Professors Lane and ZimmermanE
Standing all of 4'10", the late professor Elizabeth C. Lane's legacy as a teacher, administrator, and leader still casts a long shadow within the NIU College of Education's Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KNPE).
Arriving in 1954 at what was then the Northern Illinois State Normal School, Elizabeth taught kinesiology, adapted physical education, and exercise physiology. She also was responsible for several key initiatives during her 28-year career at NIU, including KNPE's physical therapy program and anatomy courses complete with human cadavers—still a rarity among physical education and kinesiology programs in the United States. She even helped design Anderson Hall, which is named for one of Elizabeth's early NIU mentors and former KNPE Department Chair Miriam Anderson.
The Department of Physical Education recognized Elizabeth's accomplishments and commitment to education in 1988 when it presented her and several colleagues with the department's first PRIDE (Professionals Remembered in Deep Esteem) awards.
Elizabeth died at age 98 in January 2011 at her home in DeKalb.
"She loved to work with young people and was a natural mentor," says Dr. M. Nadine Zimmerman, Elizabeth's friend, NIU colleague, and frequent travel partner. "Even after she retired (and she didn't retire until she was 70), her students visited her, called her, wrote to her, and asked for her advice. She was committed to teaching and to NIU."
Elizabeth, as part of her estate plan, and Nadine, now retired and living in DeKalb, recently donated funds to the university to establish the Elizabeth C. Lane, Ph.D., and M. Nadine Zimmerman, Ph.D., Endowed Kinesiology and Physical Education Professorship within KNPE.
Nadine says the endowment's intent is to provide funds to help recruit and retain top-notch KNPE educators.
"Good teachers attract good students," Nadine says. "Dr. Lane and I wanted to help provide NIU students with the best leaders in the field of kinesiology and physical education, through research and communication in the classroom and community, nationally and internationally. Students will reap the benefits."
Elizabeth also contributed an additional amount to the Elizabeth C. Lane Exercise Physiology Laboratory Research Fund, which she established in 1995 (see student story). Philanthropy has been a constant in Elizabeth and Nadine's lives, both having given generously not only to NIU, but also to Minnesota's Mayo Clinic, Kishwaukee Community Hospital, and a variety of other institutions.
"Dr. Lane was compassionate with her time and her money," Nadine says, adding that her example as a College of Education supporter is especially noteworthy in today's challenging economic environment.
"Statewide budget cuts, at least in Illinois, have almost forced public universities to become private enterprises," she explains. "Support by teachers and those that are taught can become part of the university continuum. So for those who have benefitted at NIU, be as generous with your time and money as you are able."