William Lane

William “Bill” Lane joined the electrical engineering faculty in 1960 and swiftly began to establish the first computer science degree program in the California State University system. He was known to colleagues and students alike as brilliant, forthright, and passionate, with a strategic, forward-thinking vision that greatly impacted the field of computer science.

Described as a pioneer in undergraduate education and a dedicated mentor to students, he initiated and taught the University’s first computing classes in 1961, single-handedly led the acquisition of campus’s first computer in 1962, and founded electrical engineering’s computer science degree option in 1964 and the BS and MS in computer science in 1968. Lane served as director of the Computer Center (1963-1968 and 1972-1976), program director and chair of the computer science department (1964-1974), and dean of what was then the School of Applied Sciences (1974-1980).

He also facilitated external degree programs, such as the China Lake Naval Weapons Center program, and secured millions of dollars in grants to fund the applied research and projects, classroom technology, and equipment that helped solidify CSU, Chico’s reputation as leader in computer science education. His work, including as a faculty advisor on statewide computing advisory committees and expert consultant for companies like Hewlett-Packard, continues to be influential.

Lane exemplifies CSU, Chico’s commitment to hands-on learning and student success, and his proudest honor was receiving the Advisor of the Year award in 1988. He provided students with scholarships, stipends, and work opportunities, and maintained relationships with mentees throughout their careers. He also created corporate partnerships that continue to benefit today’s students.

He holds three degrees in electrical engineering: a PhD from University of California, Davis; an MS from the University of Southern California; and a BS from Stanford University. 

William Lane