Ryan Donoghue

English major Ryan Donoghue takes a hike during the fall around Lake Tahoe

Major: English

Class of: 2016

My journey to SNC was my own. It took a few years away from school, solitude, stretches of highway, a doomed relationship, the death of my father, more solitude, big books, and eventually an admiration for people in all their madness. I spent almost five years working seasonally and traveling in between jobs. I’d save up enough money to travel for a month or two; I made it to Canada, Alaska, Mexico, eastern states, but Ireland was especially memorable–that may be because I’m a bit of an Irish chauvinist.

English major Ryan Donoghue practices his swings at a golf course in the Lake Tahoe basin During my time spent away from academia, I developed an insatiable appetite for literature and realized that our orientation to the world depends on the language we use to define it; studying literature fosters that growing and knowing.

“It’s difficult to separate experience and language; words are magic. A more expansive vocabulary provides for a more expansive understanding of the world. That’s why literature, in all its facets, is still so important – it begets empathy.”

As a senior I am a mentor, on the Golf Team, Debate Team Captain, SGA Secretary, and Assistant Editor for the Sierra Nevada Review. June Saraceno’s unfeigned enthusiasm encouraged me to become so active on campus; I can’t take credit for my involvement without acknowledging her. It’s all about the people. The college is just an empty space without the people. It’s all about engaging with one another and helping someone out when you can. I’d be dirt without family and friends. It didn’t take me long to realize that’s what makes SNC so great: we’re a family.

Law school has been an aim of mine since my father passed and I realized I didn’t have the chops for professional golf. My old man was an attorney, my uncle practices family law in LA, and my older brother now practices civil litigation in Sacramento. Growing up I couldn’t come to the dinner table unprepared for a colorful argument. Professors here have been beyond encouraging and have me considering different paths, but for now I’ll be busy studying for the LSAT and applying to law schools. In ten years maybe I’ll have written a bestseller – time will tell, stay tuned.

Update: August 2018

Ryan is starting at University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in the fall of 2018. He is the second recent SNC English graduate to choose law. Benjamin Currier (BA in English 2014) received his J.D. from the University of New Hampshire in May 2018.

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