Paul Ryan Found Himself at Miami University of Ohio

If vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan has hopes for the highest office in the land, he's in good company - among his fellow alumni at Miami University in Ohio is former president Benjamin Harrison, who is best known for signing the Sherman Antitrust Act and overseeing the heavy-spending "Billion Dollar Congress."

Rep. Ryan graduated from the public university at Oxford, Ohio in 1992.

The school, founded in 1809, is the tenth oldest university in the United States. It's named after the Miami Valley, the area surrounding the Great Miami River in southwest Ohio.

The school's motto - "To Accomplish Rather Than to Be Conspicuous" - is fitting for the seven-term congressman who gained notoriety in the House for his knowledge and focus on complex policy issues.

Only six years after graduating with a Bachelor's degree in political science and economics, Ryan was elected to Congress. It was at Miami, Ryan has said, that he developed his love of economics and public policy. There, he was exposed to economic thinkers such as Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman, whose philosophies today serve as inspiration for conservative politicians.

"I came to Oxford after a difficult high school experience where I lost my father, helped take care of my family, and really had to grow up fast," Ryan said at the 2009 commencement ceremonies at Miami University. "It is here at Miami where I was able to find myself; I found a sense of direction and a sense of identity."

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Ryan cites economics Prof. Richard Hart as a driving force in his education and philosophy.

"Dr. Hart is a professor who took interest in this student who wished to learn - and provided much more than just an education in economics, he provided a vision quest in my mind to improve the economics of our nation," Ryan said.

U.S. News & World Report ranks the university's undergraduate program, which has 14,872 male and female students, 90th in the nation. The school is known for its "Cradle of Coaches," which refers to the high-profile coaches who have trained at Miami.

Other notable alumni include Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and Ben Roethlisberger, or "Big Ben," the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback who was drafted from Miami University in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.

Nick Lachey, a TV host and member of the band 98 Degrees, studied sports medicine at the university, but did not graduate. Other notable alumni include Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and Art Clokey, creator of "Gumby."