Nationwide — Michelle and Roosevelt Boyland, the proud parents of Ryan who graduated from medical school this year from University of Nebraska, decided to surprise their son with a billboard celebrating his achievement.
Since Ryan became the first doctor in their family, his parents wanted to make the celebration unique and more special. Michelle came up with the idea of renting a billboard after being inspired by a similar news story she saw, she told Good Morning America.
The whole family kept it a secret from Ryan, even when he bombarded them with questions. When they finally took him to see the billboard in person, Ryan was astounded to see his photo towering above the roadway.
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.