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The Lane family: a lifetime of inspiring students

Photo of David and Michelle Lane.
David and Michelle Lane enjoy being involved in and giving back to communities and organizations, as well as spending time with family and friends.

A passion for education, innovation and paying it forward are just a few of the many things that David (‘84) and Michelle Lane share. After many years of generous contributions to NSCC, the onset of serious health issues in 2023 inspired the couple to make their most recent gift to build a legacy for future learners. Through the establishment of the Lane Family Endowment Fund, the couple created an enduring legacy for years to come.

Lane Family Endowment

“We’re strong believers in the power of education to create opportunities and pave the way to a fulfilling and meaningful life. We’re especially passionate about applied education that prepares students for meaningful careers and life success,” explains Michelle.

The Lane Family Endowment was established to support NSCC’s Student Works program, which provides students with hands-on work experience at the College related to their field of study.

This endowment will support a part-time student position in NSCC’s Applied Research department with a focus on projects related to sustainability, clean energy, and climate change.

“We’re excited about the work being done across the College’s applied energy research programs and facilities and want our endowment to create opportunities for more students to be exposed and inspired to pursue careers in clean energy,” says David.

The power of education

Michelle and David understand firsthand the impact of education. David is a two-time alum of NSCC’s predecessor school, Nova Scotia Institute of Technology (NSIT), having graduated from Electronic Engineering Technology (’83) and Computer Engineering Technology (’84). David went on to build a prominent career in professional astronomy right here in Nova Scotia.

He dedicated his work to teaching, learning and research, providing access to the universe from the Burke-Gaffney Observatory at Saint Mary’s University where he worked for 29 years. Most recently, David was honoured with a Doctor of Science, honoris causa, from Saint Mary’s University.

“Among Dave’s many astronomy ‘firsts’ was his development of the world’s first social media-operated robotic telescope capability, to make the field of astronomy readily accessible to young students, interested amateur observers and citizens with a passion for participating in citizen science,” says Michelle.

Throughout her 13-year career as a member of NSCC’s Executive team, Michelle made a significant impact across the College at a pivotal time in its institutional evolution. As the Vice President of Advancement, she was instrumental in establishing and growing the College’s brand, reputation and philanthropic efforts, leaving a lasting mark on the modern College and Foundation known today. As well, she paved the way for the launch of NSCC’s first college-wide alumni program that now boasts a community of over 100,000 members.

“What endures for me are my memories of the people with whom I worked, the relationships we forged and the difference we made – together – in building a contemporary community college from the roots of its robust vocational and technical school past,” says Michelle of her time at NSCC.

Marking a lifetime of impact with a legacy gift

Although the College holds a special place in David and Michelle’s history, it’s the future that inspired the establishment of their endowment.

“NSCC is doing an excellent job readying students for the current and emerging challenges of our economy, and we wanted to play a role in helping more students have that experience,” says David.

The Lane Family Endowment, now worth $78,000, will help expand the opportunities for student learning every year, while creating lasting impact through sustainable innovations.

Editor’s in memoriam note: It is with deep sadness that, since this story was written, David Lane (DSc ’24) passed away. The Foundation is indebted to him and to his wife, Michelle Lane, for leaving such a rich legacy. As a scientist, he has made a significant mark in the field of astronomy. As alumni, he and Michelle’s lasting and generous gift of the Lane Family Endowment will also make an incredible impact by empowering all those students the funding will support to enable them to reach for the stars. We extend both our gratitude and condolences to Michelle and sympathies to David’s entire family and friends.

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