Positive Influence

Pat and Lynn Lane visit with Dr. Katie Ford, associate dean and director of the Brinkley-Lane Scholars program, and Honors College students Josie Smith, Agne Shields, Emily Bronson and Haley Williams. The college serves as the hub of the newly named Lane Living Learning Community.

Every gift Pat ’67 and Lynn Lane have given to East Carolina University has a central purpose – the students. Their support for ECU students and the institution spans decades and culminated in May with their part in the largest combined gift in university history and the naming of the Brinkley-Lane Scholars Program.

“For us, it is all about the students. They are the true motivators of our giving back,” Pat said. “It is the best way to positively influence the most members of society.”

In recognition of the Lanes’ support, the university has dedicated the Honors College Living Learning Community (LLC) in their name. Signage on the Mamie Jenkins Building identifies the Honors College as the hub of the Lynn and Pat Lane Living Learning Community. A plaque to be hung in the building will serve as a reminder of their influence.

“Pat and I decided early on in our philanthropic plans to emphasize giving to higher education. We see that as a way that many can improve their place in life,” Lynn said. “ECU is extremely good at that. Higher education gives students the opportunity to make the best of themselves and produces many of our future leaders and change-makers.”

Experiential learning opportunities

Many of the building blocks that support students in making the best of their ECU experience are provided through LLCs. The communities are designed to assist in the academic transition to university instruction, to support student-faculty interaction beyond the classroom, and to encourage positive student connections within ECU.

The Lane LLC in the Honors College provides a unique four-year cocurricular program consisting of high-impact experiential learning opportunities, a first-year residential experience, and academic requirements bookended by a first-year colloquium and a signature honors project.

Additionally, throughout a student’s four years, the LLC provides seminars taught by award-winning faculty, honors-specific programming, leadership development, and continuous access to research, internship, and service-learning opportunities. This community-based educational approach includes four annual signature events: first-year convocation, homecoming’s Party on the Porch, the Honors College gala and a spring medallion ceremony for graduates.

Generosity toward students

Honors College Dean Todd Fraley describes the Lanes as more than generous supporters. They have shown everyone the positive impact donors can have in the lives of students.

“I feel lucky to have the support of Lynn and Pat. They want everyone in Mamie Jenkins to be successful. This includes students and staff,” Fraley said. “I have worked closely with Lynn for the past seven years, and I appreciate her advice, insight and care. The success of the college is due in large part to the support we all receive from people like the Lanes.”

The Lanes’ philanthropic decisions demonstrate how much the couple believes in higher education and in ECU. Their scholarship support began decades ago with a Marching Pirates scholarship and later shifted to an endowment in performing arts.

In addition to their estate gift and endowment supporting the Brinkley-Lane Scholars program and performing arts, they have an endowment in STEPP, annually support four scholarships in the College of Education, and have been longtime members of the Pirate Club, providing support and leadership in ECU athletics. Additionally, they have established an endowment and leadership gifts at Lynn’s alma mater, Greensboro College.

The Lanes are invested in ECU beyond their financial gifts. They also are doers and advocates, serving on ECU boards and committees, mentoring, and engaging with their scholarship students.

Lynn is chair of the Honors College Advancement Council and has served as chair of the ECU Foundation Board of Directors, the Health Sciences Foundation board and the College of Education advisory board. She is also the 2001 ECU Honorary Alumni Award recipient.

Pat is a College of Business accounting graduate and earned an MBA from UNC Greensboro. He is a retired CPA. He has served on the College of Education advisory board and the alumni association board of directors. Pat also served on the Pirate Club executive committee and as a member of and advocate for the Pirate Club Circle of Excellence.

“Being a Pirate means to be involved personally with ECU, to help in some way to sail the ship,” Pat said. “It means to do what each stakeholder can to improve the ECU experience for its students.”

The Lanes believe, specifically, that the Honors College and its scholars program, in particular, serve to attract and develop students whose success will significantly shine a bright light on the impact that ECU has on society as it fulfills its mission.

“We see this as the opportunity for us to give back to society. If we can help students in their time at ECU, we are happy to, and it also makes us feel fulfilled in many ways,” Lynn said.

The couple frequently meet with their scholarship students, attend Honors College and other university functions, and cheer on ECU at athletic events. They have garnered a reputation for genuinely caring for and connecting with students.

Lane scholarship recipients often receive an invitation to dinner and check-in emails during their undergraduate years. The Lanes often attend special events, like scholarship recognition and graduation, when their students are honored.

“Pat and Lynn build lasting relationships as they mentor and support students in the Honors College,” Fraley said. “These relationships often begin when students first arrive on campus, and they continue long after they have graduated. I cannot thank them enough for the care they show our students and staff.”