Early life and education
Paul Davis Ryan Jr. was born in
Janesville, Wisconsin, the youngest of four children of Elizabeth A. (née Hutter), who later became an interior designer,
 and Paul Davis Ryan, a lawyer. He is a fifth-generation Wisconsinite. His father was of
Irish ancestry and his mother of
 One of Ryan's paternal ancestors settled in Wisconsin prior to the
 His great-grandfather, Patrick William Ryan (1858–1917), founded an
earthmoving company in 1884, which later became P. W. Ryan and Sons and is now known as Ryan Incorporated Central.
 Ryan's grandfather, Stanley M. Ryan (1898–1957), was appointed
U.S. Attorney for the
Western District of Wisconsin.
Ryan attended St. Mary's Catholic School in Janesville, where he played on the seventh-grade basketball team,
 then attended
Joseph A. Craig High School,
 where he was elected president of his junior class, and thus became
 As class president Ryan was a representative of the student body on the
 Following his second year, Ryan took a job working the grill at
 He was on his high school's
ski, track, and
varsity soccer teams and played
basketball in a Catholic recreational league.
 He participated in several academic and social clubs including the
Model United Nations.
 Ryan and his family often went on hiking and
skiing trips to the
When he was 16, Ryan found his 55-year-old father lying dead in bed of a heart attack.
 Following the death of his father, Ryan's grandmother moved in with the family. As she had
Alzheimer's, Ryan helped care for her while his mother commuted to college in Madison, Wisconsin.
 From the time of his father's death until his 18th birthday, Ryan received
Social Security survivors benefits, which were saved for his college education.
 His mother remarried, to Bruce Douglas.
Ryan has a bachelor's degree in
political science from
Miami University in
 where he became interested in the writings of
Ludwig von Mises, and
 He often visited the office of
libertarian professor Richard Hart to discuss the theories of these economists and of
 Hart introduced Ryan to
 and with Hart's recommendation Ryan began an
internship in the D.C. office of Wisconsin
Senator Bob Kasten where he worked with Kasten's foreign affairs adviser.
He attended the
Washington Semester program at
 Ryan worked summers as a salesman for
Oscar Mayer and once got to drive the
 Ryan was a member of the
 and volunteered for the congressional campaign of
 He was a member of the
Delta Tau Delta social