Gerry Lane Scholars Fund Established at the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business
BATON ROUGE (NBC33) — The family of Gerry Lane announces the establishment of the Gerry Lane Scholars Fund at the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business. Eric Lane, President, Gerry Lane Enterprises, says the intent of the scholarships is to provide young people who want a career in business the kind of financial opportunities his father never had.
“My dad came from a very poor background,” Lane said. “He believed, however, that if you work hard and treat people the way you want to be treated, you could succeed in life. This is a wonderful way for my sister, Saundra, and me to honor him.”
Five $2,000 scholarships will be awarded each year to eligible students. These scholarships are renewable if the scholars continue to meet the required criteria.
“We are thankful that our students will benefit from the generosity of the Lane family,” said E. J. Ourso College Dean Richard D. White Jr. “The Gerry Lane Scholars Fund speaks to Gerry’s legacy as an entrepreneur and his desire to empower future business leaders.”
According to White, scholarship recipients must be full-time sophomore, junior, or senior students majoring in management, marketing or general business. Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and will be expected to complete 20 hours of community service per semester.
Eric Lane says the community service aspect of the criteria for the scholarships is something he thinks his dad would have wanted.
“He believed giving back is the key to success,” Lane said. “He used to say, ‘You can’t out give God,’ but he certainly tried. Our family believes that service is the right thing to do, and it also helps us to be more thankful of the blessings we have in life,”
Gerald Ray “Gerry” Lane died May 3, 2013, at the age of 82, after a long illness. The owner of seven Baton Rouge automobile franchises, he rose from the poverty of the Oklahoma dust bowl and the Great Depression to build dealerships in Louisiana and Mississippi that had gross sales of more than $10 billion. One of his hallmarks was mentoring others so that they could become successful. Gerry Lane once estimated that he hired and trained 5,000 car salespeople and 3,000 managers.
Eric Lane will speak to Rucks Department of Management Instructor Michael Banks’ entrepreneurship class at 11:00 a.m. today. Gerry Lane only had a high school education, but his mother advised him to self-educate by learning from successful people. Eric Lane said if his dad were in the classroom with him he would tell the students to sit on the front row, and come early and stay late.
Each student in the class will receive a copy of Gerry Lane: An American Success Story, by Leo Honeycutt. The book, published in 2012, is a road map to success in the business world. It details how Gerry Lane used his ability to focus on the needs of individual customers to help them get a fair deal, and then turn them into repeat customers and also friends.
“Here’s what I learned quickly: The first basic rule of selling is learning and knowing your customer’s needs, what your product can do to benefit them. Everybody’s different, and you have to listen and be sincerely interested in what their needs are,” Gerry Lane said in the book, which he called “more than a biography: it’s a road map to success.”
Honeycutt says he always believed Gerry Lane’s story could change lives.
“As we were finishing the book, Gerry and I talked about how great it would be if we could get this book in the hands of students—especially business school students. I believe if they use him as an example they will increase their chances of doing very well in a challenging economy,” Honeycutt said.
LSU officials said it is rare for a family to make such sizeable contributions to both the academic and athletic components of LSU. The university dedicated the Gerry Lane Championship Plaza, which commemorates LSU’s six NCAA baseball titles, in October 2010.