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Longtime Kean University Benefactor Maxine Lane Leaves $1.7 Million Posthumous Gift to the University

UNION, N.J. – Maxine Lane ’78, a longtime friend, advocate and patron of Kean University who died in May at the age of 90 in Phoenix, Arizona, has left her nearly $1.7 million retirement fund to Kean University. The Kean University Foundation, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that receives, invests and administers private support for Kean University, will establish the Maxine Lane Excellence Fund in support of the University’s mission to provide a world-class education to a diverse student population.


With this posthumous gift, Lane becomes the single largest donor to Kean University, having already contributed $3.1 million dollars to the University as an individual or with her late husband Jack. In 2009, the University named the Maxine and Jack Lane Center for Academic Success in their honor. Kean University is also the sole beneficiary of Lane’s estate, so an additional multi-million dollar donation is expected.

“Maxine Lane was and always will be a special member of the Kean family,” said Kean President Dr. Dawood Farahi. “Her kindness and altruism will live on through her generous gift to the University, which will help support Kean students for years to come.”

A profoundly spiritual and humble woman who grew up in Arkansas during the Great Depression, Lane said her special talent was saving money. As her husband climbed the corporate ladder at Mobil Corporation, she attended Kean University and received a bachelor’s degree in social work at the age of 51. It was during her time at Kean that the seeds of deep affection and loyalty to the University were sown.


“You know I love you. You know I do,” she told the Nathan Weiss Graduate College Class of 2014 when she received an honorary degree from her alma mater. “I am supposed to love myself first, but I can’t help it. I love you more.”

“Maxine Lane was an extraordinary woman,” said Carla Willis, president of the Kean University Foundation. “This generous gift to the University is unrestricted, which is a vote of confidence from Maxine, who trusted us to respect and honor her spirit and legacy as we use this gift in the best interests of the university and its students.”

As part of her philanthropy to Kean, Lane endowed a scholarship, which was first awarded in 2008. Since then, 48 students have received the Maxine and Jack Lane Endowed and Annual Education Scholarship. It is renewable and awarded on an annual basis to juniors and seniors with a minimum 3.5 GPA who are studying for careers in education or health care. Lane took great personal interest in her scholarship recipients, particularly if they took the non-traditional route as she herself did, and attended many of the University’s annual scholarship receptions to meet the students and offer her quiet and heartfelt encouragement.


Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University's six undergraduate colleges offer 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctorate degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master's degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable, accessible and world-class education. Visit



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Margaret McCorry

Director of Media Relations

Kean University | 908-737-0583