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When Ryan Sims graduated from South Oldham High School in 2004, he was unsure of what major he would choose when he went to college. Now, having graduated May 4 from the University of Kentucky with a dual major in marketing and finance, combined with real-world experience and a positive overseas study opportunity, Sims is looking forward to whatever lies ahead.“UK really turned out to be the right place for me,” Sims said. “The wide variety of programs offered and the opportunities I’ve had to grow outside of the classroom have been great.”Toward the end of his freshman year in Lexington, Sims seemed headed toward a major in journalism or advertising. One day, he was speaking to an adult friend from back home, Joe Day, who arranged for Ryan to meet with Terry Mobley, formerly UK’s chief development officer and currently the university’s vice president for advancement.What followed was the chance for Sims to try his hand at some part-time work in the development office, together with the decision to focus his academic pursuits in the Gatton College of Business and Economics. He definitely has made the most of both.Kristin Cruser, manager of development communications for UK said, “Ryan has been a real asset to this office for more than two years. He is a gifted writer who has demonstrated his ability to meet with donor prospects and interview them for articles for our publications.”In addition to his 12-15 hours each week working in the development office while maintaining a B-plus average in the college of business, Sims has been employed full-time at the office in the summers, except for three weeks during 2007 when he studied abroad in Vienna, Austria.“The two classes I took while there were excellent, and it gave me the opportunity to explore another of my passions, the love of all kinds of music,” said Sims.That connection is amplified by his attendance at concerts, in playing the guitar, and in recording musicHis experience working in the development office has taught Sims the importance of good people skills and just how important it is to cultivate relationships and keep in touch with folks.“I’ve also learned just how critical development is to the well-being and enhancement of this university,” added Sims. “Private fund-raising provides the margin of excellence for UK which is absolutely vital.”On the immediate horizon, Sims is hoping to put his creativity, writing skills, and business training to good use in a position at a marketing, public relations, or advertising firm.“UK has come to mean so much more to me than just where I’ve received an excellent education,” said Sims. “One day, I would like to be able to endow a program in recording engineering at the university. That’s one of my goals.”That would be music to the collective ears of the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University of Kentucky.