Earl K. Miller, Ph.D., and Marlene M. Wicherski Pledge $2 Million to Support Brain Health Research at Kent State

Kent State University alumnus Earl K. Miller, Ph.D., and his wife, Marlene M. Wicherski, have pledged $2 million to support research programs and students in Kent State’s Brain Health Research Institute. The Brain Health Research Institute is a recently established, cross-disciplinary institute that focuses on research and education to understand the influences that impact brain health across the lifespan and uses this knowledge as a window into the prevention and treatment of brain disease.

“On behalf of the Kent State community, I would like to express deep gratitude to Dr. Earl Miller and Marlene Wicherski for their continued support of our university,” said Kent State President Todd Diacon. “Their generous gift will help advance our elite Brain Health Research Institute and further opportunities for our amazing students.”

This gift will support: 

  • The creation of a Brain Health Research Institute Endowed Directorship that will accelerate the institute’s effort to recruit and retain top leadership.
  • The Brain Health Research Institute Undergraduate Fellows Program, which is an immersive program for first- and second-year students who are interested in pursuing careers in neuroscience research, education, healthcare or related areas. 

The couple’s generosity to Kent State is ongoing. Previous support includes the establishment of The Earl K. Miller Medallion Scholarship, The Earl K. Miller Professorship of Neuroscience, The Earl K. Miller First-Generation Scholarship and The Earl K. Miller Last Dollar Scholarship. Miller also donates his valuable time and talents to the university, most recently as the keynote presenter this past November during the Brain Health Research Institute’s grand opening celebration. He is one of the founding members of the Brain Health Research Institute’s Advisory Committee. He also serves as special advisor to the Brain Health Research Institute and as a member of the Brain Health Research Institute’s Steering Committee, participating in discussions of the institute and its future goals.

“Kent State gave me so much, and I am grateful for the opportunity to give back,” Miller said of this most recent gift. “I am excited by the innovative plans for the Brain Health Research Institute. I am sure it will be a big success, and I hope my gift will help.”

Miller received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Kent State in 1985 and later earned a Master of Arts and a doctorate in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University. He is a leading cognitive neuroscientist whose research focuses on neural mechanisms of cognitive, or executive, control. Miller is the Picower Professor of Neuroscience with the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is also the chief scientist and co-founder of SplitSage. 

Wicherski is the owner of Marlene Wicherski Research Consulting and former research officer for the American Psychological Association. 

Kent State’s Brain Health Research Institute is a collaborative effort that taps passionate faculty members from across the university and its eight campuses – not just in science-based departments, but also in social sciences, the arts and humanities – to bring together their unique strengths as they collaborate to solve brain-related challenges. The institute is the epicenter of innovative training for undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in an environment that combines hands-on access, mentorship, resources, community partners and research opportunities.

“We are extremely proud of the successes the Brain Health Research Institute has already achieved in just a few short years,” said Michael Lehman, Ph.D., inaugural director of the Brain Health Research Institute at Kent State. “We know our potential is unlimited. This gift will allow us to continue to conduct groundbreaking research and train the next generation of neuroscientists. Understanding the brain and translating that work into finding cures for brain disease is our passion, and this is something we have in common with Dr. Miller and Ms. Wicherski. We are deeply grateful for their continued, generous support; they are truly helping Kent State and our amazing staff, students and alumni make the world Forever Brighter.”

Kent State is recognized as an elite research university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and holds the coveted R1 status. This esteemed designation puts Kent State in the company of universities such as Yale, Harvard and the University of California-Berkeley. 

For more information about Kent State’s Brain Health Research Institute, visit www.kent.edu/brainhealth.
 
The Brain Health Research Institute is one of the university’s Forever Brighter comprehensive fundraising campaign priorities. Fundraising efforts for the institute support research collaboratories, endowed positions, the Brain Health Research Institute Undergraduate Fellows Program and community outreach. For more information about Kent State’s Forever Brighter fundraising campaign, visit www.kent.edu/foreverbrighter

About Kent State University

Kent State University is the highest-ranked public university in northern Ohio on the Top Public Schools and Best National Universities lists by U.S. News & World Report. Kent State also holds the esteemed distinction of being one of only five institutions in Ohio to be recognized as an elite research university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. With eight campuses spanning Northeast Ohio, a College of Podiatric Medicine, a Twinsburg Academic Center and academic sites in major world cities, such as New York City, Geneva and Florence, Kent State is one of Ohio’s leading public universities and a major educational, economic and cultural resource far beyond the Northeast Ohio region it has served since 1910. Kent State is a national leader in award-winning student support services to graduate students. The student body comprises about 35,000 students, including 1,370 international students from nearly 100 countries, and the worldwide alumni family exceeds 264,000. The addition of new learning environments from the sciences to the arts and the development of exciting new academic programs characterize Kent State’s focus on transformational educational experiences.
 
For more information about Kent State, visit www.kent.edu.

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Media Contacts:
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595
Leigh Greenfelder, lgreenfe@kent.edu, 330-672-7108

POSTED: Wednesday, March 2, 2022 - 9:24am
UPDATED: Friday, August 26, 2022 - 3:38pm
WRITTEN BY:
Stephanie Langguth