Torchlight | Fall 2014

Ranlett's high standards continue to inspire 

Katsiaryna Hoque
     Katsiaryna Hoque is the inaugural recipient of the John
     G. Ranlett Memorial Scholarship in Economics, which
     alumnus Rod Swanson '63 (Economics) established to
     honor his former economics professor.

Economics professor John G. Ranlett '50 (Economics) embraced his reputation as a tough teacher throughout his 45 years at Sacramento State. So much so that he was known to put his nickname, "Dr. Doom," on his syllabus.

Despite his rigid exterior, Ranlett's passion for economics rubbed off on countless pupils, including Rod Swanson '63 (Economics). Swanson established a scholarship in Ranlettís honor, along with a second scholarship of his own in the department.

"If you were an economics major, you had to take a class from Ranlett, one way or another," says Swanson. "There was no one else in the department who taught theory. In economics there is a principle that says there is a substitute for everything, but it would have been difficult to find a substitute for Ranlett."

"Professor Ranlett expected his students to rise to the standards he set," says Craig Gallet '86 (Economics), who took four classes from Ranlett and now teaches microeconomics at Sac State. "You had to work hard to do well in his classes and looking back on it, I really appreciated that." 

Katsiaryna Hoque received the inaugural John G. Ranlett Memorial Scholarship in Economics during her junior year. She is a double major in economics and math, and plans on a career as an actuary.

"I think the scholarship means more than just financial help," says Hoque, who moved to the U.S. from Belarus after high school. "It means you're being recognized for some of your achievements and that is a good feeling." 

Ranlett spent most of his life in Sacramento, but his reputation as an expert in monetary policy theory was far reaching. Government and media outlets often quoted him on issues of economic policy. He published the textbook, Money and Banking, which was used in college classrooms all over the country. And more than 100 of his students went on to earn doctorates in economics, including Swanson, who taught at the University of Arizona and UCLA, among others.

"As undergraduates we never knew it, but his reach extended beyond Sac State," says Swanson. "He had an influence that was much greater than I would have expected at the time. He really understood what was going on in the field."