- Honorary Degree (1848)
- Doctor of Divinity
- Bloomington, Indiana
- Presenter: Andrew Wylie
Alfred Ryors was born in 1812 on Long Island, New York. He was orphaned at so young an age that he barely remembered his parents. Friends of his father adopted him. At age 11, he began an internship with Reverend Robert Steel for the ministry.
Ryors attended Jefferson College and graduated from there in 1834. He then became principal of the Academic Department at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania for one year. In 1836, he became professor of Mathematics at Ohio University. In 1838, he completed his ministerial studies, was licensed to preach, and ordained a minister by the Presbyterian Church.
In 1843, Ryors came to IU to teach mathematics. He became President of Ohio University in 1848, a position he held until 1852. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1848 from IU. After Andrew Wylie’s death in 1852, Ryors became the second president of IU. He left Indiana in 1853 and filled in as temporary pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Madison, Indiana. They offered him the permanent pastor position, but he declined. Instead, he took a mathematics professorship at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, which he held until his death in 1858.
Ryors married Louisa Walker of Ohio in 1838. First child and namesake, Alfred Ryors Jr., was born in 1842. They had three sons and two daughters. He and his wife had two more children: Annabelle (born 1843) and Robert (born 1846). In 1849, he and his wife had their last child, son Joseph.
After Ryors’ death, his widow moved back to Bloomington, Indiana, living with their daughter, who had married an IU Trustee. Namesake son, Alfred, attended IU, where he obtained his law degree. His son-in-law, Robert Miers, graduated from IU in 1870 and later became one of its trustees until 1897, after which, he served in the U.S. Congress until 1905. His son, Robert, became a Missouri state senator, and the town of Ryors, Missouri, founded in 1905, was named in his honor.
Ryors has many living descendants, some of which live in Bloomington, Indiana.
Ohio University’s Ryors Hall, which was built in 1966, was named in honor of Ryors.