Remembering Ron Lane

Remembering Ron Lane

February 12, 2020
Sarah E.

A memorial service is planned on Feb. 23, 2020, at the Classic Center in Athens from 2 until 4 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., there will be a sharing of memories.

Grady College lost an alumnus, former professor, Fellow and friend when W. Ronald Lane died on Feb. 6, 2020.

Ron Lane around the time of his retirement in the mid-2000s. (Photo: Submitted)

Lane, who earned his undergraduate degree from Grady College in 1963 and his master’s in advertising in 1965, taught advertising at Grady for nearly 39 years. He retired from Grady and received his professor emeritus distinction in 2005. He was inducted into the Grady Fellowship in 2013.

“Ron’s service to the University of Georgia and the Grady College was extraordinary,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “His dedication was such that upon his retirement, he stepped in as the Interim Department Head for the Department of Advertising and Public Relations to help fill a temporary void.”

Lane had served as assistant department head of AdPR from 1966 until his retirement, and taught advertising campaigns, creative messaging and graphics classes.

Current Department of Advertising and Public Relations head Bryan Reber remembered his support of the department, but also the way his students admired him.

“Ron Lane was a stalwart member of the advertising faculty for decades.  He was a consummate professional with experience that he brought to the classroom and he remains a favorite professor of so many ad graduates who went on to have their own very successful careers,” Reber said.

Ron Lane (third from left) and Tom Russell (far right), former dean of Grady College in the mid-1960s discuss a layout with  Connie Stewart (ABJ ’59, MA ’68) and former faculty member Pete Sasser. Lane co-edited several editions of his textbooks with Tom Russell and Karen King. (Photo: submitted)

Before becoming a professor, Lane worked in creative and account management for Coca-Cola brands, National Broiler Council, Minute-Maid and others.   For six years he coordinated the American Association of Advertising Agencies Atlanta/Dallas Institute of Advanced Advertising Studies. He co-authored “Kleppner’s Advertising Procedure,” “Advertising: A Framework” and seven more books, many of which were translated into foreign languages for the use by students worldwide.

Karen King, a Jim Kennedy Professor of New Media and fellow advertising professor, worked alongside Lane for several years, educating students, preparing for advertising campaign presentations, editing textbooks and overseeing the AdPR department.

“Ron had a gift for making students, faculty and staff members feel welcome and valued,” King remembers. “He was kind, smart and had a mischievous sense of humor that was never mean-spirited. It was easy to have a good laugh with Ron. One of the unique things about Ron was that he was liked and respected by all who knew him.”

Ron Huey (ABJ ’83), who is an executive vice president and chief creative officer of the creative consultancy, Huey+Partners, credits Lane for teaching him kindness and humility.

“Self-deprecation and humility are critical to earning the trust of your clients and agency partners,” Huey recalls of the professor he had for both copywriting and campaigns. “He taught me to be a good writer, but a better person. Ron’s door was always open and inviting. He listened more than he spoke and his gentle, but determined persona is something I think all Grady grads will remember.”

Lane served on the national American Advertising Federation Board of Directors and was a member of the Advertising Age Creative Workshop faculty and a coordinator of the Institute of Advanced Advertising Studies sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

He received AAF’s National Distinguished Educator Award in 2005, and was the 1986 recipient of the Donald G. Hileman Award, presented by AAF District 7. He also received one of UGA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards in Public Service.

Lee Wenthe, Ron Lane and Leara Rhodes at the Grady Centennial faculty reception in 2015. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

King continued: “Ron set a great example for all of us on how to be a good colleague and how to create and support opportunities for students. As department head, I valued his advice because the students and the department were a priority to him. He helped many students find their first job and many students still called him for advice long after graduation. He even acquired the nickname ‘Godfather’ from some of his students for the wisdom he shared.”

Following his retirement, Lane served as a senior partner at Lane Bevil + Partners, a brand and design agency he directed with his daughter, Sheri.

Lane shared several Grady College memories on the occasion of his induction to the Grady Fellowship in 2013.

He recalled a favorite professor, Frazier Moore, when he was a student.

Ron Lane (center back) and Karen King (center front) and their campaigns students at the AAF competition in 1999 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo: submitted)

Said Lane: “I learned from him that Grady’s strength has always been the interaction between students and faculty. In general, that personal touch sets Grady from much of UGA.”

He also recounted some of his favorite memories as a professor, including guiding students in the AAF National Student Advertising Competition and participating with the New York Agency field trip every January.

“Students worked day and night,” Lane remembered of the students preparing for the AAF competition. “Room 204 was almost home for many of these kids throughout the session. It also gave me the opportunity to work with many dedicated faculty. Lee Wenthe, Len Reid, Karen W. King, Kirsten Strausbaugh-Hutchinson (and others) spent countless hours outside of class questioning the students’ research, plans, copy and artwork. Many students have gotten jobs from this course alone.”

King remembered these competitions, as well.

“Ron loved advertising and was great at spotting and helping encourage young talent,” King said. “On behalf of his students, he worked far into the night in the old dark room in the graphics lab trying to develop slides for student presentations and practicing presentations with students.  I admired his stamina.”

In addition to Huey, many of Lane’s former campaigns students went on to have successful careers in marketing and advertising including Tim Mapes (ABJ ’86), senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for Delta Air Lines; Maxine Clark (ABJ ’71), founder of Build-a-Bear Workshop and also served as the inaugural W. Ronald Lane Executive-in-Residence in Advertising in 2008; and Jason Kreher (ABJ ‘00 ), creative director for Wieden+Kennedy.

In a October 2013 Red & Black article, Clark credited Lane for some of her early success.

“I use everything I learned in college in my work everyday. At the University of Georgia, Dr. Ron Lane and Mr. Bob Anservitz taught me to love the power of advertising and creating a compelling message,” Clark told the Red & Black.

Lane’s family requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in honor of Lane to the UGA Foundation to the Ron Lane Advertising Executive in Residence Fund.

For more about Ron Lane, please visit the Athens Banner-Herald’s remembrance from Feb. 8, 2020.