Michael W. Ranger is a 1980 graduate of St. Lawrence University, and while a student was active in student government and served as the President of the Inter-fraternity Council. As it turned out, this was but the start of his Laurentian journey, as Mike served as a St. Lawrence University trustee for a total of 22 years, between 1993-2004 and 2012- 2023. In 1993, Michael and his wife Virginia established the Michael W. Ranger ’80 and Virginia Ray Ranger Scholarship, and in 2016 they established the Michael W. Ranger ’80 and Virginia R. Ranger P’17 Professorship in Government. Ranger also co-chaired the Campaign for Every Laurentian, the largest and most ambitious fundraising effort in St. Lawrence University’s history. The campaign concluded successfully in June of 2021, raising a record $232 million. Eight of the ten largest gifts in the University's history came during the Campaign.
With Michael’s retirement from the Board of Trustees in 2023, St. Lawrence University has established the Michael W. Ranger Endowment for Special Collections. The endowment is meant as a testament to Michael as an active and inspired reader. Rooted in Michael’s service to St. Lawrence University and his love of history, the endowment will bring both unique historical materials into our manuscript collection, and appropriate titles into our rare book collection. Pictured here is the first addition to the collection, St. Lawrence River District of Oswegatchie Custom House Letter Copybook. The copybook is filled with transcriptions of the correspondence of Custom House Collectors between 1829 and 1845. The correspondence provides accounts of life in what is now Ogdensburg New York in the early days of the Republic. Many interesting episodes fill the letters, and the many aspects of daily life including commerce, shipping, smuggling, and the occasional underhanded dealing. The civic unrest related to the Battle of the Windmill, which took place in 1838, is described in one of the letters. It’s a beautiful piece and a fine addition to the collection—we are looking forward to growing this collection and remembering Michael Ranger’s long relationship with St. Lawrence as we do.