Wheeling native Victor G. Reuther, one of the most prominent labor leaders of the 20th century, will join another former West Virginia University student Raymond J. Lane, formerly of McKeesport, Pa., a leader in the software computing industry, in receiving honorary degrees from the institution during the schools 133rd Commencement Sunday, May 19, at 1:30 p.m. at the Coliseum.
Reuther will receive the Honorary Doctor of Law degree; Lane the Honorary Doctor of Science degree. Lane will also give the Commencement address, titled “New Kids, Turtles and the Cabbage Patch.”
“This years honorary degree recipients are leaders in their respective fieldslabor and civil rights as well as business and technology,” WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. said.”By honoring these two gentlemen, we present our graduating students with models of greatness to which they can aspire.”
Victor G. Reuther
Raised in Wheeling, Reuther attended WVU from 1928-29, his freshman year, and then went on to complete his degree at the College of the City of Detroit, now known as Wayne State University.
He rose to prominence in the United Automobile Workers union in the 1930s. In the 1940s, he moved from local union activities to become the assistant coordinator of the UAW War Policy Division, a special department created by the UAW -CIO to facilitate speedy and orderly conversion and mobilization of the nations urgent defense production.
In the spring of 1946, Reuther was appointed director of UAW s extensive education program throughout the United States and Canada, a position he held until becoming European representative of the CIO in 1951. From this vantage point, he played a strategic role in consolidating the pro-democratic union forces that later routed the communists from all positions of influence in the UAW -CIO.
In 1953, he became director of the CIO International Affairs Department and, when the CIO was merged with the AFL , he was named director of the UAW International Affairs Department. He remained in this position until he retired in May 1972.
Coupled with Reuthers labor activities were his efforts to mobilize support for the enactment of civil rights legislation and the achievement of equal rights for all Americans through his work with the Commission on the Church and Economic Life and the Commission on Religion and Race of the National Council of Churches. He was also active in social development programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Reuther is the only living member of the extraordinary Reuther brothers, whose lives are chronicled in his book, The Brothers Reuther, considered one of the great labor history books of all time. His latest book, Commitment and Betrayal, a response to the overwhelming sentiment of the Russian people that Stalins true course of action failed them, is due to published soon.
Reuther resides in Washington, D.C., and has two sons, John and Eric.
*Raymond J. Lane
McKeesport, Pa., native Raymond J. Lane is a 1968 mathematics graduate of WVU . He is currently a partner in the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield&Byers in San Francisco, Calif., and former president and COO of Oracle Corp.
Lane joined Oracle in 1992 after many years at IBM , Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Booz Allen&Hamilton. He quickly rose to the position of president and CEO in 1996. According to Fortune Magazine and Industry Week, Lanes work at Oracle made him a leader on the American business scene, and CNN Magazine selected him as one of the top 25 executives in the computer industry.
In 2000, Lane left Oracle to become a partner in Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield&Byers, a premier venture capital firm based in California. His current work focuses on guiding established businesses to successfully take advantage of new strategic Internet opportunities as well as helping entrepreneurs with organizational development, team building and managing sales terms.
Lane, a member of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors, is serving as the general chairman of the Foundations current Capital Campaign. The five-year effort has raised some $216 million to date, with 21 months remaining.
Demonstrating his commitment to the campaign, Lane and his wife Stephanie recently gave the WVU Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering $5 million to support an endowed computer science chair and endowed graduate fellowships; enhance faculty research labs and outreach activities; add to library resources; and more.
He also assisted the University in acquiring new software to upgrade the institutions reporting and accounting systems in preparation for the year 2000, and made numerous visits to campus to meet with students, faculty and administrators to help with the establishment of the Oracle Academic Initiative. The program is designed to address the shortage of skilled technology workers, and because of Lanes involvement, WVU was a charter member.
Lane is a 1998 inductee of the WVU Alumni Associations Academy of Distinguished Alumni.