches and applied various “decorations” to the tree. When Jenson saw this, he went ballistic and ordered the culprits to fess up and fix the tree. At the last moment, Anderson – always the hero – “found” the branches in the maintenance room, even though he was the only one with the master key, and took all the credit.
Where would a good Man of the Year be without a little humiliation from others? Besides, it’s clear to everyone around him that Brother Anderson has done plenty to become the youngest-ever Gamma-Rho Man of the Year.
“Ryan’s always the first person to jump to help the fraternity in any situation,” his wife Dina says. “He’s very motivated and very driven to succeed, career-wise and socially in the fraternity. He always talks about his years in the fraternity and what a great thing it was being a member of the fraternity and everything after.”
Brother Anderson recently completed his duty as Gamma-Rho’s “Trustee” during their recent struggles and is currently the Secretary on the Housing Corporation Executive Committee.
“Ryan is the most driven person I know,” Klinger says. “Countless people are positively affected by your achievements and accomplishments. I know that he will continue to positively impact many people’s lives in the pursuit of his dreams.”
“Bottom line is that Ryan Anderson commanded respect and deserved it,” Schneider says. “He still does….and this is just the beginning for what will become a long and distinguished career of prominence and service.”