A Global Perspective

Bill Lane smiling

Bill Lane wants his gift to help Penn State students think about business on a global scale.

Bill Lane '75 Bus, '79 Cap spends his days lobbying Congress to promote free trade and global development for U.S. companies. A thirty-seven-year employee of Caterpillar, he has spent the last fifteen years as director of the company's Washington, D.C., office, and he was recently named senior director of global government and corporate affairs. His international trade expertise makes him a sought-after speaker and board member for industry and humanitarian organizations.

Bill traces his interest in international trade to his days as a Penn State business student. In the 1970s, studying abroad was still a relatively new concept at public universities, but Penn State had built a solid relationship with the University of Cologne in Germany. Lane spent much of his junior year there, an experience that would shape his future.

"The study abroad program changed my perspective," he says. "I used to think doing business in New York or maybe Florida was an exotic notion. But after Penn State, I realized you had to embrace international commerce and not hide from it."

Bill's career with Caterpillar confirmed lessons learned at Penn State. For U.S. companies to be successful globally, they need to understand the values and cultures of those countries. Through his involvement as a volunteer recruiter for the Penn State Undergraduate Admissions Office and later as a member of the Smeal College of Business Alumni Society Board, he noticed that more students were studying abroad than ever before, yet the vast majority continued to study in the traditional destinations of Europe - Rome, Paris, and London.

When Bill learned about an initiative to promote international internships to nontraditional destinations, he knew this was a positive step and something he wanted to support.

Bill and his wife, Jan, a retired American Red Cross executive who also worked at CARE, are providing financial assistance for travel and associated expenses through the William C. and Janet P. Lane Global Perspectives Endowment. Through the combination of a planned giving vehicle known as a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) and annual cash gifts, the Lanes are accomplishing a philanthropic goal and a personal financial goal simultaneously.

Through a CRUT, the Lanes receive dependable payments each year for the rest of their lives, plus some limited support for their heirs from assets given to the trust. At the end of their lives, the balance in the trust will go the Lane Global Perspectives Endowment, which will support international experiences for students in perpetuity.

But, knowing that the charitable purpose of their CRUT would not be realized by students for many years, the Lanes decided to jump-start the process for today's students by making annual gifts for the college's existing global internship opportunities. Caterpillar, Bill's employer, matches their contributions.

These funds provide Community Engagement and Development Program (CEDP) grants that students can apply for through the college's Office of Career and Corporate Connections.

"It's a great deal!" Bill says. "The combination of planned gift and cash gift provides a new income stream for me and my family while making an investment in Penn State students. And the payback is immediate - we are already getting notes from students who say that our support is changing their lives for the better."

To learn how a CRUT could offer you and your family added security, please contact Michael J. Degenhart, Assistant Vice President, or any of the expert gift planning officers in the Office of Gift Planning at Penn State at 888-800-9170 (toll free) or giftplanning@psu.edu.

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