The Student News Site of Midwestern State University

After 40 years, computer science professor says goodbye to MSU

October 16, 2020


Bridget Reilly

Professor of computer science Ranette Halverson outside Bolin Science Hall, Oct. 14.

In 1973, she was a wide-eyed student in the field of mathematics who was dedicated to her studies. In 1976, her dedication and continuous desire to learn earned her a graduate teaching assistant position for the department of mathematics. Although she had always been passionate about teaching, she never thought that the university where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree would be her forever home. After spending 40 years of teaching over 20 courses, traveling across the world to conferences with scholarly peers and formulating research projects that renewed her knowledge, Dr. Ranette Halverson, professor of computer science, is closing this chapter in her life to enjoy a fruitful life outside of her career.

“This was my dream job,” Halverson said. “Before setting my heart on teaching, I worked in the industry for three years, and I didn’t like it; I didn’t like working an eight-to-five and just sitting at a desk all day. My passion is teaching; this is where I belong.”

Halverson was the pioneer for the computer science program at MSU. In 1980, she spent her first semester teaching mathematics and from that point forward she never looked back on helping establish a fairly new and innovative program.

“After I came back to MSU, I had to retrain myself, because I did not have a degree in computer science,” Halverson said. “I went back to school while I was teaching, and I got my PhD in computer science. I really loved retraining and learning the computing programs.”

Her eagerness to absorb new skills followed her throughout her 40-year career, creating opportunities for growth. Those opportunities allowed her to publish more than 30 research papers and instruct 24 courses on top of being the department chair for 25 years. Halverson said she has enjoyed expanding on all the avenues of higher education.

“I’ve had so many experiences that I would’ve never had without higher education,” Halverson said.

Outside of expanding on her knowledge, Halverson said she will always treasure the unique connection she has shared with her students.

“I love the students,” Halverson said. “We have had so many different students from all over the world, of all abilities and interesting backgrounds. Some of the students have become lifelong friends, because I was pretty young when I started working. It’s been a joy to see all of my students’ successes, and it’s exciting knowing that I was a part of their education, their success and their future.”

Halverson said she hopes to leave a legacy that is attached to her dedication to improving herself and her students.

“I hope that students will look back and say that I had some kind of an impact,” Halverson said. “I feel in my heart that I always tried to put our students first. I like to think that my decisions were based on what’s best for our students. Without our students, we don’t have a job, we don’t have a purpose.”

Although she has retired from the lectern, Halverson said she isn’t done showing her face on campus because MSU holds a special place in her and her family’s heart.

“My boys pretty much grew up on campus, and a lot of my family members have attended MSU, so it’s a place that’s dear to us,” Halverson said. “I won’t be on campus every day, but I will be on campus a lot. I’m going to be around, even though I’m retired.”

After spending 40 years on a college campus, Halverson said she is ready to enjoy life with her family and travel freely with her husband. She has seven grandchildren, and she’s excited to spend more time with them. Though her new life is going to take some getting used to, Halverson is thrilled to embark on this new journey.

“It was time,” Halverson said. “Forty is a nice round number, and as it turns out, I’m really glad I retired. It’s time for me to move on and let the younger people come on and pick up the new way of doing things.”

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  • S

    Sri VadlamaniOct 28, 2020 at 5:34 AM

    Dr. Halverson was an amazing prof back when I was doing my Masters. All that feels like a lifetime ago! She was, and no doubt has always been, a professor with genuine warmth and care for her students. Dr.H – wish you a wonderful retirement, and hope you get to travel the world and just have fun!

  • O

    Osman Sukru YegenogluOct 27, 2020 at 10:55 AM

    As a 1983 BS in Computer Science graduate and proud alumni of MSU; I wish Dr. Halverson the very best in her new life.

  • J

    JanetOct 27, 2020 at 7:18 AM

    Congratulations. I worked with her at the WF Police Dept when she was a statistical analyst. She had her first son during that time. Enjoyed working with her.

  • B

    Barbara MerkleOct 19, 2020 at 2:44 PM

    Wonderful story on a dedicated faculty member! MSU was a dream job for many of us and the fellowship between faculty and staff a treasured memory.
    We were a family that took great pride on and off campus. Congratulations dear friend! You made a difference!