Campus Life

Longtime Texas A&M News Director Lane Stephenson Passes Away At Age 86

Colleagues remember the long and distinguished career of the Aggie newsman who was hired by Gen. James Earl Rudder himself.
By Lesley Henton, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications January 7, 2022

Lane Stephenson
Former Texas A&M News Director Lane Stephenson

Longtime Texas A&M University News Director Lane Stephenson passed away last night at the age of 86. University staff past and present say Stephenson is fondly remembered for his love of Texas A&M and his nation, for his ethics and professionalism, and for his friendly and jovial nature.

Stephenson, who earned his master’s degree in English at Texas A&M in 1977, was hired by University President Gen. James Earl Rudder in 1966 to direct news and information services for what was then the Department of Marketing and Communications.

He spent just over 50 years in the position, starting when there were less than 10,000 students and serving under 16 university presidents. He served throughout many changes on campus including the integration of women and African-American students during the 1960s and the subsequent growth of the student population to become one of the largest in the nation.

“Lane Stephenson was a unique and valued member of our team, he was a campus fixture for decades and loved the university through and through,” said Marilyn Martell, Texas A&M vice president and chief marketing and communications officer. “Lane was here during some of our university’s most transformative times, he was hired by Earl Rudder himself. It was a treat and an honor to be able to tap into Lane’s extraordinary knowledge of and love for Texas A&M. He will definitely be missed by the many people on our staff who had the privilege of knowing him.”

Sherylon Carroll, Texas A&M’s former associate vice president for communications, worked with Stephenson for 27 years and said he had a profoundly positive effect on her life and those of countless others.

Lane Stephenson with wife Mickie handing their grandson Tyler Stephenson '18 his Aggie ring on Ring Day in April 2017
Lane Stephenson with wife Mickie handing their grandson Tyler Stephenson ’18 his Aggie ring on Ring Day in April 2017

 

“He was my dear friend, mentor, colleague, coach and confidant,” Carroll said. “His heart of gold and dry sense of humor kept me laughing all the time. For 50-plus years, he gave his all to Texas A&M and enjoyed every minute of it. He was known and well-respected by journalists around the country. His work ethic was second to none and he was truly a man of faith, integrity and high moral standards.”

Upon his retirement from A&M in 2017, Stephenson reminisced over his lengthy career with The Bryan-College Station Eagle newspaper, jokingly saying he probably knows half the people whose names are on the buildings and who have statues on campus. And he did know many, like Rudder, whose names campus members see often, such as 17th University President Jack K. Williams and founding director of the Memorial Student Center J. Wayne Stark, for whom the Stark Galleries is named.

Stephenson earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1957 from the University of North Texas and joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving three years active duty and 20 years as a member of the reserves. In the early ’60s, before joining A&M, he was a journalist at the Tyler Morning Telegraph and Braniff International Airlines.

Following his retirement from the university, Stephenson continued his affiliation with A&M, attending football games and other campus events, including Ring Day in April 2017, when he handed his grandson, Tyler Stephenson ’18, his Aggie ring. He and his wife, Mickie, have three children, all of whom graduated from Texas A&M.

Funeral services are pending.

Media contact: Lesley Henton, lshenton@tamu.edu

Related Stories

Recent Stories