Submitted by Charles A. Tritschler on Wednesday, 4/14/2010, at 4:30 PM

rylan burnsIn a letter to Everett Clark '51, Director of Donor Relations for the College, Diana Scriver, reported that the Thomas H. Wyman '51 Medal was awarded last May to Rylan Kyle Burns of the Class of 2009.  She stated that "Rylan is majoring in economics and sociology, and hails from
 Mill Bay, British Columbia, Canada. As a star defenseman on Amherst's hockey team he earned all-academic honors in NESCAC this year, finishing his collegiate career with 10 goals and 40 assists. Last summer he helped organize a Grassroots Soccer tournament and clinic for girls under 13. He's a great example of a young man who exemplifies the standards that Tom held dear."
 In an email to the class of 1951, Rylan  Burns replied to the question of how he came from British Columbia to Amherst as follows.

"Thank you to the class of 1951 for this prestigious honor.  I would have to imagine my path to Amherst was fairly unique. After playing junior hockey in the BCHL for four years, I was considering attending a few division 1 schools in the US. However, aware that I was likely not going to play in the NHL, I thought it would be worthwhile to look into some more academically challenging schools.

I Googled top colleges in the United States and picked the top 5 or so schools that had a hockey team. I emailed Coach Arena and Rheume at Amherst who came to watch me play and encouraged me to apply. After assuring me that I would likely be accepted, I chose to attend Amherst. Considering I never heard of the school three weeks earlier, had no idea what a "liberal arts" education entailed, and never visited the campus, it was the luckiest and best decision I have ever made.

Amherst changed my life in more ways than I can count. Hockey had been my primary focus for the first 20 years of my life and Amherst allowed me to recognize passions and interests that I never knew I possessed. Although I am excited to open a new chapter in my life, I would give just about anything to go back for one more year."

NESCAC Academic Honors for 12 of 13 eligible at Amherst compared to 4 of 13 at Williams is startling. Coach Arena is a big reason our team has been so successful both on and off the ice. He not only demands excellence on the ice, but has high expectations of his players away from the rink and in the classroom. Darren Rheume, our assistant coach, has done much of the recruiting and puts together our media guide and is another reason our team has been so successful recently.

Although I cannot imagine what an adjustment Amherst must have been after World War II, I also had a difficult time adjusting to college life after 3 years of junior hockey. I was used to evenings of poker and hanging out with friends, certainly not the library and homework. Fortunately, I had a great group of professors, tutors and friends that helped me readjust to school life and discover a passion for learning I never knew I possessed.
Not to sound like the college website or President Marx, but I really grew to appreciate the diverse student body over my four years. Having students from all over the world with different backgrounds taught me how to interact with a variety of people and, more importantly, gave me insight into different ways of thinking about school, politics, society, etc.

I start work at Fidelity in a few weeks as a "Business Associate". It is a rotational position that will have me splitting time between trading and equity research. I am hoping the job will take to Europe or Asia in the next few years as I still have a lot of places I need to visit.