Co-Chair, HAA Global Month of Service
As an Elected Director of the Harvard Alumni Association from Los Angeles, Liz Ryan has enthusiastically worked to strengthen ties among alumni, and with their broader communities. When Harvard President Drew Faust announced in 2010 a new global initiative to engage the Harvard community in public service, Liz leapt at the chance to share that spirit with alumni in Los Angeles. Working with the Harvard Club of Southern California, she formulated a task force of local alumni, who organized volunteer opportunities in 19 organizations, in areas ranging from ecology, to education, to food delivery, to inner-city youth, to medical research, to art and music for the disadvantaged. During the April Month of Service, a record 150 Los Angeles area alumni volunteered.
When not working with the HAA, Liz works behind-the-scenes in film production. In 2008 she received the Frank Capra Award of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Guilds’ highest honor afforded to an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager, in recognition of “career achievement in the industry and service to the DGA.” Her credits include over 70 productions around the world.
She has worked diligently to improve access to the arts for the economically disadvantaged, particularly for women and minorities in the film and television industry. Active on the boards of the DGA and its Training Program, she also volunteers with the Levitt Foundation, providing free live concerts in underserved communities, and with Peace4Kids, offering creative enrichment to foster children in greater Los Angeles.
At Harvard, scholarships allowed her entrée to a new realm of ideas. She wrote for The Crimson and The New York Times, was a student producer for WGBH TV’s “The Advocates,” and read for the blind. Upon graduation, she received the Captain Jonathan Fay Award.
Ever grateful for financial assistance from Harvard, Liz has since enthusiastically engaged in fundraising for the College. As the Los Angeles Regional Chair for her 25th Reunion, she helped her class set a still-standing, 25th reunion record for donations. She is a member of the Harvard Clubs of Southern California and New York and she welcomes input from all members of the alumni community.