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OCTOBER 22

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Change Starts with You

Nolan Ritchie received his degree in political science from Lebanon Valley College and is now executive director of the Senate Transportation Committee

Nolan Ritchie ’06 was just a first-year student in college when the devastating terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred. The attacks, which significantly changed the world’s political landscape, made Ritchie’s experience as a political science major particularly timely. 

“It was an interesting time to study politics as a new world order was re-shaping our lives in the absence of social media,” said Ritchie. “Today, students are in a far better position to connect with like-minded political viewpoints.”

While at LVC, Ritchie studied away through LVC’s program in Washington, D.C., where he concentrated in foreign relations at American University. He also interned at the United Nations Information Centre and attended numerous events at foreign embassies such as China, France, Mexico, Peru, and Russia.

“My time abroad influenced me to start a student group on campus to ‘think globally, act locally’,” recalled Ritchie. “I firmly believe LVC’s study away program significantly prepared me to confront any challenge, personally or professionally.”

After graduating from LVC, Ritchie started his public service career in state government as a clerk typist in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). After just a few years at PennDOT, he was quickly promoted and appointed to special assistant to the Secretary of PennDOT.

While at PennDOT, Ritchie earned his master of public administration degree from Penn State Harrisburg. Inspired by his passion for public service, he established a local chapter for the American Society for Public Administration as he worked toward his degree. 

Today, Ritchie works for Pennsylvania State Senator Kim L. Ward (R-39) who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee. As executive director of the committee for the last five years, Ritchie has supported the transportation legislative priorities of the Transportation Chair and the Senate Republican Caucus by drafting legislation and formulating transportation policies that directly impact millions of Pennsylvanians. 

“Every day, I walk through the halls of the beautiful State Capitol and am captivated by the rich history of lawmakers who dreamed of and took action for a better civilization,” said Ritchie.

Looking toward the future, Ritchie dreams of taking on new leadership opportunities in the fields of legislative affairs, policymaking, and/or advocacy. He also encourages future and current students to think about how they can influence societal change and understand that everyone has the potential to make a difference. 

“Whether you study business, health, or psychology at LVC, there is always a career path for you in public service, whether locally or globally. Any student who wants to better society can make meaningful change through new laws or public policies.”