Michelle and Roosevelt Boyland, delighted parents of Ryan Boyland, who graduated from medical school at the University of Nebraska this year, decided to surprise their son with a billboard commemorating his accomplishment.
Ryan’s parents wanted to make the celebration unique and special because he was the first doctor in their family. Michelle got the idea for hiring a billboard after seeing a similar news story, she told Good Morning America.
Even though Ryan besieged them with inquiries, the entire family kept it a secret. Ryan was surprised to see his photo towering over the road when they eventually took him to see the billboard in person.
The billboard, located in Bellevue, Nebraska, near the church they attend and Ryan’s former high school, reads, “Congratulations Doctor Ryan Boyland Class of 2023 University of Nebraska Medical Center.” Michelle strategically chose this location to inspire the community, particularly young children, by showing them that they too can become doctors.
Although Ryan is not used to receiving a lot of attention caused by the billboard, he expressed his appreciation and recognized the importance of representation for people of color in the medical field.
“I think one of the things that I appreciate about it is the value of seeing, essentially, people of color in this role, as doctors, as physicians,” he said. “I’m one of the few people in my family who work in health care and so I didn’t necessarily have a lot of examples of Black doctors or Black male doctors in front of me. And so now, a lot of people have that example and they have someone they can look to and I think that’s important and I think that’s valuable.”
As for his next step, Ryan plans to start an emergency medicine residency with Denver Health.