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Paper and pencil make way for pixels

High density electroencephalograms, such as those used by students in Psychology Professor James Moser's lab, represent the many high tech research opportunities for today's students.

When Jane Ranney studied psychology at Michigan State in the 1960s, she observed a prevailing notion that psychology research did not require the same level of support that other sciences did.  As a result, important resources were often scarce.  Now, through a charitable bequest in her estate plans, a fund is available to help future student researchers.

Known as the Jane E. Ranney, Ph.D. Endowed Research Enhancement Fund, her gift will support student research in the Department of Psychology, including supplemental funding for equipment and technology needs.

“They thought that all you needed was paper and pencil, so there weren’t funds for equipment,” she says regarding those who allocated research funds to students when she studied at MSU.  “You could get paper and pencil and maybe computer time, and that was it.  There just weren’t funds, except through faculty grants, to do real research where you needed equipment, or animals, or things of that sort.”

Dr. Ranney received her bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. from the Department of Psychology at MSU which she credits with providing her with the foundational skills to build a long career of teaching and research. 

While she lives in North Carolina now, part of Dr. Ranney’s motivation to create this endowed fund is the fact that her parents owned Ranney Jewelers on Grand River Avenue.  The primary clientele for the store were students, faculty and staff of MSU. “We profited from MSU,” she says, “so I think it’s only right.” 


For more information on making a gift to the College of Social Science, contact Senior Director of Development Nick McLaren at or call (517) 884-2189.