Goodbye, Dear Friend
In January, the Penn Vet community lost a dear friend when Elizabeth “Betty” Ranney Moran passed away at the age of 89.
Moran was an enduring New Bolton Center donor and client for nearly 40 years. Her generous support of many capital and programmatic projects helped make New Bolton Center one of North America’s most renowned equine facilities.
“We fondly remember Betty as an enormously generous friend and devoted supporter of the School. Betty helped rescue New Bolton Center’s precarious financial circumstances on innumerable occasions, doing so with the utmost discretion so the rest of the School knew little of her consummate generosity. Nor did they know of her persistent efforts to get others to support the School,” said Dr. Alan M. Kelly, Penn Vet dean from 1994 to 2005, and Dr. Robert Marshak, dean from 1973 to 1987, in a joint remembrance.
They added, “Dr. Mark Allam [Penn Vet dean from 1953 to 1973], with his unbound optimism and charm, introduced Betty to New Bolton Center in its early days. He remained her closest friend, organizing carriage driving events with her; mentoring Betty’s oldest son, the late James Moran; and crafting flawless items of period furniture for Betty in appreciation of her bountiful support. Every dean who followed in Mark’s footsteps profited from this special relationship, for Betty remained true to the School for the rest of her life. New Bolton Center would not be what it is today had it not been for this remarkable lady.”
While Moran preferred to work behind the scenes, one of her more visible touches was helping establish the James M. Moran, Jr. Critical Care Center at New Bolton Center. The facility was named for Moran’s son, who passed away in 2008.
“Despite her generosity, Betty never wanted her own name on a building,” reminisced Dr. Joan Hendricks, dean from 2006 to 2018. “Given that, it was my enormous honor that she agreed to allow the state-of-the-art critical care facility to bear her son’s name. Opening this center in 2010 — with Deans Kelly and Marshak and the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture at the ribbon cutting — was one of the sunniest days of my entire deanship. The facility — and the ability to honor Betty and her family — marked a new era of New Bolton’s leadership in providing pioneering care to the sickest patients.”
Moran was passionate about animals from time she was a girl, and her love of horses took her from fox hunting, pony club, and weekend horse shows to steeplechase racing and then to a very successful flat racing career. Her proudest moments in racing were when the horses she bred and owned won the Belmont Stakes, the Pennsylvania Derby, the Arlington Million, the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and the Grand National in England.
She supported many other organizations in addition to Penn Vet, such as Thorncroft, Chester County Boy Scouts, Community Volunteers in Medicine, and the Chester County Food Bank.
“You have to look hard, but you’ll see the Moran name listed as a major donor on virtually all Philadelphia cultural assets and special institutions near Kennett Square, including, of course, New Bolton Center,” said Hendricks. “I think of New Bolton Center as the campus that Betty built, although the whole community chipped in when Dean Allam was establishing this first-of-its-kind equine and farm animal facility.”
Moran was also predeceased by her husband, James Maxwell Moran (1989). She is survived by five children: Michael Moran (Anne), Frances Abbott (Franny), Elizabeth Legnini (Bob), Ranney Moran (Terri), Caroline Moran, 15 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.