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Victor Hugo Lane
The Michigan Alumnus 313

Professor Lane Passes Away


General Secretary of the Alumni Association During Nineteen Years of Judge Lane's Presidency

To thousands of alumni of the University who came into personal relationship with Judge Vic
tor H. Lane, 74e, '781, as students in the Law 
School or as fellow workers in the many other inter
ests which filled his active life, his death on January
 24th brought a sudden 
sense of personal loss. 

The passing years 
had touched his kindly, 
dignified figure so lightly, and his interests in
 life as it is lived today
 were so perennial that 
he seemed one of those 
"elder statesmen," ever
 youthful in spirit, always at hand to sit in 
interested and sympa
thetic judgment on the
 many questions which
 continually came to him
 for consideration and
 interpretation. Al
though approaching his 
eightieth year — Judge 
Lane was seventy-eight 
at the time of his death
—his point of view was
 never anything but lib
eral and constructive, 
 appreciative of the best 
in modern develop
ments in literature and
 art, keenly alive to the 
new breezes stirring in 
all the various activities 
and where his counsels
 were valued. 

Victor Hugo Lane
 came to the University
 from Adrian in 1897 as 
Fletcher Professor of 
Law after a profession
al career of almost twenty years, nine of these as judge 
of the first Michigan circuit. A large proportion of the
 graduates of the Law School who are now practicing 
their profession in every state of the Union have come 
under the influence of his crystalline honesty, his up-
right personality, physical as well as spiritual, his long 
experience with the actual administration of the law
 and his wise and tolerant judgment. (An appreciation of Judge Lane by one of his colleagues 
on the faculty of the Law School will appear in the issue of
 THE ALUMNUS of February 22.)

But it is not the members of the legal profession
 alone who have known him. Quietly, and with charac
teristic lack of ostentation, his influence has been deep
ly felt in many phases of university life, which have 
contributed vitally to its texture. He became President 
of the Alumni Associa
tion in 1901 and for 
twenty-two years he
 continued in office 
through some of the
 most important and
 formative periods in its 

Following short
ly after me reor
ganization of the Asso
ciation in 1897, he led 
it up to and through the 
beginnings of the sec
ond period of expan
sion which characterizes 
the present era of activity in alumni affairs. 
His guiding hand initiated many first steps
 and his advice found
 the right path through 
more than one dark 
place in more recent

Starting with a small
 office in one corner of 
a room on the first floor
 of old University Hall, 
progressive steps car
ried the Alumni Association to Alumni Memorial Hall and to a 
rapid expansion in per
sonnel and activities. 
 Throughout this whole 
period it can be said 
truthfully that his influence was always for progressive
 measures. No plan was presented that did not receive 
his thoughtful consideration and, if it carried within 
it the germ of success, it always had his approval. He
 was not afraid to experiment. 

The same characteristics marked his similar service 
as President of the University Y.M.C.A. and as Chair
man of the Board in Control of Athletics. Lane Hall, 
the present center of the activities of the Student Chris
tian Association, was named in his honor, and the 
tribute it implies was no empty one. Judge Lane's deeply religious nature was never obtrusively emphasized, 
 for his was the quiet, persuasive religion which shows 
in deeds rather than in words. But his long years of 
service in the Presbyterian churches of Adrian and
 Ann Arbor and his leadership of the Y.M.C.A. during
 a critical period, testify to his faith and to' the spirit 
of service that was his outstanding characteristic. 

The same principles governed his labors for the 
cause of intercollegiate athletics as a member and
 later, Chairman of the Board in Control of Athletics. 
 He had an important part in guiding the University's
 athletic policies through that first athletic era when
 Michigan was known from one end of the country to 
the other for its "point-a-minute" teams. It was not an
 easy task in those earlier days to uphold high standards
 in athletic competition. Yet there was no compromising, 
 and the high standards which have always been main
tained by the Intercollegiate College Conference can
 in great part be attributed to the work of Judge Lane
 and his predecessor, Professor Albert H. Pattengill, 
 to whom he would have wished this tribute paid. The 
traditions these men set, and the influence they wielded
 with their associates in Conference councils, have never 
been lost. When Michigan withdrew from the confer
ence in 1907 Judge Lane retired from the Chairman
ship of the Board.

Victor Hugo Lane was born May 27, 1852, at
 Geneva, Ohio. His parents, Henry and Clotilda Cath
erine Sawyer Lane, moved to Hudson, Michigan, in
1866, and there Judge Lane's first schooling was com
pleted. In the fall of 1870 he came to the University 
as a student in the Engineering Department, graduating
 with a degree of Civil Engineer in 1874. But, after
 two years' experience, he felt that engineering was no t
his real profession and he therefore returned once more 
to the University this time to study law, graduating a
 second time in 1878. While still a student in the Law 
Department he was married to Miss Ida M. Knowlton, 
a sister of Professor Jerome C. Knowlton who later
 was Dean of the Department of Law. Mrs. Lane died
 in 1921. 
 Immediately upon graduation Judge Lane entered 
upon the practice of his profession in Hudson, Michigan, later moving to Adrian, where, in 1888, after 
some years in practice, he became Judge of the circuit
 comprising Lenawee and Hillsdale counties. Here he 
remained until 1897, when he became a member of 
the law faculty of the University. 

Judge Lane was a member of the American Bar
 Association, the Michigan Bar Association, the Or
der of the Coif, a legal honorary scholastic society; Phi
 Delta Phi, a legal fraternity; Tau Beta Pi, engineering 
honorary scholastic society; as well as the Catholepiste
miad, a faculty club emphasizing academic attainment
 in various fields. 

Judge Lane is survived by four children: Mrs. H. 
Lee Simpson of Detroit, Mrs. William D. McKenzie 
of Chicago, Victor H. Lane, Jr., of Ann Arbor, and
 Henry Knowlton Lane of Chicago, all of whom are 
alumni of the University. The end came suddenly after 
a period of illness culminating in an attack of pneu
monia following an operation. He was buried Sunday, 
 January 26, at Forest Hills Cemetery in Ann Arbor. 

Such a record of service for the University must speak for itself. Those who knew him loved him for 
the man he was. The years never brought a stoop to 
his shoulders or lessened the quiet humor in his smile. He lived for others to an extent that only those of 
us who knew him can appreciate. Duty always had a
 first call upon him. 

As one who was closely associated with him, even 
before his later Ann Arbor life, the writer can only 
express his own personal loss of a great and good 
friend with whom it was always a pleasure and an inspiration to work in the development of the ever-expanding activities of the Alumni Association. Few 
realize how much Judge Lane contributed through these 
long years of preparation to the greater Association of 
these later years. He dreamed it and helped build it.