Written by: BoNhia Lee, Fresno State News
Misty Her remembers walking her son Ryan, then only 2 years old, from their apartment across the street from Fresno State toward the Kremen Education Building to meet her husband after he finished class.
She told Ryan that he could attend Fresno State someday.
She and her husband, Phong Yang, met at the University. She earned a degree in liberal studies. He earned a French degree. They got married, started a family and supported each other through master’s programs also at Fresno State — Her in school supervision and administration while Yang studied linguistics.
Fresno State was the obvious choice when it was time for Ryan to choose a college, he said. It was close to home, it has a good reputation and he could catch a ride with his dad, who works at the University.
While their Fresno State ties are strong, Ryan’s parents insist they never pressured him to become a Bulldog. Yang, now director of admissions and recruitment at Fresno State, jokes that he would have been the first to recruit his son. But their children, including daughter Grace who is a Fresno State sophomore, and youngest son Gabriel, a fifth-grader in the Fresno Unified School District, have the opportunity to go anywhere and discover themselves, their parents said.
Ryan graduates Fresno State in May with a degree in political science and a minor in philosophy. In the fall, he heads to the University of Nebraska for law school with a goal of working for an organization where he can defend First Amendment rights.
“These last two years went by really fast,” Ryan said. “I’m very excited to be graduating, particularly because I’ve been accepted to law school where the stuff I want to learn and what I want to work in will be at. Let me go, already!”
For Her, she still sees little Ryan.
“I feel like I just brought him home. I still see him as this little boy. I can’t believe that he’s graduating,” she said. “He’s worked really hard. He said, ‘I’m going to go and finish in four years’ and before you know it, four years is already here.”
Ryan grew up in his mom’s Fresno Unified classrooms watching her decorate the boards on the wall for her students. Then he watched her climb through the administration ranks to her current post as the district’s deputy superintendent.