Dr. Ryan Messmore serves as the fifth President of Magdalen College. For many years, Messmore has advanced liberal arts education in the Catholic tradition, and he has extensive experience implementing such an education as an academic leader.
Before beginning his tenure at Magdalen, Messmore served as Assistant Headmaster of Academic Affairs at St. David’s School in Raleigh, NC. There, he led a comprehensive curriculum review that brought about a new trimester system and a humanities program taught through Socratic-style seminars. Previously, Messmore served as President of Campion College in Australia. Because liberal arts education is less familiar in Australia than in the United States, Messmore played a pioneering role articulating its importance to the public. He went on to serve as Founder and Executive Director of the Millis Institute at Christian Heritage College.
Messmore holds a DPhil in Theology from the University of Oxford and an MPhil in Theology from the University of Cambridge. He also received an MTS from Duke Divinity School upon completing an AB in Public Policy and Religion from Duke University. When asked about his background, Messmore replied, “I have traveled from the United States to England to Australia and back in a single-minded quest to promote and practice the best educational traditions of our faith. This quest has led me to Magdalen, which is home to an inspirational faculty and passionate student body committed to the same goal. Together, with God’s grace, I believe we can accomplish something extraordinary.”
In addition to his academic background, Messmore has been a public advocate on issues related to religion, culture, and education. From 2006-2012, Messmore served as William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at the Heritage Foundation, and he frequently wrote for outlets such as First Things, National Affairs, and The Washington Times. While in Australia, he was an honored speaker at a multitude of education-related conferences. Most recently, Messmore published In Love: The Larger Story of Sex and Marriage, where he draws on personal experience and the Christian tradition to articulate the meaning and purpose of marriage.
Messmore has a deep enthusiasm for Magdalen’s mission, traditions, and impact: “When I first visited Magdalen, I was moved by the profundity of the institution, its mission, and the members of its community. This is a place where the curriculum leads every student into a unified, ongoing conversation. It begins in the classroom, continues over meals, and persists late into the night in the dorms. The shared pursuit of truth has a transformative impact on young people, and it prepares them for a life of flourishing well beyond college. Now more than ever, today’s culture needs intentional communities that can shape tomorrow’s leaders to discern what is true and stand for what is right. I look forward to furthering the best traditions of Magdalen and leading it to new growth.