Ray Lane, a man from working-class roots in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, became a Silicon Valley icon but he never forgot his alma mater – WVU. Lane graduated from Moon High School, located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After receiving a mathematics degree in 1968 from WVU, Lane took off for what was then an uncharted frontier. He left the Pittsburgh area for Cincinnati, Dallas and then California, each career move taking him farther away from his alma mater.
A job with the prestigious management consultant firm of Booz, Allen & Hamilton – "That was probably the biggest break of my career," he says – was the springboard to Oracle, the world's second-largest computer software company. Lane left Oracle as chief operating officer, sending worldwide ripples through the computer industry.
After leaving Oracle, he began reestablishing a strong relationship with WVU. Lane states, "In the last 10 years I've become more connected to where I grew up, both Pittsburgh and West Virginia." He joined the Carnegie Mellon University board of trustees and funded a full professor chair at CMU. The affiliation was especially important to him because his late father, Raymond Lane, was a graduate of Carnegie Institute of Technology, now CMU.
Lane decided it was time to do something for WVU and thus became the national campaign committee chairman for the WVU Foundation's "Building Greatness" capital drive. In that capacity, "I thought it would be a good statement for the chairperson of the campaign to make a large commitment," Lane said. Shortly thereafter Ray and Stephanie Lane made a $5 million contribution to the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.
Lane feels fortunate to have worked in information technology for 30 years and wants to give something back to a place he still holds dear. "It's good to take some of that and relate it back to where you grew up." Lane was inducted into the WVU Academy of distinguished Alumni in 1997 and was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by Golden Gate University. He serves on the boards of directors of Carnegie Mellon University (as a life trustee), Special Olympics International and the WVU Foundation. He also serves on the board of FreeMarkets International, Asera, Marimba, Quest Software, SeeBeyond Technology, C-Bridge Internet Solutions and Sheer Networks. Lane became a partner with Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm.
Unlike his previous corporate positions, the partnership is only five minutes from home and requires no travel. Now Lane has time to golf, scuba dive, bird hunting and spending time with his wife and family. "I got half my life back by getting off the airplanes," says Lane. Stephanie serves on the executive committee of The Grandview League and is a trustee for the Villa Montalvo, a center for the arts in Northern California. She raised more than $1 million for the American Cancer Society, as chairperson of the Cattlebarrons Ball in San Jose. The couple resides in Atherton, California, with their son, R.J and their daughter, Katherine Victoria.