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Ryan Neiswender

Ryan Neiswender

Basketball Paralympian | Plays professionally in Germany | Class of 2017

His birth certificate says home was Lebanon, Pa. His passport says home is Hamburg, Germany.

But Ryan Neiswender’s heart says something different altogether.

“As I reflect on my time as an Illini, the only way to describe Urbana-Champaign is that it just felt like home. From the moment I committed to play for this university, to my final game as an Illini, what I will remember most is the love and support that I received from teammates, coaches, professors and the community,” says the Team USA basketball Paralympian (BS '17, kinesiology/exercise science).

“The place on campus that comes to mind when I recall my time at Illinois is the ramps at Memorial Stadium. The crisp, cold Thursday morning conditioning up and down the ramps, the smell of the stadium, booming I-L-L chants from our team, and the feeling you had when you completed the workout is something I will never forget.

“The person who had a profound impact on my life during my time at Illinois was our Fellowship of Christian Athletes area representative, Justin Neally. He introduced me to Christ, and helped shape me into the man I am today.”