There are several milestone birthdays for young adults. At 13, you’re finally a teenager. At 16, you get your heart’s desire—a driver’s license. At 18, you leave home. But it’s not until you turn 22 that you’re truly independent: you’ve just graduated from college.
Or, in Gerry Lane’s case, you’ve left your father’s farm in Oklahoma to make it on your own in San Diego.
Sixty-two years after Lane made that fateful move, the late Baton Rouge legend’s car dealership is not only strong—it is thriving. Now led by Lane’s son, Eric, Gerry Lane Enterprises gives back to the community that has supported it for three decades.
“We’ve always believed in supporting the community,” Eric shared. “Since we’re in business, we thought the business school was the perfect place to do something in my dad’s name. So we started scholarships.”
The Lane family created the Gerry Lane Scholars Fund in the E. J. Ourso College of Business to support five students each year for the next five years. “Education is a very important part of the community,” Eric said. Although Gerry never had the opportunity to attend college, “all of his children were required to get a degree in business management. He felt that, no matter what you do in life, if you don’t know how to manage your money, you’re not going to make anything.”
The Gerry Lane Scholars Fund is the only scholarship in the college that requires recipients to conduct community service. “I’m proud of that,” Eric said. “Because we’ve always believed in helping the community, I just felt my dad would want community service to be part of the scholarship.”
The first scholarship recipients have their own dreams of helping the community. Among them are improving nursing homes; coaching children through extracurricular sports; and, for one student, supporting the foster care system that supported him for four years.
One recipient shared that this scholarship had perfect timing for her. “As a soon-to-be mother, I worried about financial troubles entering into the next semester,” explained marketing senior Meaghan Randle-Hanks. She added that, without the scholarship, “I would have struggled financially and would have had to make very hard decisions when considering both my daughter and finishing school. This has given me more of an opportunity to provide a secure life for my daughter and me.”
Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2015.