Alumnus Dr. Earl K. Miller Awards $2 Million Gift to Neuroscience and Psychology Programs at Kent State University

Earl K. Miller, Ph.D., and his wife, Marlene M. Wicherski, have pledged $2 million to fund three scholarships and a professorship in Kent State University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Miller is a Kent State alumnus who grew up in Lyndhurst, Ohio.

“The generosity of Earl and Marlene reflects their passion for Kent State’s brain health research,” says Kent State President Beverly Warren. “With their support, we will continue our multidisciplinary efforts to unlock the secrets of brain function and address the complex interaction of factors contributing to brain health.”

Dr. Miller is a Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT and co-founder of SplitSage, an information technology company based in Arlington, Massachusetts, that focuses on cloud-based analytics profiles. Ms. Wicherski is the owner of Marlene Wicherski Research Consulting and former research officer for the American Psychological Association. Their pledge reflects Dr. Miller’s own undergraduate days at Kent State, when his family faced challenging financial times.

The gift will support the following areas:

  • The Earl K. Miller First Generation Scholarship will help undergraduate students who are the first in their family to attend college, who are pursuing a degree in neuroscience and who can demonstrate financial need.
  • The Earl K. Miller Last Dollar Scholarship will support undergraduate students who are experiencing a financial hardship. Preference will be given to neuroscience students and secondarily to students majoring in biological sciences or experimental psychology.
  • The Earl K. Miller Medallion Scholarship will aid academically gifted undergraduate students majoring in psychological sciences with a focus on experimental psychology. The award is part of the Founders Scholars Program.
  • The Earl K. Miller Professor of Neuroscience award will endow a tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Psychological Sciences with a focus on neuroscience or experimental psychology within the College of Arts and Sciences. The recipient will receive an annual award during a five-year appointment to further the faculty member’s research and/or professional development.

“Kent State made a world of difference in my life,” Dr. Miller says. “I hope these gifts will make a difference to others.”

Dr. Miller received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Kent State in 1985 and his Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University in 1990. He has academic appointments in the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He has delivered numerous lectures worldwide. He serves on the editorial boards of major journals in neuroscience and on international advisory boards. His paper titled An Integrative Theory of Prefrontal Cortex Function (Miller and Cohen, 2001) has been designated a Current Classic among the most cited papers in neuroscience and behavior. Dr. Miller was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies.

“The Department of Psychological Sciences is a leading-edge center of research, teaching and community service at Kent State,” says James Blank, Ph.D., dean of Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences. “This gift will integrate varied disciplines to collaborate and understand the underlying causes of brain dysfunction, develop new methods for teaching and learning, and develop new ways of understanding the brain’s complexities.”

For more information about Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences, visit

POSTED: Friday, January 19, 2018 11:55 AM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 12:42 AM
Deb McGuinness