In a speech today that offered more policy discussion than pump-up politics, Mr. Ryan outlined how a Romney administration would improve the lives of those in poverty.
"Upward mobility is the central promise of life in America but right now America's engines of upward mobility aren't working the way they should," he said. "Mitt Romney and I are running because we believe that Americans are better off in a dynamic, free-enterprise based economy that fosters economic growth and opportunity and upward mobility instead of a stagnant government-directed economy that stifles job creation and fosters government dependency."
Mr. Ryan called for reforms to anti-poverty programs and schools and more freedom for nonprofits to operate.
"We are still trying to measure compassion by how much government spends, not by how many people we help escape from poverty," he said.
Jimmy Kemp, son of NFL football player and former U.S. Congressman Jack Kemp, who died in 2009, introduced Mr. Ryan, who called Jack Kemp a mentor.
Jackie Schlemmer, 18, arrived outside CSU's Waetjen Auditorium more than an hour and a half before the speech's start. The CSU freshman from New Castle, Penn. backs the Republican team because she said her hometown hinges on the success of farmers and small business. A candidate with those interests, is "exactly what I'm looking for," she said.
She learned about Mr. Ryan's appearance here on Tuesday and made plans to attend -- alone.
"Every single one of my friends and roommates here are Democrats," Miss Schlemmer said.
But that wasn't going to prevent her from coming to see the man she wants to be the next vice president.
"I've been up all morning," she said.
Music -- much of it country-- played as the crowd found seats, and TV screens positioned around the auditorium showed campaign videos and Romney family interviews. A supporter passed out postcards printed with a cookie recipe from Ann Romney, as well as reasons to vote for her husband.
Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney both have made frequent campaign stops in Ohio, a key swing state where Mr. Romney returns Thursday for events in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Defiance. Both are scheduled to appear in North Canton on Friday.