Ultimate Gamecock: A legacy of education

Jim Lane, a professor of elementary education at Columbia College, is the ultimate Gamecock. He started his Carolina career with a bachelor’s degree in political science and added three advance degrees from the College of Education, including a Ph.D. in 1998.

He has served on the My Carolina Alumni Association board for Richland and Lexington counties since 2003 and is a Gamecock Club member.

“I grew up a Carolina fan, my father was also an alumnus,” Lane says. “I began attending Carolina football games with during my junior high days. I remember driving to the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando with my best friend as a 16-year-old.

“During a span of 24 years, I only missed four total games, home or away, which included two trips to Hawaii. I was told I could go to college wherever I’d be happy and study hard. In the end, I didn’t apply anywhere but to Carolina.  It was where I wanted to be.”

Lane decided on a planned gift to the university in the form of a $100,000 life insurance policy that will be split between the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education.

“I feel it is our responsibility to leave the world a better place when our time here is over,” Lane says. “When you are given so much, I think you should acknowledge those gifts and take action to show your appreciation. My legacy gift was my way to say ‘thank you’ to USC and to one inspiring professor who helped me become the man I am today.”

The Arts & Sciences donation will create a strategic fund for the political science department and will be named in honor of longtime instructor and political activist Don Fowler, who has taught at the university for 50 years.

“The gift will allow the political science department to create programming that will continue Don Fowler’s legacy of teaching generations of students about American and Southern politics,” says Bob Cox, a political science professor and director of the Walker Institute for International and Area Studies.

Lane says he remembers taking Fowler’s Southern Politics course in 1979.

“I was impressed by his content knowledge in the class and fascinated by the stories he shared of about some of our Southern politicians,” Lane says. “It was one of the most memorable courses I had at Carolina.

Many years later, I reconnected with Dr. Fowler in church. We are both members at Washington Street United Methodist in downtown Columbia, where I have seen him lead numerous initiatives over the years. Once again, I was impressed by his many skills and talents.”

The donation to the College of Education will establish the Dr. James C. Lane Scholarship in Instruction and Teacher Education.

“I hope my gift will help the university fulfill the dreams of many students over the years for whom a college education may seem unattainable,” Lane says. “It is my hope that my gift will allow students in both in government and political science and in elementary education be able to ‘be a Gamecock,’ just like me.

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