Middlesex District Attorney: Marian Ryan '76

Marian Ryan '76Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan ’76 attributes the woman she has become to the personal foundations she constructed at Emmanuel College.

“I think that’s one of the reasons I look back so fondly and why I’ve stayed so connected to the school,” said Ryan. “In so many ways Emmanuel challenged me to really reach beyond my comfort zone and provided me so many opportunities.”

A Somerville native, Ryan discovered Emmanuel College during a first grade field trip to campus. “I just fell in love with the campus,” said Ryan. “It was the first big college campus I had ever seen and since then I always wanted to go to school there."

Upon graduating high school, she did just that. Enrolling in 1972 as a commuter student, Ryan took on a double major in English and Political Science and became actively involved on campus.

During her time at Emmanuel, she drew from a wealth of extracurricular activities including involvement in the Political Science Club, serving as the English department’s student representative, as well as the student representative for the President’s Task Force, an accreditation and planning committee for the college. More than anything though, the guidance she received from her advisor propelled her forward.

“Sister Mary James, my advisor in the English department was wonderful,” said Ryan. “She had this way of making everything exciting, making everything seem possible.”
Ryan found a job one summer at Greater Boston Legal Services, loving the work so much that she worked with her advisors to create a for-credit internship, which allowed her to stay at Greater Boston during the school year and receive course credit. Upon graduation, Ryan enrolled in Boston College’s School of Law, interning in the District Attorney’s office during her time as a law student through her preparation for the Bar.

Prior to being named Middlesex District Attorney in April 2013, Ryan served as the office’s general counsel and chief of its Elder and Disabled Unit, responsible for the office’s interactions with outside agencies as well as the prosecution and management of cases dealing with the elderly. In short, Ryan has spent her entire professional career within the District Attorney’s Office, and not without good reason.

“I love this job. This is a wonderful office, with a great tradition and legacy of excellence,” said Ryan, who went on to list what she loves best about her role. “I love the piece of this job that allows me to help grow good lawyers: To have young lawyers come here and have the same kind of experience that I did. I love being involved in prevention and intervention, being involved in the community and really doing some creative things. This office has a legacy of pursuing fair prosecutions conducted with integrity.”

Ryan will serve as Middlesex District Attorney until the fall 2014 election, in which she plans to run for the office. As acting DA, there are a number of initiatives she seeks to pursue, with her interests focused on working to further college campus and workplace safety.

“In addition to the 54 cities and towns that we have (in Middlesex County), we have a large number of colleges where every semester there are a great number of young people coming, many away from home for the first time,” said Ryan. “Colleges are wonderful because they attract all types of newcomers to the community but there are always safety risks created there.”

Ryan has always been an active member of the Emmanuel College community, having served as an adjunct professor of law on campus in the late 80’s and early 90’s. With two nieces having graduated from Emmanuel College in the past decade, Ryan finds that the community is just as strong as it has ever been.

“I have stayed connected with lots of alumni through the years. A big part of Emmanuel’s legacy and tradition is the concept of giving back, being part of a larger community,” said Ryan. “I find that even now in the community initiatives I am involved in outside of work that the people I meet there are very often from Emmanuel. It isn’t just my own experience with the importance of community involvement, but something that Emmanuel has very obviously imprinted on all of us.”

View The Boston Globe's article about Marian Ryan »

View the Middlesex District Attorney's website »