Lisa Marsh Ryerson '81 Selected as AARP Foundation President

September 25, 2013

AARP Foundation today announced it has appointed Lisa Marsh Ryerson as the next president of AARP Foundation, succeeding Jo Ann Jenkins, who led the foundation’s resurgence for the past four years. Ryerson is an experienced and innovative leader who as president and chief executive officer of Wells College completed the largest and most successful fundraising effort in the college’s history, and elevated the college’s standing as a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education.

“Lisa has extensive experience not only leading a large, complex organization, but also successfully navigating such an organization through periods of transition and significant growth,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “She excels at collaboratively developing and executing strategic plans for increased impact.”

Jenkins added, “During the past four years, we have made significant progress in the four Foundation impact areas of Hunger, Isolation, Housing and Income for the most vulnerable in the 50+ population. Also, we continue to explore and develop new and exciting approaches for fulfilling the AARP Foundation mission. Lisa is exactly the type of leader who will quickly and effectively propel the foundation to even higher levels of achievement.”

Ryerson said, “I am incredibly excited and honored to join AARP Foundation as we journey forward to win back opportunity for struggling 50+ Americans and their families. Our nation’s shared future will be brighter if we work together to help those most in need. There is no higher calling for me than to support the historic and visionary work of this extraordinary organization.”

After more than a century as a women’s college, Lisa led the transition of Wells College to becoming a coed institution. During this period, Wells was so successfully repositioned in the marketplace that enrollment increased 45 percent in just six years. While President of Wells College, she also led the revitalization of commercial properties in the village of Aurora. She served as chair of Aurora Inn, Inc., the college’s for profit enterprise whose holdings include the four diamond Aurora Inn and E. B. Morgan House. Lisa led the launch of an endowed Center for Business and Entrepreneurship and raised $17 million to build a state of the art science education facility. In recognition of the outstanding leadership she provided during her 18-year tenure as president, the Wells College Board of Trustees recently named Lisa President Emerita.

With a bachelor of Arts degree from Wells College and a Master of Science in Education, Literacy from the University of New York College at Cortland, Lisa also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from State University of New York for having “met and exceeded each of John Quincy Adams’ standards for leadership.”


About AARP Foundation:

AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, strengthen communities, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is AARP’s affiliated charity. Learn more at


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